Three Days Grace Shines, Pop Evil Shows no Heart to End Summer in Clifton Park

Three Days Grace and Pop Evil took over Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park on a beautiful, end of summer day. Hundreds of area rock fans lined up outside the venue sharing their past experiences and opinions about various music subjects along with the usual Matt[Walst] vs Adam [Gontier] debate that every fan must express their vast opinions over.

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This show really looked good on the tour poster, but in the end fell flat and somewhat disappointing. There was nothing really memorable or notable about the show except the feeling that some who took the stage, were just going through the motions. Both Three Days Grace and Pop Evil are currently touring in support of new studio albums.

Pop Evil was set to hit the stage first. Upstate Concert Hall was packed wall to wall with fans ready to get the night started. Fans sang in unison to Bon Jovi’s “Living On A Prayer”, as it played over the house speakers while they waited for the band to take the stage.

Pop Evil hit the stage around 8pm for a forty-five minute opening set. Fans cheered louder and louder as each band member became barely visible on stage in the dark venue knowing the show was about to start.

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After a small pause, the band started things off with their hit single “Deal With The Devil,” from their third studio album Onyx.

It was clearly visible that frontman Leigh Kakaty was not into performing. The uninspired performance came off as bad karaoke as he butchered song after song. It was amazing that someone of his talent would put forth an effort like this to paying fans. His expressions and body language were as if he couldn’t wait to be doing something better. Kakaty was so off-key during the song “Last Man Standing,” you would think he was doing it on purpose. To Kakaty’s credit, he did perform the songs from their current and forth studio album Up, with a little more heart.

The rest of the band put in a very energetic set. Joshua “Chachi Riot” Marunde behind the drums is a show all of its own. Chachi is one of the most animated live drummers out there as he gestures to the lyrics. Bassist Matt DiRito is another one to watch onstage. DiRito loves to gyrate and play to the crowd as he sings along to the songs. Kakaty stated that this was their last show on the Three Days Grace cycle. The band then ended with their song “Trenches.”

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After a small break for stage hands to tear down, set up and test gear, Three Days Grace chants started throughout the building as the lights dimmed in the venue.

Three Days Grace one by one made their way onto the stage for the first song in the set “I Am Machine,” which is off their current and fifth studio album Human. Human is the first studio album recorded with current frontman Matt Walst.

Walst shows a lot of liveliness on stage but sometimes comes off as trying to be something he’s not to overcome the fact that he is not Adam Gontier. He does a great job singing all the 3DG hits and showed tons of heart, passion and emotion on stage. Matt showed signs that he is becoming more comfortable as frontman for 3DG since joining the band over two years ago. Walst changing his image from his time in My Darkest Days to mimic Gontier does not help fans forget the fact that they wish Adam was on stage singing, but that shortly went away once the music starts and Walst was embraced by fans

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Walst got up close and personal with fans in the crowd several times through the night as he left the stage for the security barrier to sing with the more than willing fans. Walst tried several times to start a circle pit during the bands set. Unfortunately for Walst, two factors were not going to allow that to happen as the venue was packed tight with a mixed crowd of all ages who were there to support their love for rock music and to sing along with the show rather than get rowdy.

Guitarist Barry Stock loved playing to the crowd as he threw out several guitar picks to fans in between songs. Stock seemed very blissful playing for the fans. Even breaking a string on his guitar during the song “Pain,” couldn’t wipe the smile off Stock’s face.

Coincidently, drummer Neil Sanderson broke one of his snare drums in the middle of the song “Break,” which sent their stage manager scrambling and replacing the drum in seconds. Between the songs “Home” and “Painkiller,” Sanderson played an exceptional drum solo to the delight of fans.

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During the song “Home,” 3DG transitioned into a cover of the song “Sober” by Tool, then blended back into the finish of “Home.”  Fans sang every word to every song on the set list. Three Days Grace ended the night with fan favorite “Riot.”

Pop Evil Setlist: Deal With The Devil, Last Man Standing, Dead In The Water, Torn To Pieces, Ways To Get High, Take It All, Hero, Footsteps, Disarray, Trenches.

Three Days Grace Setlist: I Am Machine, Just Like You, Chalk Outline, So What, Pain, Break, Human Race, Home (Sober Interlude), Drum Piano Interlude, Drum Solo, Painkiller, Fallin Angel, The Good Life, I Hate Everything About You, Never Too Late, Animal I Have Become Encore: The Real You, Riot.

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