Musicalypse doesn’t get around to a lot of see a ton of American bands, but since “Attention, Attention” was a pretty fun album, we thought we’d check out SHINEDOWN during their tour. They passed through The Circus in Helsinki on December 1st, 2018, helping kick off the last month of the year with a bang. Check out the gallery here.
I only started listening to SHINEDOWN a few weeks ago, but they were pretty easy to like: more hard rock than metal, easy on the ears, but not too dull to be generic. When they announced a show in Finland, a friend really wanted to go and it wasn’t too hard for her to convince me to join her.
It was a busy day so we weren’t able to get there in time for the openers, and by the time we arrived, the club was packed. The music stopped a minute or two past 21:30, and three songs, possibly by the BEASTIE BOYS, started blaring on the speakers. After the third song ended, SHINEDOWN opened the show with “DEVIL,” the first full track from “Attention, Attention.” This song has big energy on the album and bigger energy on stage. Vocalist Brent Smith was all over the place, not in a spazzy way like a punk singer, but in a controlled, athletic sort of way.
The first three songs were all pretty familiar hits from their discography, so if you enjoy their upbeat fun stuff, like “Diamond Eyes” and “Cut the Cord,” the concert would’ve immediately appealed. The set was fairly nicely balanced, breaking up the energy now and then with some ballads like “I’ll Follow You” and “Second Chance,” as well as the new powerhouse ballad, “GET UP.” Much like in the new album itself, the setlist had a nice ebb and flow of energy, going from fast to slow, to funky… these guys know how to organize a live show.
Smith was also pretty well balanced between talking and performing. He got the crowd to put their cell phones up and said, “Hey Finland, let’s make some magic,” before “State of My Head,” and towards the end of the set, he asked the crowd to crouch down so someone in a wheelchair could see the stage – props for that, it was pretty cool to see a full venue all squatting/sitting on the floor for the sake of one person. I hope the person in the chair could see!
The crowd was really into it as well. I saw one guy trying to crowd surf, though not very effectively. Ultimately, it looked more like he was trying to do a handstand walk about 30 centimeters off the ground, with a bit of help from the odd person around him. Once he got up, I noticed that the back of his shirt read, “Shinedown, Attention Attention, Mr. Fiesta 88,” among other things. There must be some joke in there that I’d love to know about.
“Second Chance” was a cool song to hear. I recognized it from back in 2008 when it was a big hit; I hadn’t registered SHINEDOWN in the band back then, so it was one of those nice songs, a bit teenager anthem-y perhaps, that I knew from “back in the day” and there was some nostalgic pleasure to them playing it live. Smith mentioned that music is like air in Finland, and thanked the crowd for coming to see them when they could’ve spent their Saturday night doing anything else. This acted as the introduction to three acoustic songs, “Through the Ghost,” “Call Me,” and their cover of LYNYRD SKYNYRD‘s “Simple Man.” They closed out their set with “The Sound of Madness” and “BRILLIANT” but didn’t return for an encore; I think it was okay though, because they left on such a high note with “BRILLIANT” – it starts slow but has some real power. It’s a great album closer, and evidently a great gig closer as well.
It’s surprisingly uncommon to go to shows where the whole crowd is singing the whole time. However, SHINEDOWN apparently has the power to bring that out. It was a fun show and if you enjoy their music, you’d likely enjoy their energy and message. The sound quality was a bit muffled on the whole, and it was almost impossible for me to see the stage most of the time, but they tossed plenty of drumsticks and guitar picks into the crowd, kept everyone engaged, and the energy was through the roof – not just from the band, but the whole venue. Even though I only just started listening to these guys, I’d be glad to see them again anytime.
2. Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay, Boom-Lay Boom)
3. Cut the Cord
4. KILL YOUR CONSCIENCE
5. I’ll Follow You
8. State of My Head
10. GET UP
11. BLACK SOUL
12. Second Chance
13. Through the Ghost (acoustic)
14. Call Me (acoustic)
15. Simple Man (acoustic Lynyrd Skynyrd cover)
16. Sound of Madness
Photos & text by Bear W.