Powerman 5000 is known for its outrageous, hard-rocking shows, and its appearance at the Agora as the headliner of a tour dubbed "Rockets and Robots 2000" lived up to that reputation. In the spirit of Rob Zombie, yellow-haired PM5K frontman Spider One belted out the lyrics to songs like "When Worlds Collide" (from the band's latest album, Tonight the Stars Revolt) in a guttural, intense voice. The band sounded as good as it does on its two albums -- not an easy task when you consider that guests such as Zombie, Limp Bizkit DJ Lethal, and Marilyn Manson's Ginger Fish all contribute to Tonight.
It was too bad, then, that we had to sit through three opening acts before Powerman 5000 took the stage. Out of the three, L.A.'s Static-X was the best-received by the crowd, but that was probably just because its music is somewhat indistinguishable from Powerman 5000's. Static-X concluded its set with its only hit to date, "Push It," yet by that point, its guitar-and-scream extravaganza had become tiresome.
While solid musicians, Chevelle, a Chicago band that has made much ado about the fact that Steve Albini (Nirvana, PJ Harvey) produced its debut, lacked stage presence. Sure, the band members bounced and ran across the stage with lots of energy, but their performance paled compared to the stage rage of New York's Dope. Singer Edsel Dope threw himself onto, around, and off of the stage multiple times, and led a mini-revolution against a lone security guard with the band's cover of N.W.A.'s "Fuck Tha Police." Between songs, the banter was predictable -- a few expletives were used, and Dope asked, "What's up, Cleveland?" a couple of times. Then came the band's anthem "Everything Sucks" -- but with a group of new metal bands playing to a packed house, the irony of the song was lost on Dope. There were more eyes rolling than fists clenched. Sorry, guy -- not everything sucked, just you. -- Brad Walsh