My Heroes!

Few bands grab my attention like Shinedown have. Once upon a time a few years ago I got hooked by the song ‘Save Me’ which was on Orlando Rock Radio every five minutes or so it seemed. Since then, I’ve followed them from afar, like an estranged stepfather, especially as I’m in the UK, and they never bothered to visit, until recently that is. For me they blew Disturbed away last October, and once they announced their headlining tour I HAD to be there. I almost made a complete bollocks of it. I see they were on the web for the Manchester Academy 1. I had plenty of time to get my tickets, then before Xmas “SOLD OUT! WHAT!” Turns out it had been switched to the much smaller and intimate Academy 3 (capacity: 300ish).

So to the packed venue… I thought Id turned up to the wrong gig. I felt all of my just turned 42 years, as outside the Academy were approximately 1000 hormonal 14-17 year old girls. It was like a Beatles gig. Thankfully there were there for some teenybopper shite pop-rock band!

Far from home, Shinedown brought us their brand of what I can only describe as Arena/Stadium Rock. With powerful songs, catchy melodies, hard as nails riffs, and a front man who could motivate a gaggle of emo, wrist slashing teens into becoming the next Third Reich. (He’s a powerful motivator, OK)

The concert was definitely proven to be a ‘best of’ collection pulled from their three albums, with a mighty seven songs given an airing from the soon to be released Sound of Madness, Quite rightly so. Irrespective of the size of the venue, Shinedown took to the stage with all the confidence of a band playing their first headlining tour in the UK. Now playing as a four piece after the recent departure of guitarist Nick Perri, previous rhythm guitarist Zach Myers, stepped up to the plate with no loss of confidence and plays with a swagger as if he’s been playing lead for years. Brent Smiths usual ‘hard’ approach was softened by the fact they were visibly chuffed to be here, headlining! He still has great stage presence though, whipping the crowd up during, and in-between every single song; hand waving, power screaming, mass audience jumping (‘Left Out’ - you had to be there), lighters at the ready creating the night sky only indoors (the awesome ‘.45’), even jumping into the audience for the final song of the encore (‘Fly From The Inside’). Classic!

The rhythm section of Barry Kerch (Drums) and Eric Bass (Bass), pound your head until it breaks, and can give any band a run for its money. Shinedown’s brand is a sight and sound to behold, a fact not lost on their very appreciative audience. They don’t put a foot wrong, and truly deserve to play a much bigger venue than this one. Their anthemic songs are wonderfully textured, even the quieter numbers such as the excellent ‘Crow & the Butterfly’ and my favourite, the soon to be huge, ‘Second Chance’ even have a powerful bite.

Shinedown are special indeed.