Nickelback

support Daughtry
author PP date 11/09/12 venue Falconer Salen, Copenhagen, DEN

Most people will tell you they hate Nickelback, yet I've never quite managed to fathom why. They certainly receive an unfair share of criticism considering the mainstream music scene contains many a band more shallow and poppy than them, plus they've never exactly claimed to be writing in-depth music or to have artistic integrity. They've very clearly stayed within the mainstream rock / post-grunge platform throughout their career, releasing a mediocre album with lots of filler every few years or so, but always remembering to pack two or three excellent rock anthems on each record. I know for a fact that many of you reading this with skepticism would hesitantly sing along to "Someday", "Photograph", or "How You Remind Me" should they find themselves at a Nickelback show, so the degree of hatred directed at this band seems completely disproportional to the number of chart topping mainstream rock hits they've released over the years. Plus "Silver Side Up" from 2001, no matter what you say, is a genre-defining classic, and should receive its fair share of credit. Anyway, it's with this kind of mindset I'm approaching the completely sold-out Falconer Salen, because if pretty much everyone in my friend circles is asking questions like "why are you going to see Nickelback?", then how is the concert sold out? What kind of people are in attendance?

Daughtry

Daughtry

The answer is fairly quickly answered as Daughtry enters the stage to open tonight's festivities. Daughtry, as many of you will undoubtedly know, is fronted by Chris Daughtry, who reached the finals in American Idol Season 5 before forming a pop rock / post-grunge band. The band specializes in the kind of predictable, safe mainstream pop rock that's designed for the girls and the fans of the radio, not for music enthusiasts actually serious about listening to music. Alas, the crowd, which averages around 30 years old based on a quick empirical judgement, is eager to clap along on request, and even learn the lyrics to a song that Daughtry spends a few moments teaching to everyone present. Unfortunately, the band are getting the worst out of the Falconer Salen's sound system, meaning an echoing, hollow sound with no power behind it whatsoever, so whenever the band engages in their sappy, generic pop rock ballads, they sound like every other pop rock band out there: completely safe, without any rock'n'roll danger, and basically the dead-on average type of band even for pop rock. They are a boring and unchallenging listen, because their songwriting has basically consisted of going where the fence is the lowest, so naturally they are also fairly catchy, but without any identity whatsoever.

Daughtry

Combined with a rehearsed performance that looks almost scripted most of the time, there's nothing about Daughtry that suggests any of you reading this should care about them. Sure, he does spend a surprising amount of time at the barrier, which is unexpected for a show as mainstream as this, so he receives some extra credit for that, but as a whole, well, Daughtry are the kind of background music you shouldn't really pay that much attention to. Only the last song, which features a heavier sound that's leaning more on grunge rock complete with solos and even some screaming, awakens my interest which has long ago drifted towards checking my watch on how many minutes more they could possibly play, even if their set isn't terrible per se.

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Nickelback

Nickelback, on the other hand, are immediately more powerful and rock'n'roll as they open with "This Means War", a hard-hitting grunge song with heavy riffs straight off the bat. They have a great stage dynamic where everyone's moving around the stage, exchanging positions at will. It would be all too easy just to stand still nailed to the ground like Hoobastank do, for instance, but Nickelback make an actual effort into making their performance an entertaining show even if they lack in song depth. And once we enter "Silver Side Up" material with "Never Again", the crowd starts moving as well and we're in for a big show just as you'd expect from a band that's been at the height of mainstream popularity for the better part of the last ten years.

Chad Kroeger of Nickelback

But what really makes the Nickelback show stand out from mediocrity is the band's rowdy and slightly cocky attitude on stage. Yes, they are obvious rock stars so they can do what they please, yet vocalist Chad Kroeger has no issue interacting with the front rows of the show and joking around with individual crowd members despite standing in front of an audience several thousand people strong. For example, he spots someone with an iPad in the front row (who the fuck brings an iPad to a rock concert, let alone to the FRONT ROW?), and roars "you better not be playing Angry Birds on that because then I'll be pissed.... Angry Birds is like crack, man, you can never stop". This kind of conversation between individuals is more like the rule of thumb than the exception tonight, which gives the band a nice down-to-earth vibe, which is in stark contrast to when they actually play their big songs like "Photograph", which receive such thunderous sing alongs that it's hard to imagine that the band aren't completely disconnected with singular entities when facing this type of scenarios night in night out.

Nickelback

But the remarks continue throughout the night. When faced with high-pitched female screams from the right side of the venue just before a start of a ballad, he simply eggs them on with a cheeky "ladiessss!" shout before starting the song. And towards the end, the band asks "who wants some BEER"? and literally start launching half-full pints in their dozens with baseball-like pitches in every direction of the crowd alongside some Nickelback merch. I guess it's fitting that they've just played one of their sing-along songs "Rockstar" just before. But despite this, the guitarists spend time down at the barrier, run around the stage, and generally display good energy and showmanship on stage. Coupled with a crazy light show that layers various colours on top of the crowd, you should get a feeling that this is a pretty good show even if you don't like the band.

Nickelback

That being said, in between all the hits we do experience the same stuff as on record: filler songs that people either don't know very well or just don't care about that much. The drum solo is symptomatic of that, being the most technically average and boring drum solo I've experienced, certainly a far cry from the likes of Joey Jordison (Slipknot) or Jose Pasillas II (Incubus) that I've witnessed in the past. So once we approach the obvious pre-encore song "How I Remind You", I'm thinking that this is a decent show, but in reality, the songs, no matter how catchy they are, just aren't interesting enough to keep me entertained for a full one hour and thirty minutes that the set lasts.

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Setlist:

  • 1. This Means War
  • 2. Something in Your Mouth
  • 3. Never Again
  • 4. Photograph
  • 5. Far Away
  • 6. Too Bad
  • 7. Animals
  • 8. Trying Not to Love You
  • 9. Rockstar
  • 10. Someday
  • 11. Lullaby
  • 12. When We Stand Together
  • --Drum Solo--
  • 13. Figured You Out
  • 14. How You Remind Me
  • --encore--
  • 15. Burn It To The Ground

Photos by: Lykke Nielsen

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