Canadian rockers Nickelback finally took to the Rockhal stage on Thursday night after their World Tour in which they were to stop off in Luxembourg was postponed last year.
One of the world’s most divisive bands, Nickelback have sold in excess of 50 million albums world wide but yet the slight mention of their name reduces peoples faces to look like they’ve just sucked a lemon. Their blend of soaring pop choruses and frat party rock was never off the airways during much of the 2000s leading to those people who initially enjoyed their music to join the bandwagon of ridicule as the bands overexposure and questionable lyrics meant they were an easy target for most.
Now with less exposure can they go about their work with less negative attention and still please their huge crowds?
First up however was fellow Canadian rockers Monster Truck, ok I’ll admit the name made me think they they were American but the band take plenty from the neighbours. Their southern blues rock is something that doesn’t get pushed much by music media in Europe and especially the UK as it’s treading old ground but their 70s rock groove ticked all the right boxes from the flamboyant guitarist striking a pose in the spot-light with no top on whilst he ripped into yet another solo, to the rasping vocals of the lead singer, they had the classic formula nailed. Only when they tried to throw in a few generic “whoa oh oh” choruses did they lose that edge. Although nothing new, you have to admire that they’ve stuck that 70s rock badge to your sleeve and just let loose.
Then time for Nickelback who came out blasting to “Edge of Revolution” with its industrial rock it had your ears ringing a fair bit, it was loud, very loud and surprisingly heavy too. Here was a band out to rock, they may be lampooned all over the internet but live is where they can get away from all that, although repeatedly asking the crowd to jump up and down and throw up the metal horn kind of devalues the essence of the gesture somewhat.
The frenetic start continued with “Animals” and “Something In Your Mouth” both with some cringingly bad lyrics but delivered with enough energy and verve, you try to let it pass but unfortunately the cringe lyrics rolled over into the chat between songs, talking about getting high and drinking plenty of beer like that slightly drunk uncle at a family party talking to the teenagers trying to sound cool.
After the energetic start it was time for the ballads with “Photograph” trying to evoke the nostalgic days gone by as old photos rolled across the screen. It did however get the crowd singing and swaying along, as did “Hero” and “Trying Not To Love You” which frontman Chad Kreoger announced was first performed live in Luxembourg many years ago.
Their finest moment of the night came during “Karaoke time” where they plucked three members from the audience and brought them up on stage to sing “Rockstar”, it was a real intimate moment between the band and their fans and of course must have been a moment of a lifetime for the three on stage, getting the chance to sing in front of thousands and feel like a rock star.
This took us to their breakthrough single “How You Remind Me” which filled the Rockhal like any good rock song should and even after all these years still produced the power and energy that thrust them into the eyes of the world. As much as their lyrics and stage chat make you cringe there is no denying they still have a fanbase and songs to fill arenas all over the globe and what makes one-man cringe makes another laugh and smile, so each to their own.
Rockhal – 29.09.16