Thursday, October 22, 2009

Live Review: Dead By Sunrise — The Roxy, Los Angeles

There are rock stars, and then there's Chester Bennington.

He's not so much a rock star, as he is an artist born to bleed on stage. Bennington has captivated millions as the voice for Linkin Park, but those numbers will only grow with his new project, Dead By Sunrise. At the band's first official Los Angeles show at The Roxy last night, Bennington exuded a primal energy that burned fiercely during each and every note. From the second Dead By Sunrise stormed the stage, he took a hold of the audience and didn't let go until the finals strains of feedback filtered out of the club and into the bustling Sunset Strip.

Dead By Sunrise tore through an unforgettable set of material from their debut, Out of Ashes. Chester got up in fans' faces screaming each and every word with conviction and chaotic control. First single, "Crawl Back In," segued from a grimy gutter rock riff into an entrancing chorus. Bennington stalked the corners of the stage with a classic swagger and style. If Scott Weiland had a successor, it'd be Bennington. With his Mohawk perfectly poised and a chic designer jacket, he's got the requisite rock star style, but he's edgier than most, verbally bleeding over each somber riff. That was all only on "Crawl Back In" too.

"Condemned" gave Ryan Shuck and Amir Derakh the space to cut through gnashing choruses with a direct distortion assault. Their grungey and guttural playing perfectly contrasts with Bennington's croon. Before "Fire," Chester let out a big smile, "Welcome to our very first show in Los Angeles! What a fuckin' beautiful moment to share." "Fuckin' beautiful" is the only way to adequately describe the ethereal echo pulsating through "Fire." It shows just how diverse Dead By Sunrise can get, and it also sparked a big sing-a-long.

After the crowd response to fire, Bennington laughed, "You guys should all Twitter me your names so I can give you tickets the next time Dead By Sunrise plays." Cheers erupted, and he smirked, "I'm a fuckin' giver."

He kept giving on a Depeche Mode-esque "Let Down" and the highly melodic "Too Late." Bennington lets al of his influences breathe through this slower fare, and band masterfully cultivates these airy soundscapes for his voice to soar over.

Everything ended with an explosion though. Dead By Sunrise rocketed right through a jarring "My Suffering," while "Inside of Me" simply roared. There was a punk rock energy and a classic rock bombast that made the show special. Dead By Sunrise concluded with a raucous cover of The Misfits' "20 Eyes." They infused the song with a futuristic grit that made the classic sound even deadlier.

As long as Chester continues giving, rock n' roll can't die…

—Rick Florino


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