Finger Eleven, Theory of a Deadman, Pop Evil and Three Days Grace prove rock is alive and well

Anytime a band loses such as crucial and pivotal member like their lead singer it casts doubt on the bands future. That’s exactly where the members of Three Days Grace found themselves in 2013 when original vocalist Adam Gontier quit the band and went on to start Saint Asonia with guitarist Mike Mushok of Staind.

Rather than sitting around feeling sorry for themselves, the rest of the band regrouped, brought on bass player Brad Walst’s brother Matt Walst from My Darkest Days as their new singer and set about recording their newest album- Human, essentially coming back stronger than ever.

The band is currently out on the road in support of Human with fellow rockers Theory Of A Deadman, Finger Eleven and Pop Evil serving as openers. If the tour hits your town, don’t miss your chance to see one of modern rocks best bands live and in the flesh.

When the tour hit Pittsburgh’s premiere concert venue Stage AE on a hot rainy night in July, Michigan rockers Pop Evil kicked the evening into high gear, with a pulverizing set of melodic hard rock that brought fans to their feet.

The band was in rare form as they pounded out Pop Evil classics like “Boss’s Daughter,” “Last Man Standing,” “Torn to Pieces,” “Deal With The Devil” and “Trenches” as well as a new track from the band’s forthcoming album- Up called “Footsteps,” much to the delight of their dedicated fans.

From there, melodic Canadian alt rockers Finger Eleven took things to the next level. Their powerhouse set saw guitarists James Black and Rick Jackett spastically thrashing about the stage like seizer patients off their meds as lead vocalist Scott Anderson belted out song after song so hard that the veins in his neck violently bulged out.

Let’s not forget the stunning rhythm section of bassist Sean Anderson and new drummer Chris Powell who kept things in perfect time, much like a precision Swiss time piece, throughout  the band’s intense high energy set, which included new songs like “Five Crooked Lines,” “Gods Of Speed,” “Blackout Song” and lead single “Wolves And Doors,” alongside classics like the mega heavy “Above,” the radio smash “One Thing” and their mega hit “Paralyzer,” which closed their show and included a snippet of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall” that caused fans to lose their minds.

Up next was fellow Canadian rockers Theory Of A Deadman, who somehow managed to raise the bar just a little higher, when it had already been set so high, with a superb set of melodic hard rock songs that have dominated satellite and rock radio for almost fifteen years strong.

The band relentlessly battered the crowd with hit after hit, as tracks like “So Happy,” “Low Life,” “Bitch Came Back,” “Santa Monica,” “Not Meant To Be,” “Hate My Life” and “Bad Girlfriend” pummeled the now rain soaked crowd into submission.

Fans were also treated to newer songs like “Savages,” “Blow,” “Drown” and “Angel,” as well as a cover of the Alice In Chains hit “Nutshell” that drove the audience into a frenzy and brought the house down.

The Canadian invasion of Pittsburgh continued with Norwood, Ontario natives Three Days Grace. Their jaw dropping set of show stopping anthems like “Just Like You,” “Chalk Outline,” “Pain,” “Break,” “Home,” “I Hate Everything About You,” “Never Too Late” and closer “Animal I Have Become” left no doubt as to who’s stage it was that night, or who it was everyone had come to see.

The band have adjusted to new vocalist Matt Walst with the greatest of ease, giving a flawless performance so strong, that you would have thought they had been jamming together all their lives, not just a little over two years. Not only is Walst a natural fit for the band, he is also a natural born frontman who held the crowd in the palm of his hand all night long.

It was quite clear that the fans had not just accepted Walst, but had also welcomed newer material like “I Am Machine,” “So What,” “Human Race,” “Painkiller” and “Fallen Angel” into the fold with open arms.

In fact, by the time their encore of “The Real You” and “Riot” ended, it was safe to say that everyone in attendance had all, but forgotten about old what’s his name and went home with the highest of hopes for the band’s future.

The tour finds every one of these amazing bands at the very top of their game and with four killer bands on one line-up you can go wrong and you certainly get your money’s worth.

-Eric Hunker

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