Continuing from Part 1 covering 4 of 11 cities hosting Listening Sessions worldwide, traveling down from Berlin and Oslo, about thirty hours by plane from the Americas, a hunt went down in Johannesburg, South Africa for The Hunting Party. Read about their unique experience by fellow LPU members Shaun Muthaya and Amanda Staples!
To the survivors of this hunt sharing their story- dankie!
Let’s go hunting.
4 June 2014, a day all Linkin Park fans will remember. It was our chance to listen to The Hunting Party. A number of listening sessions were held in major cities around the world. It was a moment in which our Linkin Park family united and celebrated the joy of feeding our ears to greatness. LPU HQ and Warner Music gave us the opportunity to enter and be a part of that historic day.
It all began when I received an email from LPU HQ informing me that I have been chosen for the Listening Session in Johannesburg, South Africa. Excitement would be an understatement to describe my emotions. Shortly thereafter I received an email from Warner Music SA, informing me of the venue and time. Our listening session was to be held at Lasermaxx in Joburg. My intial reaction was, “weird, a laser tag arena?” but I decided to go with it and see what they had in store.
On arrival at the venue, which was located underground at a shopping mall, we were warmly welcomed by Warner Music SA staff. Our phones had to be handed in, IDs verified, names checked off and we were let in.
Looking around the room, the set up was relaxed with The Hunting Party posters placed in various areas, a food stall, bar, lounge and speakers set up on either side. We were given time to socialize with other LPU members, Warner Music SA staff and the media. Not too long in, Adrian – the Marketing Manager of Waner Music SA – gave us the lowdown of what was to be expected.
He started off talking about Linkin Park, their previous albums and what we can expect from The Hunting Party. The first two tracks were to be played, followed by a game of laser tag, more tracks and the cycle was to be repeated. At this moment it clicked. A light bulb shone brightly in my head. We were literally going to be hunting each other in the game, paying tribute to the title The Hunting Party. Now that is genius!
The album starts off with “Keys to the Kingdom,” distortion in the beginning, then Chester’s powerful voice is shoved in your ears, violently and hard! What a way to open up the album. Instantly I was hooked on this track.
The next track to follow is “All For Nothing.” Shock and awe is how I can describe it. Mike? Is that Mike? Yes it is! I have to agree with fellow LPUer Natasha, this is indeed Mike’s hardest and aggressive work.
The first two songs done, I was blown away! At this point I wasn’t even considering playing laser tag, but I had to be a sport and give in. We all geared up, got divided into two teams, locked and loaded, then prepared to enter the arena.
— Warner Music SA (@WarnerMusicSA) June 4, 2014
As the doors opened with laser lights shining around, I heard the intro to “Guilty All the Same” being blasted in the arena! Yesss! They were playing the album as we were about to hunt each other! I became like the Incredible Hulk, juiced up on The Hunting Party drug! I literally went insane. Running, ducking, hiding and even mistakenly shooting my own team members and also being shot by some, too.
After an energetic work out, we went back to the lounge area and listening to some more tracks. After this process and a few more rounds of laser tag, they handed out gifts to those with the highest points in each round which consisted of every Linkin Park album released by Warner. The final round was won by myself and friend and fellow LPUer Andy Chan. Eventually, the amazing night had to come to an end.
The Hunting Party truly is Linkin Park’s hardest album to date! It would not be right to compare this to their earlier work as some media reviews have been saying. This album is heavy, violent and unique in all its own rights. It is truly a treat for your ears!
Thank you to LPU HQ and Warner Music SA for an unbelievable night.
We have been hunted!
Name: Shaun Muthaya
Country: South Africa
This was my first Linkin Park Underground event as an LPUer, so when I got the e-mail letting me knowI was going to the Listening Session, I had mixed feelings of excitement and nerves, especially as I’m super shy around strangers.
I headed through to the local Laser Maxx place which was the venue for the party, where I was greeted by the friendly Warner Music staff; they stuck my precious phone into a bag so I couldn’t sneakily record anything, and gave me a number. I thankfully ran into the two LPUers that Natasha had introduced me to via Twitter, so I wasn’t left looking lost.
There was a mix of LPU members and media types present, and we were told that they’d play the first two tracks of the album. Afterwards, we had to play a round of laser tag- The Hunting Party listening session, we had to hunt each other in a laser tag arena… get it? Get it?
Needless to say… keeping hidden while shooting others is not my strong point.
They played the album while we were in there hunting each other, but of course, couldn’t really focus. When we came out, we sat down and they played another three tracks, then sent back in for another round (where everyone else became more skilled and I just got worse).
Shaun and Andy whom had the highest scores so far were given hampers [prizes, NOT laundry baskets! #LaundryPark] of all the Linkin Park albums Warner had released up until then, and we were sent back in to try and get some high scores to win the remaining three hampers… having a member of my team constantly killing me as he thought it was a free-for-all game didn’t help my score much, so I wasn’t one of the lucky ones.
They played the rest of the album and then replayed it from beginning to end. The sound at the venue was admittedly not that great, but I have to say; this is probably going to be up there as one of my favourite albums….
It’s aggressive, it’s loud and I’m in love! I cannot wait for the 17th of June now.
Thanks to Linkin Park, the Linkin Park Underground and Warner Music South Africa for a fun event and letting us have a chance to listen to the album before its release!
Name: Amanda Staples
Country: South Africa
As great as a hunt was for The Hunting Party, there was one LPUer, Altamish, that would have preferred a different plan of attack; being teased with two tracks then let out into the arena for a round of laser tag while trying to let the new album attack you before others did was frustrating for the anxious fan and he wasn’t the only one.
“In all honesty, happy and excited with the few tracks I heard today from The Hunting Party but…
I am extremely disappointed in the way the listening session was organised by Warner Music SA. I only got to really hear the first half of the album nicely, the rest I don’t remember.”
He also pointed out, like Amanda, that the acoustics were not exactly the greatest in the laser tag arena.
Perhaps a proper listen first, completely unexpected and to drive up the adrenaline, then followed by a round of laser with a second listen to the album would have been best?
Would you have been excited for this set up? Or have the hunt afterwards?
Nonetheless, he anxiously awaits for June 17th and thanks Warner and the Linkin Park Underground for remembering South Africa and bringing The Hunting Party to them.
Stay tuned for part 3 with “Linkin Park Rebellion Malaysia” rocking Kuala Lumpur, and more from a few other cities!