2013 was one hell of a year for Sick Puppies. Starting in May, they did the summer festival circuit performing in front of hundreds of thousands of people and then releasing their highly –anticipated fourth album, Connect, in July.
As soon as they released the record they continued to tour the U.S. in support with a multitude of other artists acting as support. Their most recent leg of the Connect tour saw them hit Fort Wayne, Ind.’s Piere’s with support from Devour the Day.
Opening the show was an un-advertised set from Chicago’s Love Hammers, who, unfortunately just didn’t seem to deliver.
Their set, though pouring with talent from the band, didn’t seem to get the crowd to a very active level, which was unfortunate because the band did everything possible to get the crowd amped.
Their stage presence needs a little work, though. Their frontman mimicked an orchestra conductor most of the set, moving his hands and arms in a manner as if he was conducting the audience and his stage moves just didn’t seem to captivate anyone.
The rest of the band seemed to just stand there and play their instruments without really doing much to engage the crowd outside of telling them to make more noise.
What was impressive, though, was their frontman’s dedication. He even stepped over the security barricade and stood above the crowd for some songs- I’ll give him that.
Next up on the evening were Devour the Day, who took things to a completely new level.
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Their stage presence was outstanding and one thing is for sure- they know how to work a crowd. With a bass player who was more animated than you’d ever expect, standing on amp stacks, jumping, head banging, coming out near the crowd and more, as well as a frontman who knows exactly what to say to a crowd to get them going, Devour the Day showed and proved exactly why they have as many fans as they do.
At long last, Sick Puppies, whom everyone had come to see, took the stage and did what they best- lay down some good, hard, Aussie rock and blew the roof off the place.
They kicked it off with”Die to Save You” from Connect and went straight into “Cancer,” a longtime fan favorite.
They took the stage with such authority and intensity it was hard to deny them anything- they knew what they wanted from the get-go and they took it.
Sick Puppies do something live that not many bands do when they’re three or four albums into their career and that’s playing songs from every album they’ve done, which fans were keen to pick up on.
“All The Same,” “Nothing Really Matters,” “My World,” and others were in the set from the first two albums and they also threw in “War,” “Maybe,” “Odd One,” “Riptide” and “You’re Going Down” from Tri Polar.
Since they’re promoting Connect, they obviously play a lot of material from that record too, a record that many critics weren’t big on but fans have taken to strongly and connected with on many levels- hence the name.
Frontman Shim Moore took it upon himself as the mainman of the band to get the crowd on an even higher-octane level than Devour the Day were able to do and he succeeded and surpassed it.
He told the fans to take a step forward and stop standing in the back with their arms crossed, to get as close to him as they can and to “Stop bitching out,” which the fans absolutely loved. He told them to put their arms in the air and then on the shoulders of the person in front of them and to start the biggest bounce pit ever, which everyone in the crowd proceeded to do.
After the bounce pit, he told the few people who still stood in the back, “F**k you, look how everyone else just had twice the fun you did? Get up here!” as he played with the fans and they gave it right back, roaring, cheering and yelling louder and singing at an even higher volume.
All three members were on their game and sounded better than they ever have. By the end of the night, the energy in the room was electric and unexplainable. There was no way they were going to let the crowd just stand around and their energy was contagious.
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To end the night, Moore body surfed into the crowd and back as bassist Emma Anzai and drummer Mark Goodwin threw drum sticks, guitar and bass picks and the set lists into the crowd before heading over to merch to sign autographs for everyone in the building.
Pre-show interview with Sick Puppies\’ Emma Anzai and Mark Goodwin