It’s a dry and sunny day in Liverpool, which is just as well considering some people began queueing at 8 this morning, hoping to get a longed-for place along the barrier in the front row to see the Canadian rockers on their ‘Feed the Machine’ tour. There has been much speculation on the band’s social media in the build up to this tour, as they put out a tweet promising UK fans they’d play something from each of their nine studio albums, something they’d not done on any previous tour. In the two UK dates thus far this tour, the set list has been switched up slightly each night, so I’m unsure quite what to expect from Nickelback tonight. But, first…
Seether arrive onstage to dark, moody lighting, interspersed with touches of red, and launch into ‘Gasoline’. Bass player Dale Stewart is full of energy as he throws himself into the set, headbanging, hair flying everywhere, feet stomping and really getting the crowd going, encouraging us to clap along. Drummer John Humphrey is so enthusiastic, his arms flailing around as he maintains the furious beat. With Clint Lowery currently on tour with Sevendust, there’s a guest tour guitarist, who is doing an admirable job, he really looks the part and is throwing out some serious riffage to boot! Vocalist Shaun Morgan is the complete opposite, he’s really concentrating on singing and playing, hardly moving, except to get some feedback from his guitar and knock the speakers over at the end of the set. With more than a few Seether fans here, some having made the trip just to see them, they obviously have a loyal fan base. The set is great and includes a few tracks from their latest album ‘Poison the Parish’, plus obvious crowd favourites, like closer ’Remedy’.
Seether are combining their support slot with Nickelback with touring their seventh studio album ‘Poison the Parish’. They have a couple of UK/Europe dates remaining before heading into South Africa, Australia and New Zealand throughout May, then back to Europe with Nickelback in June, before heading to the US.
Full details on http://seether.com/:-
11th May - London - O2 Arena (supporting Nickelback)
12th May - Oxford, O2 Academy (with support from The Fallen State)
13th May - Nottingham, Motorpoint Arena (supporting Nickelback)
15th May - Utrecht, Netherlands, TivoliVredenburg
16th May - Berlin, Germany, Max Schmelinghalle (supporting Nickelback)
Seether band members:-
Shaun Morgan - lead vocals/guitar
Dale Stewart - bass
John Humphrey - drums
Seether set list:-
Betray and Degrade
Words as Weapons
Nobody Praying for Me
Let You Down
Find out more about Seether here:-
As the late-comers fill most of the remaining spaces in the arena and the anticipation builds, the background music stops and the huge screen wall on the back of the stage comes to life with a recorded message from Nickelback…it’s all four members, and they say have something very special for us. A countdown timer begins to count backwards from twenty minutes.
The excitement builds as we get ready for the band to appear, the screen comes to life and shows…a trailer for a documentary about Nickelback. There’s clips from past and present band members, together with clips of the band on and off stage and then it all ends with a ‘coming soon’. By now, we’re expecting the band to leap onto the stage…but the background music starts again, so we amuse ourselves with an en masse karaoke style version of ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’ by The Darkness. It actually sounded quite good, if you can believe that!
We’re suddenly plunged into darkness, the audience cheering and screaming makes every hair on my body stand on end. The array of lights on the outer ring of the screen light up and the huge screen shows a terminator-style image, as Daniel Adair’s futuristic drum riser is unveiled, and Nickelback appear on the stage amidst clouds of smoke emerging from the drum riser. As the opening riffs of ‘Feed The Machine’ start and Chad Kroeger’s unmistakable vocals hit every single note, I’m transfixed. I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be. The pace doesn’t let up for a second as the guys go straight into ‘Woke up This Morning’ from their 2001 album ‘Silver Side Up’, and the crowd goes wild!
