Review: Limp Bizkit, O2 Academy, Glasgow

Kevin Reynolds' verdict: two and a half stars

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Limp Bizkit take the stage tonight at the O2 Glasgow playing a verse and chorus of Guns N' Roses' Welcome to the Jungle, and the band are tight, powerful and muscular.

But so are the eponymous creatures used in Pamplona's Running of the Bulls, and like that evocative folk event tonight's gig has an atmosphere of violence, synchronised movement and manly camaraderie. Putting aside the inevitable problems that arise from looking too closely at frontman Fred Durst for one moment, the band are giving their fans exactly what they want from a Limp Bizkit concert.

But as diverting as their crunchy, accessible rap-metal is it's difficult to ignore things like the song Hot Dog's ham-fisted lyrical referencing of various Nine Inch Nails songs, it just puts in stark relief the gulf between Limp Bizkit and a band that's trying to advance and develop themselves musically. Fred Durst is what Jesse Pinkman would be like if Breaking Bad was remade by Michael Bay as a 90 minute action film.

When the songs are at their best the actual music is very appealing, with huge guitar hooks provided by Wes Borland on all the big hits like Rollin' (Air Raid Vehicle), Take A Look Around and Break Stuff. It's easy to see why the band are so popular, even if it is a guilty pleasure for some.

Acting as somewhat of a counterpoint to all this obviousness is Wes Borland's persona of strangeness, tonight he takes to the stage dressed as a ghost-faced trouserless tropical tourist and his guitar amps are disguised as a Tiki Hut. He also seems to be the main force behind the constant flirtation with cover versions, they play various parts of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Metallica songs.

The only cover version tonight played in full is Rage Against The Machine's Killing in the Name, and regardless of how well it goes down with the crowd, it's perplexing as to why they would play this and then run out of time to play Nookie, a song that they at least created and popularised themselves. At times they seem like a distracted jam band who aren't quite sure of their own identity.

Earlier in the gig Durst said to an audience member: "Why are you crying? Did somebody hit you in the face?" He then reprimands the audience for not being civil to each other, an audience that have come here to listen to songs that frequently advocate violence, as witnessed in the final song tonight, Break Stuff.

Limp Bizkit have attracted controversy throughout their career, with events such as allegations of dubious marketing ploys to promote their debut album, Three Dollar Bill Y'all$, and an outbreak of violence during their Woodstock '99 performance serving merely as highlights. But this is all part of the Limp Bizkit's no-bad-press approach. Their lyrical content and behaviour is designed to alienate people who would never be interested in their band so that Fred Durst can continue to rail against the 'hate' they have for him. But I have the feeling that people don't actually hate him, maybe they're just disappointed.

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