The second night of this “MTV2 Handpicked” package tour, following a San Diego bow the night before, featured short but impressive turns by two up-and-coming young rock bands, one Brit, one Yank, with distinctively different styles. The powerful and exotic hard rock of L.A.’s Apex Theory, which is often compared to System of a Down, stands in sharp contrast to the nu-metal-hip-hop attack of the Welsh septet Lostprophets, which came off like Faith No More meets Linkin Park.
Fans of each group seemed mostly unfamiliar with the other at first — each band began playing to lots of folded arms and curious looks — but both acts gave energized performances and managed to convert plenty of new listeners.
The Apex Theory, which formed in Glendale, is one of the best local live rock bands treading the boards these days, and Wednesday’s show, while not as frenzied as some of its previous Hollywood concerts have been, was a solid sampling of what makes these guys tick. Nine-song set featured tracks from band’s upcoming “Topsy Turvy” (DreamWorks) album, due April 2, and last year’s self-titled EP.
Expressive vocalist Andy Khachaturian, clad in a colorful traditional Armenian robe, sang cryptically of honor, love and strength of character while the band, led by the numerous cool wall-of-guitar sounds and tones from Art Karamian, played mysterious heavy rock with a stylistic diversity that variously suggested Tool and an artier Led Zeppelin.
Lostprophets, who call home a place known as Pontypridd, formed five years ago and have created a high-energy and physical rock-rap blend that’s not nearly as obnoxious as that of so many of their peers.
Two vocalists (one who doubles as DJ, the other a former drummer), two guitarists and a ferocious rhythm section combined for an exciting sound that also recalled Incubus, especially during the band’s hit track “Shinobi vs. Dragon Ninja.” Another highlight of the Lostprophets’ 30-minute effort was the title track from band’s likable Columbia album “The Fake Sound of Progress,” a throwback to some of the more adventurous 1980s metal acts.