Archive and Search
« Sweden Rock Festival Review: Day 2 | Main | Sweden Rock Festival Review: Day 1 »

Nickelback In Houston -- Live Review

At the tail end of my U.S. trip, I flew in to Houston to see Nickelback. I bought a VIP ticket, which meant early entry, so I could get to the barrier. When I posted on my Facebook about going to Rock on the Range, lots of people were positive. When I mentioned Nickelback, they said "Who are you, and what did you do with Christian?"  More on this later.

The opening band was My Darkest Days and they were pretty good. Second up was Skillet, perhaps the second worst live band I have seen (after Down).  Bush were OK, although I did not know their songs. 

Finally, it was time for Nickelback. Their stage show is immense. They have tons of pyro, moving walkways on the sides of the stage, and a big round stage that they go up in over the crowd for four songs, which rotates. They played for 90 minutes and although I have all their CDs, I was still surprised at how many songs I knew. Although I've been to a lot of shows, I can't think of one that had as many flames, screens, and other effects. I'm sure their detractors would say this is to hide the lack of substance, but I'd say it's in keeping with who they are, which is a really good arena rock band.
I was trying to work out why it is that people hate them so much. When challenged, a lot of the people on my Facebook page admitted they have never even heard them. In the show, some guy was even abusing singer Chad Kroeger from the seats. Why even go to a show you hate? Looking around me, I saw a lot more girls than I would expect to see near the barrier of a show. And then I realised:  Nickelback are the Poison of their age! They play good, fun arena rock. They are good at what they do.  They are very entertaining and certainly slick. Girls like them. Therefore, the guys hate them without even listening in. But, there's a twist. Poison continued to do well on summer tours until Bret Michaels  decided to run their integrity in to the ground with Rock of Love. I wonder if this bodes well for the future of Nickelback? Certainly, I would see them again in a heartbeat. They put on a great, fun show, and I had a great evening with them. And yes, I got right to the very front.

Reader Comments (36)

Ugh.... To me, these guys are the definition of what is wrong with the state of rock music. The songs are all pretty bland. The band members have zero image or personality. And the lyrics are so juvenile that they are completely laughable. Its all just very sad. Too bad the brain-washed mindless masses only listen to this garbage because it is what rock radio pushes. No more, no less. Comparing them to Poison is actually a huge insult to bandanna boy and the rest of that band. Nickelback = CRAP.
June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKenny Ozz
What Kenny said. Can't say it any better.
June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGeo2
I have to agree with Geo2 and Kenny on Nickelback. I, too, find them to be bland. To each his or her own I guess (and Christian is clearly a passionate fan with lots of good picks).

That said, I am not sure you want to hang your opinion on juvenile lyrics. Plenty of metal bands--glam and otherwise--dabble in the fine art of youthful cheese . . . or angry whining or bravado and hyperbole as a stand-in for masculine virility. But I digress . . .

Point in fact, a lot of what people like about metal references their youth, or that sort of attitude that comes and goes with it. Throw a dart at your collection (if isn't firmly entombed in your computer) and you will likely hit an album or tape or CD by a band you love with some rather classy lyrics.

Do you want to "Lick It Up," boys? Or do you prefer someone to go "Smooth Up in Ya'," ladies? And PETA is never going to use "Giving the Dog a Bone" in a campaign. Sure, there are exceptions. Bon Jovi, before he had aches and pains, was clearly discussing the trials and tribulations of relationships in "In and Out of Love." He was, right? And that is just the juvenile as it relates to sex.

On the Road to Rock (that one is for you Metalboy!) there are plenty of cringe-inducing lyrics. But we like them just the same.
June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHim
Damn - Him beat me to it. For what it's worth, we have no rock radio in Australia. Nickelback, Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, I like what I like because *I* listened to it, not because radio or MTV pushed it on me. I get that some people won't like it. I just don't see how the *majority* can hate a band that really is no different to Poison back in the day, except of course that most dudes hated them at the time, too.
June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
Christian & Him: my thoughts exactly.

While I'm certainly no Chad Kroeger fan, I do like a number of Nickelback songs. They write good, catchy, straight-ahead rock, as evidenced by the millions of records that they sell. And they do the arena rock thing to perfection.

I think a lot of the hate towards them is because of their lyrics. They're misogynistic, juvenile, and lack any sort of subtlety - in fact, some of their songs are almost embarrassing to listen to because of this.

