| September 23, 2010 | Comments (466)

The small gritty night club is the true litmus test for a rock band, and Three Days Grace passed the test with flying colors at The Machine Shop. Normally a subdued evening in Flint, Michigan, this past Sunday was definitely the exception with a hard rocking show for an ecstatic crowd.

The opening act was fellow Canadian Lukas Rossi with his band Stars Down. Rossi is best known for his success on the TV show Rock Star: Supernova. As the winner of the show, Rossi fronted a new band with Tommy Lee, Jason Newsted and Gilby Clark for a world tour. His honed and polished performance balanced with the right amount of sonic distortion was a great warm up for the main act.

For any critics who have disparaged Three Days Grace’s rock and roll prowess, this was the show they should have witnessed. Stripped to the bare essentials, with no special effects and no production to hide behind, Adam Gontier, Brad Walst, Neil Sanderson and Barry Stock laid it all out on stage. Beginning with the pounding intro to the first song,Bitter Taste, they roared through an hour and a half long set list of their many favorites.

With the longer stage time, they were able to run with a different set list than usual, requiring some double checking of the printed list. At one point, Gontier took his guitar off, paused, looked at the set list, and put the guitar right back on. Stock showed off his piercing technique during their hit song Break. They also dusted off a few songs that have been absent from their shows lately, Get Out Alive and the well known cover of Alice in Chains’ Rooster.

After the fantastic crowd singing in Home, Sanderson was able to display his musical genius in his outstanding drum solo. Much more than a dude banging on skins, Sanderson includes sampling of his keyboard skills with a variety of percussion sounds and superb syncopation to create a full sonic experience.

The rest of the band then returned to the stage and stormed into the so-called “love song” otherwise known as I Hate Everything About You. They followed this with their new single, World So Cold, a song that is even better live than on the recording. Rarely will you find fault with Howard Benson’s production, but this particular song would have been well served to display greater dynamics in the recording. Performed live, the simple transitions between intro, verses and choruses are heart-stopping, to great effect.

Gontier’s extraordinary vocal talent was on full display, despite the presence on stage of a cup of tea and Entertainer’s Secret throat spray. If he was nursing a hoarse throat, there was no evidence of it during the show. And there were plenty moments that could have exposed any vulnerability, including his solo performance of Rooster, the piano-driven ballad Last to Know and the opening of their cover of In the Air Tonight.

During the opening beats of Animal I Have Become, Gontier announced his intention to make it to the back of the room with the help of the crowd. As Walst’s deep bass line began, their brave lead singer started his assent. Much to the delight of the crowd, he walked on their hands while singing the body of the song, ducking under the lighting rig as he went. He made it back to the stage for the final chorus after convincing the audience to let him go.

They rounded out the night with the crowd favorite, Riot, a heavy power chord smashing chant-a-long and reluctantly left the stage to the sound of a still roaring crowd.

Three Days Grace’s album Life Starts Now was released a year ago, debuting at number three on the Billboard chart, the band’s highest charting album thus far, and spawned two number one singles, Break and The Good Life. They will be touring the US this fall with Nickelback’s Dark Horse Tour.


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