Frontman Chad then takes a moment to speak to us, “You guys must be knackered after the bank holiday…we learned a lesson, don’t book a gig in Liverpool after bank fucking holiday!”. He looks to guitarist Ryan Peake, as he appraises the crowd, “I have a feeling we’re gonna squeeze it outta them tonight. We’re gonna play a track from ‘All The Right Reasons’ called ‘Photograph’”. That gets the whole crowd singing along, and the accompanying old snapshots of the band in various silly poses as a slideshow on the back screen are a funny accompaniment. Along with this, there are live shots of all four members of the band in rotation, along with shots of the audience, which continues throughout the rest of the show, making sure everyone can get a good view, no matter where they are standing or sitting in the arena. Chad’s resolution to everyone being hungover? Hair of the dog in the form of jägerbombs, and he suggests we lock the arena doors and tell everyone else to fuck off (“or get fucked!”, adds Ryan).
Chad’s easy banter with the crowd and self-deprecating humour have the audience on his side from the off. He’s not afraid to poke fun at himself and the lyrics that have “gotten them into trouble over the years”, he says with a chuckle, as the band launch into ‘Something in Your Mouth’. This is a real crowd pleaser, we’re all in on the joke and happily singing along. Ryan takes a turn at singing a verse and it goes down a storm. As I look at the people around me and their beaming smiles, everyone is so happy to be here and they are having the time of their lives. The lights go out, and when they come back on Ryan is sitting at a piano, playing the opening chords to ‘Lullaby’, a song that has personal meaning for me, so it’s special to see and hear it live. Seeing Chad with just a microphone, without his guitar, he looks so free as he uses the entire stage, reaching as much of the audience as he possibly can. Crowd favourite ‘Figured You Out’ follows, then ‘Leader of Men’ from 1998’s ‘The State’, which Chad introduces by telling us he “wrote it when he was tripping balls on mushrooms”, and ‘Million Miles an Hour’ from 2014’s ‘No Fixed Address’, accompanied by an amazing psychedelic show on the back screen. I’m mesmerised by Daniel’s powerhouse drumming, I could watch him all night!
Audience members Adam and Lucy are plucked out to sing ‘Rockstar’, strut their stuff onstage and enjoy jägerbombs with the band, something that has become a tradition during recent tours. Then there is an amazing instrumental medley of three tracks from the ‘Curb’ album, followed by Chad’s solo track ‘Hero’ from the film ‘Spiderman’. Set closer ‘How You Remind Me’ is a track a lot of people have been waiting for, especially the very excited lady behind me, who is at her first ever gig. She catches Chad’s attention by holding two pints of beer aloft and he wonders aloud “How the fuck have you still got beer in the second row?” He clambers down off the stage and steps up onto the barrier to clink cups with her and say “Cheeers!”, inadvertently giving me a rather close encounter with his crotch in the process. I’ve always wanted to meet him, but that wasn’t exactly what I had in mind! It’s all in good fun though, and we make a joke about it.
All too soon the band leave the stage, returning for an encore with ‘Gotta Be Somebody’ and ‘Burn it to The Ground’, which has the whole place jumping and everybody with their fists pumping and devil horns in the air, the back screen showing an incredible display of fire and the accompanying light show a sight to see.
With a set lasting almost two and a quarter hours, I have a feeling these guys could have gone a whole lot longer. What’s that you say? Jägerbombs all round? Ah, go on then!
Leaving the venue and listening to people talking, the overwhelming theme is that they didn’t expect Nickelback to be that heavy. As I’ve been saying to people for years…go and see them, you might just be surprised!
Nickelback have a couple more dates in the UK before they head off to Europe:-
11th May - London, O2 Arena
13th May - Nottingham, Motorpoint Arena
16th May - Berlin, Germany, Max Schmelinghalle
Nickelback band members:-
Chad Kroeger - lead vocals/guitar
Ryan Peake - guitar/backing vocals
Daniel Adair - drums/backing vocals
Mike Kroeger - bass
Nickelback set list:-
Feed The Machine
Woke Up This Morning
Something in Your Mouth
Figured You Out
Leader of Men
Million Miles an Hour
When we Stand Together
Curb Medley - Where?/Left/Curb
How You Remind Me
Gotta Be Somebody
Burn it to The Ground
Find out more about Nickelback here:-
PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA. PLEASE DIRECT ALL MEDIA ENQUIRIES TO LINDSAY@DOWNTHEFRONTMEDIA.COM