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Fred and Bizkits still limping on

It's always interesting to see how a band copes with the knowledge that their return to live action sees them operating at a significantly lower level than they were once used to.

Do they, in true Spinal Tap fashion, acknowledge that their appeal has become 'more selective' and simply get on with things or take to the stage with a big puss on them and go through the motions simply in order to keep the cashflow going?

Well, given the way their career effectively petered out from 2001 to 2005, the latter option would appear to be the safer bet as regards Limp Bizkit.

When they emerged from Florida in the late '90s, they were a dumbed-down variant of the kind of rap metal previously popularised by the likes of Korn and Rage Against The Machine.

Frontman Fred Durst had done his best to get his face and the band's name around by making guest appearances with Cold, Soulfly and Korn, who returned the favour by guesting on the US breakthrough album Significant Other alongside Stone Temple Pilots and members of Wu-Tang Clan.

Limp Bizkit were the perfect band for the MTV of the time: a loud, pointlessly aggressive rap-metal soundtrack for braindead jocks. It was no surprise that Bizkit's performance of Break Stuff at the 1999 re-run of Woodstock, co-sponsored by MTV, coincided with an outbreak of rioting. Still, Limp Bizkit's star continued to rise and their career peaked around the 2000 release of Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water, which topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic and contained at least two decent tracks in Take a Look Around (which was used as the theme for Mission: Impossible 2) and Rollin'.

By the following year they were supplying the theme to John McTiernan's dreadful remake of Rollerball and the slide had begun. As they were reaching their peak Durst had been behaving with all the bravado you'd expect from a frontman with the world at his feet but somewhere along the way he began to develop a Bono complex which looked embarrassing when the band's output became repetitive and the sales figures fell off a cliff. Although the nadir of their career came with a woefully misjudged cover of The Who's Behind Blue Eyes I do, however, have a rather fond memory of them. At their peak they were due to play a gig in Punchestown and the promoters flew a handful of hacks to Madrid.

The press conference went fine but later we were informed that the show had been pulled due to the band's concerns about audience security. Two days later we learned that Durst had injured his back and the European tour had been pulled, thus no Punchestown or, indeed, the need to write up the piece. Thanks for the two nights in Madrid, Fred.

Limp Bizkit play the Olympia on Tuesday