Following the tragic suicide of Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington on July 20, 2017, Los Angeles-based session vocalist and longtime LP fan Chris Hodges wanted to somehow find a way to bring healing to the band’s fanbase.
Upon getting together with his session musician friends, they decided to form a tribute band and went through several names before settling on the title of what is arguably the band’s most famous song.
Just over a year since the tribute band played its first-ever performance at the West Hollywood club The Viper Room in September 2018, In the End: The Linkin Park Experience will be making its Santa Barbara debut at SOhO Restaurant and Music Club on November 2.
A session singer of twelve years, Mr. Hodges told the News-Press that Mr. Bennington’s singing was a huge influence on him as a vocalist growing up. As he recalled the first time he heard Linkin Park’s 2000 debut album “Hybrid Theory,” Mr. Hodges said he was “blown away” by Mr. Bennington’s wide range of dynamics and vocal techniques, from powerful, clean singing to intense screaming.
“What he does vocally is not easy,” Mr. Hodges said.
Though he unfortunately never got to see Linkin Park in concert, Mr. Hodges was just as impressed by video footage of Mr. Bennington’s dynamic onstage performances, which he likened to a high-intensity interval workout. Mr. Bennington’s ability to maintain impeccable vocals while performing in this style is what Mr. Hodges finds most inspiring about him, as well his ability to deliver on both night after night.
“With every show he gives it absolutely everything he has,” Mr. Hodges said.
When asked his favorite Linkin Park song to perform live, Mr. Hodges named the “Hybrid Theory” track “Crawling.” However, this is not the upbeat, hard rock version found on the album. Instead, In the End plays the song as a piano ballad, just as Linkin Park did during its latter day concerts. During these versions, Mr. Bennington would walk into the audience and lead the crowd through a sing along, which Mr. Hodges always found particularly moving.
“If you watch the ballad style that LP did, it’s just a really special moment between the band and its audience,” he said.
When it comes time for In the End to perform “Crawling,” Mr. Hodges literally joins the audience just as Mr. Bennington would. When singing up-close and personal with the crowd, Mr. Hodges experiences that same, special moment of connection so palpable when watching Linkin Park perform the number.
“There’s no sense of unity like that moment,” Mr. Hodges said.
He added that creating this sense of unity is right in line with addressing the question that has driven In the End since day one: “How do we bring community and healing to the LP fans?”
Tickets for In the End’s November 2 concert at SOhO cost $14 and can be purchased online at www.sohosb.com. Doors to the venue open at 8 p.m. and the concert begins at 9 p.m. SOhO Restaurant & Music Club is located at 1221 State St. Ste 205.