Carnival of Madness

    icon Aug 12, 2010
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With hundreds of festivals popping up in the summer every year, music fans get a chance to see a number of new bands that they may have never thought possible.  You have your usuals, like Ozzfest, Warped Tour, and Lollapalooza but every year new ones pop up as well.  This year was the introduction of the Carnival of Madness.  Created and headlined by rock quartet Shinedown this show proves that radio rock can draw a huge crowd!  Touting the tour as being an event rather than a show all 5 bands on the bill brought their own unique brand of rock to DTE Energy Music Theater on August 7th.

Kicking off the show was 10 Years.  They played all of their radio hits like Wasteland and a song off their forthcoming album called Shoot it out.  Singer Jesse Hasek displayed a powerful voice and great showmanship getting a bit of a small crowd fired up for the nights acts. 

After 10 years came seminal metal veterans Sevendust. Based out of Atlanta Georgia they definitely brought a bit of southern charm to DTE.  Doing songs from all over their 9 album catalog, one thing was certain, Sevendust has arrived!  Singer Lajon Witherspoonspoke of how you either love Sevendust or hate them, there is no halfway, on this night I’m betting they scored tons of new fans.  With 100% raw energy the band ripped through old classics like Praise and Face to Face while slowing things down and paying tribute to a fallen friend with Angel’s Son.   The one thing you can be sure of at a Sevendust show, there is no half-way with them either.  They give 100% at every show.  DTE fans were witnesses to this, bouncing all over the stage and throwing numerous drumsticks into the crowd it was obvious that this band truly appreciates their fans.  A sentiment that was echoed many times throughout the night.

If Sevendust energized the crowd the band Puddle of Mudddid nothing but crank up the volume.  Obviously a crowd favorite the band ripped right into their first single Control and never looked back. Singer Wes Scantlin displayed the charisma that has kept his band at the top of the radio charts throughout the years, with songs like blurry, Psycho and even a cover of AC/DC’s TNT.  While this was a definite low point of the show for me the crowd seemed to eat it up.  By the time Puddle of Mudd hit the stage the crowd had filled in rather nicely and you could year thousands yelling “I’m dynamite back to the front man.” They called a bunch of kids up on stage for their closing song She Hates Me. I’m not so sure I would want my child yelling the f-word in public but then again that’s rock and roll!

Providing direct support to the nights headliners was Chicago act Chevelle.  Led by the guitar playing vocalist Pete Loeffler, they definitely had the crowd on their feet.  While I found their show to be a little flat compared to the high energy acts before they did deliver on a great sounding performance. Pretty much chained to a microphone because he pulls double duty as the bands singer/guitarist Loeffler didn’t seem to deliver the same oomph that the opening acts did.  What the band did deliver was a tight rhythm section and solid performance throughout their catalog.  Send the pain below, Jars, The Red, were all there as well as Vitamin R.  While a few people I spoke with believe Puddle of Mudd should have had their slot, Chevelle put on a solid rock show and did exactly what the headliners wanted, they fired up the crowd for what would be a great journey through music.

Headlining the show was Shinedown.  These boys bring their own version of Rock and Roll love to the stage every time they grace it. Singer Brent Smith is extremely eloquent in speaking to the crowd. Telling the fans that they are the reason we are here.  While his eloquence is displayed when he speaks when he sings it’s a whole different story.  Boasting one of the most powerful voices in rock Smith does not shy away from hitting long sustained high notes even live.  As a person who has seen the band numerous times I was expecting to hear Smiths vocal gymnastics flip through their catalog.  As a loyal concert goer I was definitely not disappointed.  Opening up with the title track off their current album Sound of Madness you got a good vibe right off the bat as to what the night would bring.  A song very full of energy, the chorus boasts I created the sound of Madness, Wrote the book on pain and I am still here to explain.  The bands 17 song set did a wonderful job of explaining exactly who the band is.  From the hard rocking songs like Devour, Cyanide Sweet Tooth Suicide and Save Me the band proved they can hang with their heavier counterparts.  If it was something slow and melodic you wanted then there was the Crow and the Butterfly, 45 or if you only knew. 

If the above don’t impress you then how about a song from the Expendables movie?  Yep that was there too.  Smith talked about getting a call from “Rocky and Rambo himself” and being asked to provide a track for the movie. The Song Diamond Eyes is that track and that was played as well.  Just when you thought you couldn’t handle anymore surprises the band tears into the song Son of Sam which was a bonus track on the limited release of Sound of Madness.  This ended the bands set on a high note. 

The encore provided the missing elements.  After telling the crowd that it was drummer Barry Kerch’s birthday and all 10,000 in attendance serenading him, the singer and guitarist dove into a beautiful acoustic version of Lynyrd Skynyrds Simple Man.  This is the song that launched the band into rock stardom and the acoustic version blends guitarist Zach Myers riffs and Smith vocals beautifully.  It was during this song that you got a sense of how much the band loves each other and what they do.  In a day where band members ride in different tour busses and are rarely seen together this was a refreshing sight. Not a band to rest, the bass player and drummer quickly returned to their respective instruments and continued on the encore with Fly from the Inside off of 2003’s Leave a Whisper and ended with their most successful single Second Chance.  The song which topped out at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 drew the voices of the crowd and showed why Smith and Shinedown are here to stay.  With a catchy hook and amazing vocal melodies this song shows just why the Carnival of Madness was a sold out show.    

Smith exclaimed that they are hoping to make this a yearly event.  If attendance in all cities was like it was in Detroit , this will be easy to do.  With a line-up of 5 of radios top rock bands, there’s something for everybody.  While I felt the Carnival atmosphere was a bit lacking around the venue, the music definitely created a fun family oriented vibe similar to that of a Carnival.  That being said I look forward to next years Carnival and what Masters of Ceremony Shinedown will bring under the big top.

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