“Kowloon, I love your energy!” yelled Drowning Pool frontman Jasen Moreno. “We just don’t get that back home.”
The US metallers had to make it to Hong Kong one day, even if that day came 15 years after their landmark debut, Sinner. The anticipation for the group’s first Hong Kong show was so strong it could be tasted in the sweat and dry-ice-smoke-filled air of gritty punk venue, Hidden Agenda. The band entered the stage to a warped version of “If you’re happy and you know it …” – a sinister indication of the twisted mayhem to follow in the next 70 minutes.
A relentlessly heavy setlist focused heavily on the Texan band’s latest album Hellelujah. Drop got the party started with barked lyrics and a hook-laden chorus, before the energy was ramped up to furious levels with Push, Sinner and We Are The Devil. Heavy fight anthems like One Finger and a Fist churned the crowd into a foaming frenzy of flying knuckles and thrashing hair.
The only moment of respite came from new track Hell to Pay; a chance for Moreno – who joined in 2012 as DP’s fourth vocalist – to prove he can sing as well as growl. His fun-loving bravado cracked with emotion during a particularly heartfelt rendition of Tear Away, which left the crowd chanting the refrain.
A broken string knocked the momentum, but intensity restored with the rugged riff-fest Pity; guitar licks squealing over drummer Mike Luce and bassist Stevie Benton’s industrious rhythms.
The show wouldn’t be complete without wrestling anthem, Bodies. After a suspenseful intro, Moreno unleashed that guttural roar and guitarist C. J. Pierce swooped in. The crowd exploded and the band looked genuinely delighted. A roomful of ringing ears and goofy grins showed, in HK at least, the nu-metal ship hasn’t quite sailed.