Review by Jace Media Photos by Paul McWilliams
In the picturesque surroundings of Halifax’s historic Piece Hall, a rather unexpected scene unfolds. Florida’s rap-metal pioneers, Limp Bizkit, have descended upon this charming West Yorkshire town, defying genre expectations and geographical norms. The result? A mixed bag of nostalgia and catharsis in equal measure for the 5,000-strong crowd in attendance.
While West Yorkshire might seem an unlikely setting for the chaotic nihilism and macho posturing synonymous with nu-metal, Piece Hall proves that great music transcends boundaries. The audience is a diverse mix, not solely comprised of metalheads but also locals dressed more for a countryside hike than a nu-metal concert. Nevertheless, anticipation runs high as everyone eagerly awaits the arrival of Fred Durst and company.
Before the headliners take the stage, the crowd is treated to the unexpected sounds of Ohio pop-punk KennyHoopla, a protégé of Travis Barker. Hoopla’s take on pop-punk defies convention, blending a dark, brooding atmosphere with youthful exuberance. His stage presence is undeniable, racing from one end to the other, matched by Barker-esque drums that punctuate every song. Despite being relatively unknown to some, Hoopla commands an impressive response from the audience, particularly those at the front who feed off his boundless energy.
Kenny Hoopla’s performance showcases the evolution of pop punk, moving beyond its stereotypical boundaries while still paying homage to its roots. As he closes with his well-known tracks, “How Will I Rest In Peace if I’m Buried By A Highway” and “Estella,” he effectively primes the crowd for what’s to come.
And what’s to come is nothing short of explosive. Limp Bizkit takes the stage a mere 20 minutes later, launching into their set with “Show Me What You Got” from “Significant Other,” followed by “9 Teen 90 Nine” from the same album. Their setlist primarily draws from “Chocolate Starfish and the Hotdog Flavored Water” and “Significant Other,” the albums that catapulted them to stardom.
Surprisingly, the classic single “My Generation” appears early in the set, followed by a medley featuring an eclectic mix of tracks from The White Stripes, Metallica, and Blur. Even more surprising is the early inclusion of “Hotdog” and “Rollin’,” tracks one might assume would close the show. This move underscores that Limp Bizkit is more than just a one-hit-wonder.
The set continues to surprise and enthral, featuring a mix of newer material like “Pill Popper” and “Dad Vibes,” Nirvana covers, and another medley, this time incorporating songs by Guns N’ Roses and Iron Maiden. Interspersed among these are the Limp Bizkit classics that fans may not have heard in two decades.
The result is a rollercoaster of a set, with the band eschewing a consistent pace, injecting adrenaline and then throttling back just as quickly. Moments that hit home, like “My Way” and “Nookie,” elicit massive singalongs and unleash waves of nostalgic, good-natured aggression. Brief interludes allow frontman Fred Durst to introduce his bandmates and set the tone for what’s to come.
As the performance winds down, “Boiler” delivers the expected heaviness, and an invitation to a lucky fan to join the band on stage during “Full Nelson” adds a memorable touch. Their cover of The Who’s “Behind Blue Eyes” unexpectedly tugs at heartstrings, setting the stage for the explosive finale, “Break Stuff,” which sees 5,000 voices united in cathartic unison.
While it’s hard to imagine what the architects of The Piece Hall might have thought of this spectacle, it’s clear that the crowd found exactly what they needed – a potent dose of nu-metal nostalgia. Despite occasional dips in the set’s quality, Limp Bizkit’s enduring place in the hearts of metalheads is undeniable. Their cultural relevance may have evolved, but the power of nostalgia still pays the bills, reminding us all of the enduring appeal of this iconic rap-metal outfit.