Soundwave 2013 & An Ode to Linkin Park

Linkin-Park-linkin-park-25142558-640-517’s Victoria Mietchen headed along to Soundwave and wrote an ode to her teenage favourites Linkin Park:

As the sky darkened with twilight I stood moored in a churning and restless sea of strangers, pent up with adolescent excitement and intense nostalgia. It’s Sunday night and Linkin Park have finally taken stage. When you’ve been a fan of a band for as long as I have, and have never seen them in the flesh, after all they’ve been there with you for, it’s something special. While I don’t listen to their album as much as I did as a teenager, they are still the only band to get me through a gruelling gym workout and are the only band to wizard me back to being in the skater shoes and Hurley tee’s of my 15-year-old self. As I often cite in my reviews, music is imperative to our lives for its ability to recreate a time or feeling or experience. It can transform any moment, no matter how particular, peculiar, wonderful or awful it was, into something unforgettable. Linkin Park do that for me.

I discovered them while living in the sunshine state of California at fifteen on student exchange. Their lyrics became my small anthems, their songs something to hold myself to – when you’re at that age a lot of what you see and feel becomes indelible – and just as that year will always stand out in my mind, so too do the tunes that take me back there by simply pushing “play”.

It takes me back to long drives with my host family through the rugged, beautiful and lonely desert to Vasquez Rocks, where my first good friend of that year, and a girl who I am still friends with this day, sat on rocky slopes and screamed at the afternoon WE ARE AWESOME CHICKS and proceeded to weave and climb in and out of small canyons, our young, strong voices hollering off the rock faces. Of leaving late night movies with other friends from other nations, walking through the strange coyote night back to one of their houses to crash, and dropping back from the others to take in the unfolding desert around me, slipping my headphones on and crossing beneath overpass and dilapidated chain link wasteland weed and dirt track with Chester Bedingfield’s cries in my ears. Warning me against impending betrayals and rising above it all if you needed to… those small anthems that armoured me against any slight made against me in those delicate years between being a child and a woman. Back before I ever smoked a cigarette, had a sip of whiskey or let a man inside me. Back even before my very first kiss (which came later that year, to U2’s Beautiful Day in a light rain with a boy too old for me, also on exchange, from Ecuador) – though the passage of time between that year and this between this has been long, their music seems to encapsulate the very different life I led in the Antelope Valley under Mojave skies – all the young heartbreak, triumph and adventure.

Music is important because it becomes, at times, a character in our life story, a phantom-like companion, or the element which accentuates a moment

Soundwave on Sunday allowed me to re-live other times in my life, too, beyond that whirlwind year in America. My early twenties underscored by A Perfect Circle, with their tribal, if not sexually charged drumming, beating like a giant heart within the stadium, beating like the stomps of my platform combat boots down city streets as I raged from bar to rock and roll club with my partner in crime. Maynard James Keenan’s voice swerving without warning from agonised want to a desperately delicate cry over it all – all of us included, rapt by each song as it bore down. They too were a first time, and were everything their albums promise – the space their songs create and demand wonderfully obliged by the setting – their songs taking on a greater dimension, becoming more chilling, more powerful.

Cypress Hill were a highlight of the day, hands down, and again spill recollections of a limousine ride down to Mexico during that American season, windows down and our obnoxious smiles as we stuck our heads from the windows and watched Los Angeles pass by, as “Rock Superstar” blared and the driver chuckled from upfront at our antics. Again, seeing them live was a real treat – they know how to tie fans around their finger – how to get people moving (despite themselves) and confidently portray their own mix-bag of gangster rock crossed with Latino hip hop. They look cool while doing it, which I marvelled at, instead of trying too hard (much like us fifteen-year-old in a limo thinking we were hardcore and where it was at, yo!)

By the time I headed home, I was thoroughly exhausted, but I can’t deny the elation at having been able to witness and re-live eras of personal history – seeing a band live somehow makes their music more important, more real, more relatable, because you become a part of what they are singing, rather than a listener – you are able to interact, experience the sacred exchange between the singer and the fan. The bass in your belly, the reverb in your spine and the lyrics you sing with a swelling crowd around you…

“I put my trust in you
Pushed as far as I could go
But in the end there’s only one thing you should know…”

My eyes grew wet as everyone sang these words together. With the same sentiment, with the same emotion – I remembered diving into a pool in Lancaster with a friend of mine from Holland, and surfacing, as we screamed these lyrics together. Of driving home from Vasquez Rocks, exhausted and elated, looking to Summer and laughing as we sang the final words. In a few months the year would end. But the song would always be a means of time travel. And the memories could never die. The music holds them, previous cargo. Soundwave allowed me to get back some lost time. To be fifteen again, if only for the length of a set…

victoria michelle


Review by Victoria Mietchen.