With Manchester full of witches and ghouls celebrating All Hallows Eve at every turn, it felt like a perfect night for a rock show.
A couple of thousand rock fans congregated at the Academy to witness one of the best live bands we’ve seen in the last few years – Shinedown – on their completely sold out Attention! Attention! tour. This show apparently sold out in 51 minutes which wasn’t a surprise as they are more than capable of selling out a much bigger venue such as the Apollo easily enough.
Support acts Press to Meco and Starset both impressed in their own way. It was clear to see that Starset, with their unique extra celestial anthems, space suits and 2 cellists had their own devoted following lining the front row singing every word of every song.
It was as if they were playing a sold out show on the International Space Station rather than the Manchester Academy with their almost 30 Seconds to Mars soaring compositions. We’re still not 100% sure what we witnessed but it was enjoyable, epically cinematic and extremely unique.
Headliners Shinedown took to the stage with Zach Myers wearing a Michael Myers mask which given the date, was wholly appropriate if not a little eerie.
They opened with Devil from their latest album proving instantly why they are such a great live band. Full of energy, big riffs and crushing drums they are, had you never seen them, heavier than perhaps you’d expect, but they can also bring a lighter touch with bags of emotion to the table as they do on Bully and later in the set with a nod to Manchester via a cover of Oasis’ Don’t Look Back in Anger.
Brent Smith is a great frontman who makes sure everyone in the room is having a great time, even splitting the crowd down the middle and getting in and amongst them at one point. During State Of My Head he gets the crowd to create their own magic by holding phones and lighters in the air. It was an incredible sight, and one that when they make the inevitable move up to arenas, will be one of those hairs on the back of your neck moments.
A particular shout out should go to the sparky who had to set the stage up tonight with so many lasers Jean Michel Jarre would be green with envy. It was a big arena light show in a relatively small venue which all added to the spectacle and grandeur of the show, although at times it did look like Shinedown were trying to steal diamonds from a high security vault.
They had all the singalong choruses and air punching riffs you could want from a show, and with the aptly named Eric Bass doubling up on keys creating an incredible atmosphere this was a rock show with the emphasis on show. With a crowd made up of all ages and certainly some first timers there will be many that left as devoted fans, were they not to begin with.
Highlights of the set were littered throughout the night and with big tracks from the latest 4 of their 6 albums all given an outing the crowd were spoiled for choice. Kill Your Conscience and Sound of Madness both stood out for us, but the title of the closing song summed it all up for us. Brilliant.
For the full gallery from the show click here