The anthemic Jump Around by House of Pain seems the perfectly fitting interlude to convey the excitement the Three Days Grace fans must be feeling. The Canadian rockers have been missing from UK shores for the good half of a decade, having been unable to tour internationally due to the pandemic and the tight restrictions imposed.
Recently, the band marked the second stop of their long-awaited European tour and their second UK show.
Three Days Grace – Kentish Town Forum – 15 September 2022
Words: Dany Jones
Photography: Steve Ritchie
One couldn’t have asked for a more majestic opener, with singer Matt Walst daring London to ‘show him a fucking moshpit’ while introducing So Called Life, the single from Three Days Grace latest record.
Their new album Explosions delivers new-found darkness and grit addressed at the disconcerting socio-political situation we find ourselves in on a global scale. The poignant lyrics of the single carry infectious cathartic angst, worthy of comparison only to anthems of the likes of Limp Bizkit’s Break Stuff.
The tension is real, and the mood is perturbed, yet the tone of the live performance is one of happiness and of excitement all around.
The song gets immediately followed by the 3DG anthem Animal I Have Become, and this literally sees the entire house hit the roof while the supercharged frontman keeps inciting the crowds to jump even higher.
The show rolls on a flow from up-tempo to moody to reflective, and great examples are the despondent yet angsty Home or the sing-able Pain, where the chants rebound from every which way.
It remains hard to single out the stronger numbers in the set when this has been painstakingly orchestrated in a series of hits that get churned one after the other as a bulletproof sequence.
The vocals deliver added colour by utilising a dual mic set up of radio and clean wet tone, while the rhythm section provides a pattern of simple yet solid backing. The hooks are then added by the vocals and the catchy guitar riffs, and it all makes for a great combination.
This works extremely well, especially with songs like The Mountain, enabling the band to reproduce a sound almost as faithful as the very recording.
If one thought one couldn’t get any higher, the middle of the set explodes on the second single of the latest album, Neurotic and, of course, the one song that earned Matt Walst his rightful place in the band as the legitimate successor singer and frontman, following Adam Gontier’s departure.
As the first notes of Painkiller lift in the air, the singer goes, “so what I need you to do for me now, is start the biggest fucking moshpit” and, needless to say, all hell breaks loose.
“This is fucking awesome, after that Covid bs; look at this,” a transfixed Walst carries on.
Things wind down with a truly special acoustic moment, where the foursome line up at the front seated on chairs. Here drummer Neil Sanderson doubles on keyboards. The band execute a moving High Road, followed by a version of World So Cold, so mesmerising to send chills all over.
Could the singer make someone’s day? It certainly feels that way for the two volunteers who join the band on stage coaxed by a bemused Walst junior. He dares them to be brave enough to come sing the choruses of Just Like You alongside him.
A moment of fun indeed to connect with the fans while savouring a nice cold English beer, and certainly, a moment that will remain with the girls for the rest of their lives.
But Three Days Grace are all about meaning and depth, and this certainly shows when regrouping to perform Lifetime, a song about loss and about human condition. The track was dedicated to the people of Mayfield, Kentucky, who were victims of a devastating tornado. The band also personally donated part of their proceeds to the cause.
Changing the singer always raises the question of whether to perform the early back-catalogue and how it will be received. Matt Walst is no newbie to the band. He has fronted Three Days Grace since 2013 and has been responsible for part of the writing of the last three albums.
I Hate Everything About You will always be the song that put this band on the map, and it certainly remains the most welcome addition to the set. Flawlessly executed with, if anything, new-found energy, it truly goes down a storm, and the atmosphere is simply electrifying.
After a short break, the encore sees a sea of lights for the hopeful Never Too Late and then all bets are off with a blustering Riot as their closing number. Walst initiates a call and response on the word with the crowd. He then goes, “This is your last chance, I wanna fucking Riooooot.”
Three Days Grace have certainly generated a Riot. The band are in full form. They deliver without fail and never once lose momentum throughout.
In an interview to come, we caught up with bassist, co-founder of the band and Matt’s older brother Brad Walst, who said that the boys greatly missed life on the road and that they were incredibly thrilled to be able to play Europe again.
This was indeed a long time coming.