One of the most detested acts in rock, Nickelback is mercilessly mocked by legions of music fans who delight in deriding the band's sound. Nickelback's immensely successful but critically maligned brand of pop-oriented metal has made it the butt of countless jokes.
Very few members of the capacity audience of over 2,500 were laughing at Nickelback's sound Friday at The Midland Theater. Theory of a Deadman, a Nickelback knockoff band, headlined a bargain-priced concert that provided an entertaining start to a summer weekend.
The four members of Theory of a Deadman do little to conceal their devotion to the approach employed by their fellow Canadians in Nickelback. Both bands employ the same sort of melodramatic vocals, sugary melodies overlaid with loud guitars and profanity-laced songs about the battle of the sexes and the grind of the workaday world. Theory of a Deadman songs like "All Or Nothing" are virtually indistinguishable from several Nickelback hits. The latter band, in turn, was inspired by the frothy metal of Def Leppard and Aerosmith.
Although Theory of a Deadman is unabashedly derivative of a transparently unoriginal band, its undemanding sound held enormous appeal for Friday's audience. It helps that Theory of a Deadman occasionally improves on Nickelback's formula. The pure pop of "Out of My Head" and the lovely ballad "Santa Monica" are entirely winning. The only sour aspect of Theory of a Deadman's hour-long set was the off-putting demeanor of front man Tyler Connolly. Flippant and derisive, he came across like rock and roll's version of abrasive comedian Denis Leary.
Black Stone Cherry didn't have an attitude problem. The no-holds-barred party band from Kentucky combined the satisfying crunch of Metallica with the Southern charm of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Much like a perfectly prepared homemade hamburger, the music of Black Stone Cherry is unambitious but immensely satisfying. Its new hit "White Trash Millionaire" was the evening's best-received song. The audience also enjoyed a workmanlike set by Las Vegas' Adelitas Way.
"This is one of the best f***ing cities for rock and roll in the entire country," Rick DeJesus of Adelita's Way said.
The comment wasn't mere pandering. KQRC, the concert's sponsor, is one of the area's most popular radio stations because it merges its hard rock format with a genuine sense of community. Friday's audience greeted brief appearances by on-air personalities with receptions no less fervent than they gave the bands. For thousands of its listeners, 98.9 The Rock is much more than a radio station- it represents a way of life.
THEORY OF A DEADMAN SET LIST
Got It Made
All Or Nothing
B*tch Came Back
Not Meant To Be
Out of My Head
Hate My Life