But as Him said, singing about sex, drugs & booze is not a rarity in rock, and especially not for glam bands. I actually think they would have fit right in during the 80's.
June 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbryon
Christian, I caught the show in Tulsa last night. I guess I am part of the mindless masses because I like them. You were dead on My darkest Days were OK I give them an A for effort those guys had alot of energy..Porn Star Dancing!! Seether were not that good but thier sound sucked.. I gotta tell you BUSH blew me away Gavin was all over the place circled the entire arena twice while singing come together that was awesome....

NICKELBACK put on an awesome show I think as life goes these guys came out at a time where I was awayfrom home alot and the young guys that worked for me were into this type of music so I got drug into Nickelback kicking and screaming but I was converted. I loved the part where they went to the middle of the arena and played in the round suspeneded from the ceiling. It was my daughters first concert and she was blown away.

They Pyro The Lights and the music made for a great family night for my Wife, Daughter and I...The moving walkways were a suprise as well.. Dropped D tuning can get old but they manage to put some character in it.. Glad you enjoyed it..
June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShawn
Gotta love the Nickelback haters... I just don't get it ?!?! A rock band becomes successful based on a formula and all the haters accuse them of being bland, simple, no tact, etc, etc...

It is said best that these guys are the new Poison, Def Leppard, Crue, etc, etc,... Bands that cross all ages and gender. Could I do without the constant message ballads that Chad Kroeger seems to write over and over ? Well yes.... BUT the songs they play when they just want to rock are pretty damn good.

I have a friend who said it best ~ ITS ASS ROCK !! It makes the women shake their ass and if girls sing along to it, then its not cool for dudes to do the same.

There is a reason a band like this just tours the arenas...its because they are good.

Listen to Where ? (from Curb), Breathe (from State), Money Bought (from Silver Side Up), Figured You Out (from Long Road), Side of a Bullet (from All The Right Reasons), Burn It To The Ground (Dark Horse), Midnight Queen (Here & Now).... and I'll think you will get what I'm trying to say and this is just a small sampling of their entire catalog.
June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGNR
I love Nickelback (all their albums, from even before they were famous) and their live shows are insane. They are in my top 5 concerts of all time. I want to see them live again. I don't say that about many bands anymore.

My two cents.
June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAllyson
How have people that posted on your facebook wall never heard a Nickelback song? they have released about 20 singles over the past 10 years and they are played on every radio format out there besides rap and country.
June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWill
Will, there is a world that has no rock radio. As I said, I discover all these bands on my own. They may get some play on commercial radio here, but it would be between a lot of music that I'd hate, and I've not listened to radio since the 80s. I live in Australia.
June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
I am ambivalent to NB. Don't own any of their stuff but if the right song comes on I listen. There are several songs I liked that I did not realize was by them The ballads are pretty bland to me.
Jerry Cantrell and Dimebag liked them so take that for what it;s worth. What I do like about them is that they do not pretend to be anything but an arena rock band. They do have a sense a humor about themselves. You can find several stories about bands saying stuff about them on Twitter and they play it off. That and the video they made about the halftime show at Thanksgiving.
June 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterscott whitt
Scott, the guy who was giving Chad the finger, Chad said 'it's a while since I jumped in to the crowd to beat up a 50 year old, and the worst thing is, you'll need to tell your friends you were beat up by the singer from Nickelback'. So yeah, I'd say they have a good sense of humour about that stuff. And, who wouldn't ? They filled the place, so it's not like EVERYONE hates them.
June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
Why don't I like Nickelback? I have given this some thought over the years. The band contains elements that appeal to me, but for some reason I just despise them. I have been drinking a bit, so I am just going to start a list instead of trying to make sentences.

1. They're Canadian. I can't think of a single Canadian rock band I listen to. Triumph may be the closest. Are the Killer Dwarfs Canadian?
2. Chad Krueger has(had) poodle hair. They don't look like rock stars and certainly do not have rock personalities.
3. Every song they write ends up on the radio. Maybe this isn't a bad thing, but they could write a song about waiting in line at the DMV and it would get played on the radio.
4. All the crappy spawn bands. Theory of a Deadman, Shinedown, Hinder, etc.
5. The songs have too much polish. I want my rock music to be gritty and smell like sex and skunky beer.
6. It just seems like they try too hard. I don't care how great their sense of humor. If you aren't naturally cool, then tour with Weezer.
June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohnny Mac
ok. i respect that you guys are into all kinds of rock. don't get me wrong. but this site is called bring back glam. no one gives a shit about nickelback or seeing slipknot or liking avenged sevenfold. go start a new site called bring back stupid shit.
June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEVT
This is one of those change the radio station immediately bands for me now. Everyone of their songs sound the same to me. It's just very bland music as far as I am concerned. But a lot of people like them, so they gotta be doing something right. That is the beauty of music, what is crap to me is gold to others.
June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterImpaler
One good song -- "Animals".

