The carnival element at Saturday’s Karnival One concert wasn’t much--just a magician and a juggler on stilts in the Hollywood Palladium foyer--and though a healthy crowd turned out, the venue wasn’t packed. Yet the five-band bill, topped by Anthrax and the Rollins Band, still rocked the house, demonstrating the enduring appeal of hard rock.
Karnival was sponsored by KNAC.com, the new online incarnation of Los Angeles’ late, great hard-rock station KNAC. Former RIP magazine editor Lonn Friend became the site’s executive editor, and he staged Karnival One in the spirit of RIP’s legendary annual celebrations.
“This is a new medium--more than a magazine,” Friend said prior to the festivities. “Add the element of a live Web cast, and Karnival One becomes a much bigger event than anything I’ve done in the past.”
Since his days fronting seminal hard-core outfit Black Flag, Henry Rollins has always lunged along the often fine line separating punk and metal. On Saturday, clad only in black shorts, the beefy, tattooed singer led his band through a set of terse tunes that bristled with brainy, brawny aggression.
Anthrax was not only a key player in the evolution of speed/thrash metal, but was also one of the first bands to mix rap and hard rock. Playing last, the group made sure that the party ended with a bang. Churning out a raw, explosive set, the quintet was a study in kinetic energy, bounding tirelessly about the stage as it hammered out material old and new.
The first three bands were part of the growing crop of Korn progeny, and despite Substance D’s forceful playing and Taproot’s aerobic performance, Primer 55’s rap-metal fusion proved most engaging.