Laptop screens facing the crowd, there are no secrets about tonight’s gig. Returning to the UK for the first time in 10 years, Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda has brought his Fort Minor side project to London’s Scala for an intimate one-off show and it feels as special as advertised.
Taking to the stage via juddering rumbles and enthusiastic chants of his name – sadly not to the tune of The Knack’s ‘My Sharona’ – Mike is an effortless host from the off. The shotgun openers of ‘Petrified’ and ‘In Stereo’ set the boundless pace for the evening as he leaps feet-first into it. Remixing tracks from 2005’s ‘The Rising Tied’ alongside Linkin Park cuts, Fort Minor hits like an arena spectacle while maintaining the club intensity.
Two songs in, he announces that this evening isn’t just about the songs; it’s a chance for him to tell stories. True to form, studio secrets and anecdotes flow as freely as the music. Stripped of band and given a space of his own, there’s a sense of relaxed comfort underpinning every spat vocal and charmed secret. A stunning rendition of ‘Kenji’ sees Mike leap onto a speaker stack to get closer to the audience and his deliberate stare gives the performance an edged, soul-searching honesty. Bouncing between songs of racial struggle and the universal connection of music, Mike’s voice is one of power and confidence.
Whether taking requests from the audience and putting them over a drum loop or playing guitar just because he wants to, tonight highlights the freedom that Fort Minor gifts Mike. More than a side-project, it’s a magnified look at a man who helped steer a movement. While the closing shots of ‘Welcome’, all Florida keys and cultural sunshine and the clenched fist celebration of ‘Remember The Name’ bring the evening to a glorious end, it’s a curtain call that leaves the door to Fort Minor on the latch.