Three Days Grace

Review: Three Days Grace – SWG3, Glasgow

Arriving at tonight’s venue SWG3 (Studio Warehouse Glasgow) punters are met by a queue so long that reports of two daytime TV presenters attempting to cut in line might not have been exaggerated. With a handful of UK and European tours from North American artists being called off due to logistical reasons and rising costs, it must have been a heartwarming moment for Canadian multi-platinum alt-rock band Three Days Grace to see their efforts (and no doubt considerable outlay) rewarded with a packed-out 1000+ capacity main room in this impressive multi-room facility. Likewise, it would have been as equally as heartwarming for the Three Days Grace community that the band had indeed made the effort to travel during such unpredictable times.

With the queue going down quite quickly, opening act 10 Years were greeted by a rapidly-filling room that seemed up for it from the off. And by the time the Nashville-based outfit brought their lengthy set to a conclusion, they had heaps of new fans seeking them out online for that all-important “like”. But, everyone was here for the main event, and this was very much the triumphant return of all-conquering heroes.

Production-wise, Three Days Grace are packing an impressive set-up. Drummer (and co-founder) Neil Sanderson is positioned up high on a raised platform with a row of revolving spotlights alongside him on either side. The backline is behind metal grills which give it an industrial feel – fitting considering that the interval music is all Rammstein – and leaves the stage clutter-free except for a few smaller raised platforms that are well-used throughout the night. When the intro music (House of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’) fades out, the lights rise and Sanderson is atop his platform and standing behind his stunning drumkit (complete with double kick-drum) as he looks down on the mass throng gathered below him and does what every good drummer is supposed to do: stoke the fire by working the crowd up. The revolving spotlights burst to life and the band crashes straight into set-opener ‘So Called Life’, and the crowd does indeed go wild.

Treating their fans with a setlist curated from the last twenty-five years, the band follow-up the newbie ‘So Called Life’ by going back a few years on ‘Animal I Have Become’, upon which vocalist Matt Walst instructs his brother (and bassist) Brad Walst to “release the beast…”, and the four-string wizard duly obliges on this bass-heavy number that whips up quite a pit. There’s someone in the pit with a raised umbrella, and they are instantly unpopular with those standing behind them, although, given how many actual old-school lighters are in action later on during ‘The High Road’, maybe the umbrella person was expecting the sprinklers to spring into action?

Two songs in and guitarist Barry Stock has already thrown out more picks than renowned thrower-of-picks Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen does in an entire set; so much so that Stock’s guitar tech deserves special mention for keeping them nicely topped up, Stock’s beard also gets a mention from Matt Walst as it is indeed a fine beard (“…give it up for Barry…in fact, give it up for Barry’s beard…”), but it’s his incendiary playing that sticks out the most – especially when he breaks out a gorgeous Gibson Explorer on the beef-filled ‘Pain’. 2018’s ‘The Mountain’ is another memorable moment (as is the short stripped-back set which sees Sanderson coming down from the mountain to sit behind a small keyboard front of stage) and has one of Matt Walst’s best vocal performances of the evening, the song which delivers the message of surviving what life throws at you on a daily basis clearly strikes a chord with the crowd as fists are pumping in the air, and necks are straining with some impressive headbanging action.

Highlight of the evening (and just narrowly pipping to the post a monstrous version of ‘I Hate Everything About You’) is when two young fans from the crowd join the band onstage and are handed microphones to provide backing vocals on the iconic ‘Just Like You’. Both seize the opportunity and make the most of their three minutes of fame, even being bold enough to use the raised platforms front of stage. And that’s perhaps the most admirable quality about Three Days Grace; that ability to seamlessly bridge the gap between audience and performer and create a special atmosphere. Tonight was the perfect example of a band making their audience feel like they all had an important part to play, both individually and collectively. A masterclass performance that for many could only be described as life-affirming.

All current and future Three Days Grace live dates can be found here.

Review – Dave

Photo credits – Dave Jamieson


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