Last month you may remember that I mentioned reviewing Nickelback at the Odyssey. Now I’m by no means a fan of the band, but the nature of this job means that if you want to earn a crust you have to move outside your comfort zone every now and again (for example,as I type this latest missive I’m listening to a promo of the new AC/DC album who I never really liked except for that ‘Big Balls’ song.That was tops).
Anywho, I was in horrible form when I arrived at the Odyssey. Earlier that morning I had flown over to London to talk to Cliff Richard. All well and good you might think, except for the fact that I was DYING with the man flu. Most of my day was spent in the Sky Sports green room with people like JK Rowling, Terry Prachett and that bloke off of Queer Eye for a Straight Guy UK and when I eventually met Cliff he wouldn’t shake my hand for fear of catching a “disease.” Sometimes these things happen and on the bright side he made for an interesting, if slightly dark interview and my Aunt Ann was chuffed with her signed photo so chalk that up in the win column for me.
So I flew home later that day and to be honest I was in agony. My throat was aching and my ears refused to work. I shuffled into the venue half deaf, sweating like a kiddie fiddler during an episode of Hannah Montanna and looking very, very grey. I was dreading the gig but as it turned out, it was a lot of fun, so here’s the review that ran in Fate.
Nickelback, Staind at the Odyssey
There are times when showing up early to a gig can reap rewards by the bucket-load. Take earlier this year for example, when the Ting Tings played in front of a crowd of five people and a couple of pervey bouncers or at the start of the decade when Franz Ferdinand backed up Interpol in the Limelight. While other punters are usually still sitting at home probably preening their hair or pigging out with a pizza or three, the eager beavers of Belfast catch some genuinely impressive bands on the cusp of greatness. With that in mind, let’s turn out attention to Nickelback’s support act-Staind and to say that tonight isn’t “one of those times” is an understatement.
To be frank, words cannot describe how dreary, dull and soulless their performance is. As their slap-head singer Aaron Lewis croons about teen angst (which is funny when you take into account that he looks like he’s 56) his faceless backing band seem to have as much life in them as a George Romero zombie movie. For those who don’t remember Staind “from back in the day,” the four-piece peddle pedestrian complaint rock in the vein of Pearl Jam by way of Limp Bizkit. Somewhat surprisingly they’re now on their sixth album ‘The Illusion of Progress’ and sadly it seems that they still don’t know how to write a decent tune.
Still we’ve got all-conquering Canadian kings of stadium rock Nickelback up next, so it’s not all bad, right? Errr, well we’ll take this moment to make a confession to all you lovely Fate readers. This writer has very little time for Chad Kroeger’s crew and to be honest, after Staind’s set we’re not holding out much hope for our Friday night to end with a bang. Well, how wrong are we, because for the next hour and a half we’re treated to more good times than Justin Lee Collins throwing a party at Funderland.
It seems like the occasion isn’t missed on the lion-faced lead singer either, as he tells us he’s happy to finally play in Belfast for the first time and now that they’re been here once, we’re “fuckin’ stuck with them now,” before launching into ‘Photograph’ which comes complete with a video montage made up of snaps of the band looking daft on the road.
It’s not just a rock show tonight however, and the band manage to keep the floating voter’s attention by goofing around too. In between songs such as ‘Too Late,’ ‘How You Remind Me’ and ‘Never Again’ we get “free shit” shot at us by giant canons, more pyros than Belfast has probably ever seen and best of all-free pints, which the band throw into the crowd. “We all know you can drink it,” laughs Kroeger, “but what I want to know is-can you catch it?” Sadly for the butter-fingered audience their experiment results in a big fat NO, but still, at least they made the effort.
Somewhat out of the blue, there’s also a rather touching tribute to the sadly departed Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell, who was murdered onstage four years ago. During the video montage, the band played their song ‘Side of a Bullet’ which they wrote in tribute to the fallen musician and it’s easily a heart-felt set high-light. Of course, it’s not all perfect in Nickelback-land and while their pointless drum solo was tedious at best, we can forgive them for giving us a superb, if somewhat surprising night out that ensured our Friday feeling was on us faster than Vanessa Feltz on a Mars bar. The less said about that song from the DFS advert the better though…