Breaking Benjamin | 12.13.09

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live_benjamin.jpgIn the biggest love-fest of the night, Breaking Benjamin came next, armed with their latest release.

 

  

105.7 The Point Ho Ho Show
Scottrade Center, St. Louis

In the musical history of St. Louis, the city has attached itself to certain artists for no particular rhyme or reason. Regardless of their origin, be it Sammy Hagar's California residence or Breaking Benjamin's Pennsylvania homes, the city becomes a second home for such artists anytime they visit. Radio stations play a large part in this, further developing the artists' love for the city by playing the songs on a frequent basis, developing a large fan base for them to play to when they come through.

Two of such bands are in the lineup for The Point's annual Ho Ho Show on Sunday night. Up-and-comers Sick Puppies play KPNT-sponsored shows on a regular basis and have garnered immense city popularity from constant airplay, while Pointfest semi-annoyingly relied year after year on a Breaking Benjamin/Three Days Grace combination. In what would be a normal artist's rotation through the city of about a two-year break away, it was made to seem as if the band had been gone a decade and was making its triumphant return.

With a near-capacity Scottrade Center ready to rock, local band Brookroyal took off, covering what seemed to be the most-played songs on their MySpace. "Hello" drew an immense crowd reaction and allowed the band to really shine. Vocalist Jack Wiese is well known from his work with former Evanescence members Rocky Gray and John LeCompt in Mourningside, as well as St. Louis band the.5th.element. The band carried the opener position very well and held their own on the fairly stacked alternative bill.

Sydney, Australia's Sick Puppies came out to the thunderous "War," which lived up to its name. The band is a tightly knit group and put on what on any other night would be a tough show to top. The crowd accompanied the band's fighting, heavy style, at times roaring like a massive, charging Spartan army. On one of the lighter moments, lead singer Shimon Moore asked the crowd to light up the room with their cellphones, making the Scottrade Center shine like the Geminid shower-lit sky outside.

Papa Roach...what more is there to say? The band bring their A-game to every show they play, whether it's at the (comparatively diminutive) Pageant, a side stage at Pointfest, or in a packed Scottrade Center. Lead singer Jacoby Shaddix is the best frontman in the alternative game, whether verbally interacting with the crowd or crawling halfway around the arena. The band still brings the dirty despite toning down the rap-rock of the early '00s. New songs "I Almost Told You That I Loved You" and "Hollywood Whore" are anything but family-friendly tunes, but they certainly allow Shaddix and Co. to continue appealing to their fan base.

In the biggest love-fest of the night, Breaking Benjamin came next, armed with their latest release Dear Agony and massive single/show opener "I Will Not Bow." The only complaint the band would leave on the lips of concertgoers was the lack of a set. The short hour-long set (a staple of radio shows) simply didn't allow the band to cover any of their four-album discography outside of a few regulars, "Polyamorous," "Breath," and "So Cold," plus a few new tracks, "Fade Away" and "Into the Nothing." Though lead singer Ben Burnley was understandably sick, that didn't seemingly alter the setlist as much as the hourlong timeslot the band was handed.

The band did find time to work in a cover, as they usually do, which turned out to be a reworking of Aerosmith's "Dream On." The cover more than thrilled the crowd and proved Burnley a more than able lead singer covering Steven Tyler's ridiculous vocal range. Closing with 2006's "Diary of Jane" put a wrap on the night as the band choose to end strong rather than following the overused encore method. Hopefully, the band will be able to come through their second home again soon; as the lead singer put it, "I wouldn't want to be sick in any other city." | Bruce Matlock

 

Breaking Benjamin Set List

I Will Not Bow
Until the End
Had Enough
Blow Me Away
Sooner or Later
Dream On (Aerosmith cover)
So Cold
Polyamorous
Into the Nothing
Fade Away
Breath
Diary of Jane

 

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