Shinedown at The Commodore

Photos by Aretha Munro

On Tuesday afternoon I received a call from Ron asking if I could review a show that night at The Commodore. With my evening free and an incapability to say no to new music I gave my photographer Aretha a call and headed downtown, not knowing what to expect. Now I like to think that I am open to all genres of music, and fairly well-versed in most of them, but that evening I realized I have a lot to explore – something that will hopefully never change. Headlining the show was the hard rock, alt-metal band Shinedown hailing from Jacksonville, Florida. Opening for Shinedown was Vancouver-based rock ensemble Incura. With the exception of Metallica’s Black Album and my guilty pleasure that is My Chemical Romance, I don’t often immerse myself in the metal side of rock music. As such, I’m afraid I couldn’t give a proper review of Incura and Shinedown’s musical merit, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try. What I want to talk about most, however, was their showmanship, and the way the crowd responded to their performance…and was it a performance.

Taking the stage just shy of 9 pm, Incura was a definite crowd-pleaser. With enough energy to get the majority of the crowd rocking out, impressive for an opening band, the group hit high points with their song “Paper Faces” and radio single “The Greatest Con.” Frontman of the five-piece ensemble, Kyle Gruninger, showcased an impressive vocal range and great on-stage antics, mentioning that the group used to frequent the stage at Pub 340 soon after their 2005 formation. With their new album, “The Lost E.P.” dropping that night, Incura put on a great show and proved to be a great local band with a promising future.

ShinedownShinedown finally took the stage just before 10 and opened with a bang that almost knocked me off my feet (standing right beside the speakers probably didn’t help). With a diverse range of fans The Commodore was packed, and buzzing with energy and anticipation for the groups Vancouver-debut. Like any classic rock gig there was smoke, lights, a big bass line accompanied by a whole lot of screaming fans. During the slower tune “45”, it was refreshing to see actual lighters rise from the crowd rather than today’s standard of lit-up cell phones. I was surprised by the largely predominant metal in their sound, as the group proved to be hard rockers from the start.

High points of the performance included Shinedown’s tune “Hero,” which fans went crazy for, in addition to when Machine Head’s lead guitarist Phil Demmel joined the band on stage for a song. Demmel pulled in great energy from both the crowd and the band, as he and Shinedown lead guitarist Zach Myers played off each other and made for a great musical moment. Overall, Shinedown put on a great rock show that elicited a very positive response from the packed house that night. Although I will admit that their genre is not my regular taste, I was still impressed. Their performance was consistent, energy-filled, and a definite crowd-pleaser, and if they didn’t have enough Vancouver fans, they will now.

Some quotes from lead vocalist Brent Smith

“The higher my hand goes up, the louder you scream, the harder we play!”
“I want everyone to say hi to their neighbour.”
“We’re going to make you re-think how you look at yourselves!”