A trio of bands born in the '90s – and going strong – hit the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center stage on Wednesday night. Headlining Nickelback, Daughtry in the middle slot, and opener Shaman's Harvest played an explosive show to a mostly sold-out crowd.
That crowd, visibly pumped for the show and sporting Nickelback and Daughtry concert tees from various tours, came to party – and sing their tonsils out.
Some fans had young, second-generation fans in tow – some in much newer concert tees.
Dubbed post-grunge for its position following the raw and emergent poetics of the grunge movement that famously sprang from the Northwest, the genre is lyrically lighter fare. Songs by all three bands centered on the three L's of rock 'n' roll: love, loss and lasciviousness.
Nickelback, out on its "Feed the Machine Tour," came onstage performing the title track as blazing red, black and white graphics resembling the release's cover art seared retinas far and wide. Cyborg parts melted and marched across the three-story video screen behind the band.
It was all very The-Wall-Meets-Steampunk, with dystopian lyrics referencing "The gears forever turn to grind the mice."
After the song, lead singer/guitarist Chad Kroeger turned toward his video-projected self to exclaim, "I'm like three stories tall! Yeah, I look buff!"
The band would only perform the title track from the new release, revisiting tried-and-true material from 2001 forward. They would wrap the high-energy show with three mega-hits, including the still ubiquitous "How You Remind Me."
It was the first few notes of mega-hit "Photograph" that had the crowd bellowing. Just as in the song's video, the monitor showed a collage of captured zany band moments.
It was at this point in the show that Kroeger accepted a shot from an audience member celebrating a birthday, commenting that it was early in the night for alcohol to be making its way to the stage. Not only did he drink the shot, ostensibly, he sang to the celebrant in a very surprising baritone.
"When Daughtry is on," Kroeger said, "it's my gauge: 'Is tonight gonna be a good crowd?'" He expressed that the Darien Lake crowd was fairly off the charts during the opener's set and that he wondered rhetorically if everyone would be as into his set. He need not have worried.
Daughtry performed under an all-caps sign showing the band name lest anyone forget who was performing so charismatically below it. Its concise set also would light upon all of its releases. Daughtry promised that a new release is in the works before the band played "Backbone," its song about seeing the nonsense in all things social media.
Its cover of Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters," opened with a piano solo by Elvio Fernandes, later joined by Chris Daughtry, both under white hot spotlights, was the most gorgeous moment of the set.
The cover performed by Shaman's Harvest, Michael Jackson's "Dirty Diana," gave his hardest rocking a country-western treatment.
The band's newly crafted release "Red Hands Black Deeds" (its set opener and release of the same name) would veer, like each of the bands, from harder-edged rock to the outskirts of new country.
Nickelback with Daughtry
Wednesday night at Darien Lake PAC