Three Days Grace, Nothing More and Bad Wolves crashed Lethbridge last night December 11, 2018 as part of ‘The Outsider’ tour at the Enmax Centre. Here is my review:
Three Days Grace guitarist Barry Stock looked down upon me as I was taking his photograph during his band’s headlining set in Lethbridge Alberta last night, smiled at me, then proceeded to flick his guitar pick into the air, only for it to ping directly off my head and eventually find its way into my pocket. Later that evening during his band’s mellow section of their set, Stock sang live for the first time ever and did a cover of ZZ Top’s ‘Cheap Sunglasses’ and it was around that point in the show where I realised that Three Days Grace is here to have FUN. There was even a good five minutes spent on drummer Neil Sanderson harassing lead singer Matt Walst for buying piece of shit Dollar Store lighters over the recommended Bic. For some reason they almost kicked into an improv version of Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’ during this banter and it was kinda perfect.
The headliners played a wealth of material from their latest record ‘The Outsider’ but as always in Lethbridge, the people were bloodthirsty for the oldschool shit, even cheering for song titles way in advance of when they finally were performed. I would consider myself a casual listener of Three Days Grace, as I was never really a huge fan, but I was always aware of my fellow Canadians’ radio hits, which sounded very impressive in concert. Walst getting the crowd to divide and chant “I” and “Hate” before kicking into “I Hate Everything About You” was probably the loudest point of the night and a moment I’ll remember for a long time to come. The Enmax Centre was PACKED with fans for a half-bowl and there were a lot of people who knew their lyrics.
But – it was the openers of the evening that stole the show for me personally as Bad Wolves delivered such a high-octane and vicious opening set that I don’t think anyone in the building was prepared to be moving that quick so early on. People looked legit shocked as frontman Tommy Vext barrelled around the stage like a UFC fighter training to KO every motherf***er in sight. Bad Wolves are the new Five Finger Death Punch and easily the most impressive new metal band of 2018 because of their ability to get onto mainstream radio while still laying waste to crowds with their monstrous metal breakdowns. Their circle-pit inducing rendition of ‘Better The Devil’ was the highlight of their set (yes just edging out that beautiful cover of ‘Zombie’) because it was just so damn nasty. Bad Wolves are better live than they are on the record and that debut album is pretty damn tasty. I didn’t think there was a point to staying for the rest of the show when they wrapped up. But I’m glad I did.
Nothing More have the energy of vintage Stooges with the electronic ambition of Awolnation, delivering what could very well be my favorite live set of 2018. I literally had to pick my jaw up off the floor during their performance of ‘Don’t Stop’ from their latest record ‘The Stories We Tell Ourselves’. Lead singer Jonny Hawkins abandoned his shirt, shoes and socks so he could hypnotise the Lethbridge audience with one of the most impressive vocal performances I’ve ever seen at a live show. There’s a legit reason why Nothing More have been nominated for Grammys – this band is doing something truly special, new and original. Their album may be great, but their live show is remarkable.
At one point during their set, Nothing More strapped a guitar to some sort of raised platform device where each of the bandmates all started playing the instrument at the same time like it was some Mad Max electronic Cello from Hell. It was the most bizarre and impressive imagery I’ve seen in a concert since Tommy Lee’s upside-down drumkit coaster. Hawkins is a madman and I can’t help but feel like Nothing More stole the entire show last night with a perfect live set that made me a fan for life. I didn’t know what to expect going into their set, but my dear lord… Pure progressive rock and roll evolution in its most glorious form. It was that great. **Note – I was unable to take live shots of Bad Wolves and Nothing More last night, which is a shame, because they were both fantastic**