November 6, 2016
Eventim Apollo, London
“We’re gonna take this old school for a minute”
Hammersmith’s Apollo has been spoiled for choice when it comes to modern rock lately. Hot on the heels of The Goo Goo Dolls were 3 Doors Down, who both ruled the American rock airwaves in the early 2000s. After all this time, The Goo Goo Dolls performed like it’s second nature; 3 Doors Down played like their lives depended on it.
High quality video art projected above the stage went largely unnoticed due to the dynamic and compelling way the band performed. There was minimal banter and no time to rest. 3 Doors Down hadn’t played the UK in years and they were back with a sense of urgency to make up for lost time.
Despite the full-throttle attack, singer Brad Arnold’s vocals weren’t strained . He’s certainly got pipes – in fact, a surprising vocal reach. He covered every inch of the stage, from the drum riser to the very edge, making the cavernous theatre seem much more intimate. At one point he grabbed a fan’s phone and filmed his journey without missing a beat.
3 Doors Down were always edgier than the pop-rock groups they were lumped together with – Nine Days, Marcy Playground and the like. As if to confirm it, they powered through favourites from their 2000 debut album, including noticeably heavier versions of title track The Better Life and Duck and Run.
Amongst the metal riffs and rock moves, there’s no mistaking the political note in the lyrics, that seem more relevant than ever 16 years later: “So you call this your free country/Tell me why it costs so much to live”
There were flourishes amongst the solid rock performance – a little Spanish guitar here, some military drumming there. These touches were all but drowned out by the deafening crowd reaction to Kryptonite and Here Without You – somehow even louder than the response to The Goo Goo Dolls’ mega-hit Iris weeks earlier at the same venue. The fans were elated, riding high on shoulders and hugging each other in glee.
The show proved that although 3 Doors Down have stepped out of the media spotlight they’ve never stopped, now operating under the radar but bringing thousands of fans with them, and still performing like they can’t live without it.
3 Doors Down’s sixth album, Us and The Night, is out now.
“Who’s ready to get rowdy?”
The choice of support band confirmed 3 Doors Down’s place on the heavier end of the modern rock spectrum. Pop Evil certainly had much more in common with The Deftones and Pantera than Train and Tonic.
Their set started with a fierce drum solo from new member Hayley Cramer and then the band built up to full strength to hammer through songs like Trenches and Torn to Pieces. They mixed melody and energy with their downtuning and distortion.
Their cigarette lighter love song was certainly above average. Singer Leigh Kakaty climbed into the crowd and encouraged a Michigan camp fire atmosphere, urging anyone who couldn’t join him on the ground to hold their phones and lighters high.
Although there was the odd cliché – a few too many “somebody scream!” and “put your fists in the sky” call outs – the set itself never strayed into cliché and they sure did warm the Sunday night crowd up well.
Pop Evil are just about to start a 3 month headline tour of the United States. Their 360 degree video of Take It All is certainly worth a look – check it out here.
The Fallen State are a young band with an 90s alt-rock sensibility and looks to match – all tattoos and dark denim, along the lines of Incubus.
They played the obligatory ballad but seemed much more comfortable with noise and rock moves, covering the stage with ease during rousing singalongs like Burn It To The Ground and The Chosen One.
The Fallen State’s new album, The View From Ruin, is out in early 2017. Look out for info here.
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