Otherwise Nicklehack is boring NERDROCK to worried about their profile.

And any comparison to Poison is absurd. Poison is monumental. Nickleshite are bellhops.

Well, Christian, at least you and I agree on some bands:

AC/DC, Accept, The Angels and Stryper. Am I forgetting anybody?

Johnny Mac -- Whoa! I ain't from Canada but I sure can tell ya, there are a lot of great bands from there, just not Nicklechump. And certainly not RUSH. The Great Canadian Bands are: Kick Axe (right on, Him), Killer Dwarfs (good call, Johnny Mac), Ana Black (these guys ruled the L.A. Strip in the Early 90's and even had a preproduction deal with Sony -- Check out "Sex Ride Suicide" -- Now that's frickin' ROCK AND ROLL!!!), Adrenalin, Alias, Barely Legal, Brighton Rock, Crystal Pistol, Danko Jones, Dirty Rhythm, Distant Cry, Doc Trinket, Double Dealer, Fury, Harem Scarem, Harlots Webb, Helix, The Hitmen, Honeymoon Suite, Hooker, Jester, Krystal, Paul Laine (Check out the Danger Danger album, "Cockroach". Laine sings lead on it), T.O. Joker, Lorraine (Pure L.A.), May Run, Moxy, Parlor Trixx, Pokerface, Quota, Raw Trixx, Rampage, Reckless, Reckless Youth (Holy Grail alert), Pretty Boy Floyd (Canada), Renegade, Rockhead, Rockupuncture, Rude, Saints & Sinners (Holy Grail!), Seventh Son, Sharp Edges, J.T. Shelter, Simon Says (Holy Grail!), Slam Savvy, Slash Puppet (Killers), CJ Sleez, Slick Kitty, Slik Toxic, Chrissy Steele, Lee Aaron, Gypsy Rose, Steppenwolf (huh-uh-uh-lo-oh!), Stiletto, Surrender, Sven Gali, Syre, Teaze, Tongue N Groove, Top Johnny, Pat Travers, Vendetta, Von Groove, Winter Rose, Wrabit, Young Gun.
June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
i also like nickelback lots of great riffs i think they are an 80s band trapped in the 2000s as for hating a band because they are a canadian u are an ahole just for saying that but there are tons of great canadian bands but i guess you would have to get off the porn sites while sittin in your moms basement. check out bands like coney hatch, aldo nova, killer dwarfs, harem scarem, lee aaron, kick axe, alias, headpins, white wolf, brighton rock, big house, loverboy,fist and hanover and i could go on but i wont.
June 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterglamrockerarchie
Yeah.. I don't agree that there are not any great bands from Canada... Metalboy has a pretty good list there. Although you could have left out T.O. Joker (just kind of boring to me. You could even add bands like Santers, Robin Black, White Wolf, Kidd Khaos, Syre, Strip Adicktion, and Sacred Site.

A current band that many here should like. Saw them in Pittsburgh about a week ago. I've seen them close to 10 times and they never disappoint.

June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRock-It
EVT, you're entitled to your opinion. But, I don't see any difference between what Nickelback plays, and what Motley Crue and Poison played in the 80s. Should BBG only cover newer arena rock bands if they are not popular ?

Metalboy - I have 3300 CDs, I'd be astounded if those are the only bands you and I agree on. I see a few in your list of Canadian bands :-)

Amusingly, I would agree that Animals is their best song. I just don't think it's a TON different from a lot of the other ones.
June 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
Rock-It! Yes! Diemonds! Got that! Killer! Didn't Allyson post on that? Plus, forgot about Kidd Khaos and Strip Adicktion. I have Syre on the list.

I am always amazed about CERTAIN people on here who cannot blow past the usual shite they beat the hell out of year after year and won't ever venture beyond their comfort zone to explore a list like the one I have above. Boys, get off the head of the pin you continuously insist on dancing on.

Explore the list (and that's just Canada) on YouTube, where most of them have at least audio samples. Most of the bands are comparable to many of our fave acts (or better!), like I told ya a thousand times! Also hit to unearth all of the gold there that will set you free. Or just keep listening to your same old crap in perpetuity. It's up to you, clowns!
June 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.