A night of fist pumping chorus chanting, combined with seats speckled with the occasional attendee made for a sub par night. A purely Canadian bill offered up IllScarlet (Mississauga, Ontario) with Default (Langley, BC) and headliners Three Days Grace (Norwood, Ontario) on this rainy Tuesday evening. Both the opening bands rocked the roof of GM Place, but Three Days Grace was lacking in enthusiasm. Some saving grace moments throughout their performance did shine through but overall it was lacking in anything identifiable as amazing. It was like seeing a concert and wondering when the headliners were going to come out and blow you away.
Sinking into the seat during the Default performance it wasn’t hard to see why this band was as talked about as it was. Dallas Smith, lead singer, was intense and powerful. His voice had a certain effortlessness to it, and shrouded every note in an almost subtle vulnerability. Smith, powered out the groups well known songs such as Wasting my Time and Deny, with precision and perfection. Dave Benedict leapt around the stage like a man possessed, whipping his bass around like it was apart of him. His dreads danced around in the air like so many striking cobras. Jeremy Hydra had explosive hands as they jumped around on his guitar with speed and dexterity. Danny Craig, the backbone of the beat, rocked it hard, and brought a contagious rhythm to the crowd. Their performance was amazing, energetic and full of life.
During one point in Defaults act, the music stopped and a track of “It’s Raining Men” began to permeate the arena. Three underwear clad men jumped on stage and began dry humping the band members. Each assailant was sporting a long goofy wig, and one of them even had a big parasol. After they vacated the stage, Dallas of Default advised – “If you ever wondered what Three Days Grace is like backstage, well there you go.” An interesting final-day-of-the-tour kind of joke among traveling companions no doubt.
Throughout the intermission, the flocks of floor dwelling moshers amassed on the concrete below. Looking around it was obvious that GM Place was an overzealous booking by the management. The entire arena was scarcely populated with concert goers, a sad site for a relatively new band.
The lights dropped, and the flickering flames of cannabis culture permeated the venue. Adam Gontier lead his troupe to the stage and presented themselves before the small crowd. Over the house PA God’s Gonna Cut Down by Johnny Cash filled the stadium as large red emergency lights spun on stage. Three Days Grace stepped into their set, and it seemed exciting at first. The crowd was enthusiastic and bounced around to the dark rhythm. By the end of the first song it was obvious there was already a problem with Adams headset. He started fading out from the vocal track and started pointing angrily at his headset. Within the first 5 minutes he already has the mic pointed at the crowd trying to entice them into a sing a long.
By the time the first 5 songs were over he had done this another 4 times. Not even KISS relies on its fans this much during a performance. The technical issue took the crowds enthusiasm out of the show almost instantly. Soon enough the only memorable moments to each song were the repetitive fist pumping, and anthematic crowd regurgitation of chorus chanting. For nearly half the show this was the only moment during any song where the concert goers of the night seemed to connect at all. That was until the giant after burners on the stage started shooting 40 foot fireballs in to the air. The faces of the audience lit up like a child at Christmas.
The rest of the show played out, with minimal excitement. It was as if the band gave up and was not willing to fight to take this bull by the horns. They did not know how to use the space around them, they played the show as if it was club gig. I was unimpressed with the evening, the dreadful performance of the main act even took away from the openers. All in all I left feeling unsatisfied, like I just ate a veggie burger, sure its a burger but its not what you really wanted. Still this band does have a great sound and can come back from this, they just need to work on their stage presence. use the entire stage, make the people excited by being exciting. Its monkey see, monkey do, and these monkeys weren’t doing.
Photographs by Cory Lam