On Sunday, July 14th, hard rockers Shinedown, Badflower, Dinosaur Pile-Up, and Broken Hands came together for an electric evening of rock music at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Chicago. Each band brought something unique to the bill while meshing together extremely well. Check out our review and photo gallery below.
The evening began with the first of two English rock bands on the bill with Broken Hands. The quintet from across the pond brought their heavy, riffing sound to the Tinley Park stage to get the crowd warmed up for the rest of the evening. Vocalist Dale Norton waltzed from each side of the stage to the other as they whipped through a six song set consisting of material from their first major label debut album, ‘Split In Two’. The album doesn’t drop until August 9th, but the singer was cool enough to throw out a copy of the album to a lucky member in the audience. The band closed the set with their freshly debuted track “Wrong Track” as the crowd began to fill in for the evening.
After Broken Hands, one of our favorite bands here at Metal Nexus, Dinosaur Pile-Up, took the stage to round out the British bands for the night. Dinosaur Pile-Up has been on our radar since playing Louder Than Life in 2016 when they showed off their dynamic garage/alternative rock sound that was blistered with energy during their life performance. “11:11” was a huge hit to kickstart their career in the states and they have grown quickly since then. Vocalist and guitarist Matt Bigland and bassist Jim Cratchley entered the stage each with a beer in their hand before ripping into “Arizona Waiting”, from their 2013 album ‘Nature Nature’. Aside from that and “11:11”, the set was primarily material from the trio’s new album, ‘Celebrity Mansions’. Through a set filled with headbanging and slamming English riffs, Dinosaur Pile-Up delivered exactly what was expected from us, a great, energetic set that continued to raise the bar for the night.
Rising quickly in the ranks of mainstream rock radio, Badflower has already made their way to the direct support slot for Shinedown. This is extremely impressive when you really put it into perspective. They’ve only just put out their debut album and they’re already almost at the top of the genre. They also just announced their first large headlining tour in the United States. Badflower has always been known for putting everything they have into their live performances, and their show at Chicago was no exception. Firing on all cylinders, the California quartet decimated the crowd with “x ANA x”, one of their heaviest songs to date. It’s a great crowd pleaser and really set the tone for the rest of their set. Vocalist/Guitarist Josh Katz glided across the stage on his back while strumming through the end of the song. The drive and emotion that pours out of these guys during their shows is amazing to witness. The band made sure to play all of their more popular songs throughout the set like the recent single “Promise Me”, “The Jester”, and “Heroin”. They saved their biggest songs for last as Josh hopped into the crowd and surfed across everyone in the pit during “Animal”. While he was out in the crowd, guitarist of Shinedown, Zach Myers, was kind enough to step in for guitar duties while Josh explored the crowd. After that, he made his way back to the stage to close out the evening with their most popular song to date, “Ghost”. The band puts on an electrifying, memorable set that will build a fan base for a lifetime. I highly recommend getting out to see these guys on their fall tour with Weathers and Dead Poet Society.
Over the last few years, Shinedown has grown to be one of the biggest bands in rock music today. Headlining several music festivals in the US, the band has solidified themselves as strong performers and crowd-pleasers. Their stage production has grown immensely since the last time I saw them in 2016. With fireworks, pyrotechnics, and large screens, the band delivers a live spectacle that is now bigger than just their music. The band kicked off their set with a curtain drop and sent the crowd into a frenzy with “Devil”, one of three singles from their 2018 album ‘ATTENTION ATTENTION’. Fitting the theme of their new album, the band also had screens in the shape of exclamation marks on the stage behind them. Along with the pyro and curtain drop, this made for quite the introduction. As expected, the band fully delivered the “boom” for “Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)”. After finishing that song, vocalist Brent Smith encouraged all of us in the crowd to shake hands with one another to get to know our seat neighbors. He followed suit with this as well by shaking hands with all of the photographers in the pit. At a Shinedown show, the band makes it a priority to make the crowd feel like a big family. Once we all got familiar with each other, the band gave us a throwback track to ‘Amaryllis’ with “Enemies”. The band then played their current hit on the radio right now, “Monsters”. The crowd roared with applause as they executed it to perfection. Whether you like their music or not, you can’t deny how close Shinedown sounds to their records when performing live.
After playing a few more songs on the main stage, the band made their way out to the crowd, each playing in different quadrants under the pavilion. They played four songs out in the crowd, including “Amaryllis”, “Second Chance”, and even “Save Me” for the old school Shinedown fans that are still supporting the band to this day. Once they made their way back to the stage, they began to bring the night to a close with their world famous cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s “Simple Man”. They brought the dynamic energy (along with some sick laser lights) back into the venue with “Cut The Cord”. Everyone in the venue made sure to hold up their lighters for “Get Up”. The atmosphere was nothing short of incredible, almost breath-taking with the calm piano and Brent‘s powerful voice. To close off the evening, Shinedown sent everyone home happy by giving them the “Sound of Madness” followed by “Brilliant” from their new album. “Brilliant” was kind of strange for a closer but they made it work in a way that only Shinedown could.
Everyone should’ve went home happy with an incredible performance from an artist they know and love while also discovering some new rock music as well. With three newcomers in the rock scene and an established headlining act, this was a tour that couldn’t be missed. Check out these bands the next time they’re out on the road near you. Be sure to check out our photo gallery below. Follow us on Facebook for more coverage of all things rock and metal.