Words: Wojtek Tomczyk
Photos: Anne-Laure Marie
I’m going to start this off with complete honesty; I haven’t been this excited for a show in such a long time. Although Nickelback have their musical gems and failures, Bad Wolves had been announced as support, making it their first Australian tour ever. If you’re unfamiliar with Bad Wolves, the LA based Metalcore(ish) band that managed to gain Gold Status in Australia with their cover of Zombie (by The Cranberries) and platinum status in America for the same track and the band that’s STILL literally dominating the iTunes charts in Australia after almost a year since their debut release ‘Disobey’. Combined with the larger-than-life entity that is Nickelback, tonight was sure to be interesting at the very least.
First to take the stage was Bad Wolves, and although I knew what to expect from the band, I was still completely blown away by the ferocity, fury and tightness the five-piece brought to the table. Opening with Learn to Live, the band took to the stage with incredibly heavy polyrhythms, breakdowns and chorus’ that just threw my jaw onto the floor. Drummer John Boeklin and bassist Kyle Konkiel maintained an unusually tight rhythm section for guitarists Doc Coyle and Chris Cain, of whom used their 7 string’s tuned to G immaculately. Vocalist Tommy Vext’s performance was flawless, changing between heavy vocals and clean vocals like a light switch turning on and off, he took the time to talk about his past suicide attempts, accepting the heavy community as a family, the gross misconduct of the Grammy’s not mentioning drummer Vinnie Paul, and Delores O’Riordan, it was incredibly wonderful to see a vocalist be so humble and honest the way Vext was.
Complete with a beautiful setlist comprising of Learn to Live, Hear Me Now, No Masters, Better the Devil, Officer Down, a lowkey Queens of the Stone Age and System of a Down cover, and finishing up with Zombie, Bad Wolves have shown tonight that they’re one of the next big things in the heavy music industry, and their success will only continue to rise.
Now came the time for Nickelback, and seriously, the show had its highs and lows. Storming the stage and opening the title track of their latest album, Feed the Machine, the 4 piece kick off their set with blasting riffs and powerful melodies. Vocalist/guitarist Chad Kroeger and guitarist Ryan Peake held the band’s actual performance together much more adequately, whereas bassist Mike Kroeger and drummer Daniel Adair maintained the rhythmic performance. Lighting and the mix of the night were incredibly mesmerising, with the mix being almost completely flawless, and the lighting show projecting the idea of controlled chaos.
During the night, Nickelback interacted with the crowd a lot more than anticipated, especially for a band of their stature, inviting a woman from the crowd named Jess to perform Animal on guitar, and inviting two crowd members to sing Rockstar with the band. One member was a young man who was eccentric, had that ‘Rockstar’ vibe and actually did really well vocally, and the other being a young, drunk woman who improvised most of the lyrics, danced, slipped on the stage a few times, giving a light-hearted breather to the show and causing some laughs.
The only real criticism I had of Nickelback’s performance tonight was that the tour was promoting ‘Feed the Machine’, the band’s 9th studio album to date, yet only played the title track on the night, which personally was a little disappointing, especially since the album’s one of the best the band have released in a long time.
Comprising with a setlist featuring tracks such as Feed the Machine, Something In Your Mouth, Burn it to the Ground, Gotta Be Somebody, Photograph, Rockstar, How You Remind Me, When We Stand Together and so many more, the night was one to remember for die-hard Nickelback fans, as well as die-hard Bad Wolves fans.