Hammersmith Apollo, June 18th

If you didn't come to rock, why did you come at all?

You know what you're going to get at a Nickelback gig. Sublety? Nah. Intellectualising? Uh-uh. Acoustic folk? You're kidding, right?

Nope. You're gonna get royally rocked.

Nickelback will NEVER be popular amongst the cool kids. You get the feeling that if it had been Busted who'd recorded "This Is How You Remind Me" they'd be even bigger than they are now - but it wasn't. It was a Canadian guy with a silly haircut and a few of his faceless friends, rocking out just like they'd always done. Somehow, against the odds that song took over the world's airwaves and after years slogging around North America they got their props, and now they're slogging their rock spectacular round the world

Tonight's gig is a scaled down version of the same set that they played at the Brixton Acdemy around November last year. The flamethrowers aren't quite as powerful (trying to fit the full stadium rig into the Apollo would result in meltdown), they don't have as many flashbangs and they don't play for anywhere near as long - but the ingredients are essentially the same. Heavy rockers sit easily alongside the power ballads,with tracks from both "The Long Road" and "Silver Side Up" getting an airing. "Too bad" and "Flat On The Floor" are heavy as hell and "Someday" and "This is how.." are surprisingly restrained.

There's still an element of the metal pantomime that detractors always point to as reasons to hate Nickelback. Sure, they are a bit Spinal Tap. The obligatory "who wants a beer?" escapades which so delights (and soaks) the crowd, and Kroeger's "Hello Loooondon!" inbetween banter, whilst endearing must surely get a bit monotonous for the band and you feel that they are playing up to the stereotype. But, hey, the crowd love it. I just wish they'd shut up and play more music!!

All in all - not as much of revelation as my first Nickelback gig, last year, but entertaining nonetheless. And who could ask for more than that?

Richy [ June 21st, 2004 ]

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