Fort Minor / Little Brother Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, ON - February 1, 2006

I came for Little Brother, who played after Toronto's own 4th Pyramid opened for Apathy and Celph Titled. Too many opening acts? You bet. Worth the wait though was the North Carolina crew of Phonte and rapper Big Pooh. Until the needle dropped, the crowd seemed unaware of Little Brother's act. From then on though, it was The Minstrel Show for the masses. As for the young' uns, they're here to see their old pal Mike Shinoda do his Fort Minor thing. It's a school night and all Shinoda did was mention two letters, L (as in Linkin) and P (as in Park), but it triggers something in the "Johnny, your mom's waiting for you outside" crowd. Shinoda paused, and then mentioned that LP will drop a new record this year. On cue, the predominantly pubescent audience signals their support. Forget L and P, F and M are the letters hanging from the backdrop, so take stock of the arsenal: two violinists, a cellist, one drunken DJ, three male backup singers, two MCs (Ryu and Tak of Styles of Beyond) and a drummer named Beat Down. All that made Fort Minor's set pompous and powerful. If not for the swampy sound that drowned out the vocals and the occasionally laughable lyrics, it was near perfect. From where I stood, the sound shook you. Less rock than raucous rap, "Remember the Name" tapped those throbbing pits of puberty, exploring the vast wasteland of teenaged angst. "Believe Me" wrestled with the self-destruction necessary to discover the adult you, while "Where'd You Go" was just a sappy attempt at the Eminem/Dido formula. But I knew this was as good as it would get and tried to enjoy it all the same.