Hinder and Three Days Grace | 08.17.13

Hinder 75Just because one “new guy” steals the heart of the crowd doesn’t mean the other will.

Three-Days-Grace 500

Pepsi Grandstand, Sedalia, Mo.

It was the second to last night of the Missouri State Fair, but the sweet smell of funnel cakes and savory aroma of turkey lakes wafting over the fairgrounds continued to draw attendees of all ages, and, I must add, by the hundreds. On this evening, though, it wasn’t merely the promise of carnival food, rides, and animals that drew the masses—it was the guarantee that at 7:30 p.m. Hinder and Three Days Grace would perform, the last performers of a concert series that included country’s Gary Allen, Lee Brice, and Toby Keith (among others) with the added variety of performers like The Oak Ridge Boys and Chubby Checker.

When Hinder took to the stage, not a minute behind schedule, the venue was hardly filled, but the crowd was quickly energized by appropriate opener “Up All Night.” I’m always curious to see how many songs bands choose to play before speaking to the audience—the sooner the better for me—and I was thrilled when drummer Mike Rodden rounded his drum set and took center stage after only the second song! Rodden informed the audience of the predicament the band had been left in when lead singer Austin Winkler announced in early July that he would be leaving the tour early for personal reasons. Rather than leave the tour and disappoint fans, he explained that the remaining members turned to friends for help, and he proceeded to introduce the man who had led the first two songs, Saving Abel’s Jared Weeks. I was already disappointed that Three Days Grace’s former lead singer, Adam Gontier, wasn’t going to perform, so initially I felt relatively cheated by this announcement. Except, there was no way I could keep up that front because it didn’t take but another couple of songs and anecdotal, nostaligic stories from Weeks before I realized what a truly great replacement and showman he was.

Songs that followed included Saving Abel’s “The Sex is Good,” (a performance that saw a pair of pink undies thrown to the stage); and Hinder’s “Should’ve Known Better,” “Talk to Me,” and, of course, their most well-known track “Lips of an Angel.” The latter was the song I’d been waiting to hear all evening, but I was actually even more excited when Weeks announced that one of his favorite genres of music was the 90s and proceeded to play Tonic’s “If You Could Only See the Way,” and a few songs later played Saving Abel’s steamy “Addicted.” They closed the show with “All American Nightmare,” “Better Than Me,” and “Get Stoned,” a closer as fitting as the opener whether you’re into that sort of thing or not! (Personally, I’m not, but the people sitting near us definitely were, which was incredibly unfortunate to my boyfriend and I and our burning noses and throats).

This brings me to one of two complaints I have about this night—the environment. I have this belief that if you are going to a concert it’s always worth paying more for the seats because inevitably you’re paying for your level of enjoyment in most cases. Well, due to a lack of money, I broke my own rule on this one, and we paid for it in uncomfortable bleacher seats where people did more lounging, smoking, and talking than singing along with the show. It was that area where you feel awkward standing up and singing along, merely because you’d be the only one.

Anyway, Three Days Grace was the band we’d drove three hours for, and my boyfriend and I were pumped! The stage looked menacing; the back half, drum set included, was enclosed by a chain-link fence, with toxic waste bins placed before it. There was also a sign, Welcome to Las Vegas, Mo. During the break between bands, the venue had become packed and the band came onstage to an overwhelming applause and screams from the crowd Hinder had helped prepare. The group got off to a great start, playing a set of their most well-known songs, including “Chalk Outline,” “Just Like You,” “Pain,” “The High Road,” and “Home.” But, eventually, they were several songs in and new lead singer Matt Walst, brother of Three Days Grace bass guitarist and backing vocalist Brad Walst, hadn’t said more than a few words to the audience…and the anticipation of when he actually would was really starting to get to me!

Jared Weeks could not have been more comfortable on stage as the “new guy” in Hinder, but M. Walst was like the awkward new kid who loved to continually show off his (seemingly) only trick, which for him was doing this backwards jump and flip thing off a block that honestly wasn’t even very tall. It’s really only cool the first time, M. Walst. When he did speak, he basically indicated that no one could ever keep the group down, which begged the question, who was trying to? The other thing about their performance that got old really quick was the blackout on stage between every song. It hurt the show’s continuity in my eyes. There was a very long drum and keyboard solo in the midst of other popular songs like their claim to fame, “I Hate Everything About You,” and “World So Cold,” and “Animal I Have Become.” They concluded with “Never Too Late” and “Riot,” but even that was anticlimactic.

What have I taken away from this? 1) You’re far more likely to be a bit crabby and quick to judge when you’ve spent several hours in the car, walked around a hot fair, and are sitting on agonizing bleachers all before the concert has even started, 2) sometimes the “new guy” pulls it off better than the original, so give him a chance, but 3) just because one “new guy” steals the heart of the crowd doesn’t mean the other will and you may be just as well to enjoy the original from home…though a weekend away from home was more than worth it! | Megan Washausen

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