HARD rockers Shinedown have built up a head of steam and they sure ain't letting it go.
The American four piece were virtually unknown a year ago despite selling millions of albums in their homeland. Coming back to the UK for the third time this year before heading out on a European tour, the band are pulling in larger crowds than ever before.
Their Manchester gig was upgraded from the Academy 2 to the larger Academy as an eclectic bunch of young and old fans were introduced to the Shinedown way.
When hundreds of fans are chanting your band name before you've even taken the stage you must surely know you've made it.ŠAnd frontman Brent Smith is not one to waste his crowning moment.
Wearing his now customary all black outfit, Smith launched the 90 minute set with the title track of their latest album The Sound Of Madness before stepping back to older favourite 45. Revelling in the attention, the Tennessee born singer could not help himself as he gave lengthy pep talks to the crowd between songs.ŠHis powerful voice and domineering stage presence were all on song for the first 45 minutes as the band concentrated on the faster, harder tunes.ŠBut after turning it down a notch and an attention grabbing vocal solo, Smith started to struggle with the more delicate vocals as the no-doubt gruelling touring schedule began to bite.ŠThe crowd also grew a little restless after one too many motivational speeches.ŠNevertheless, closing with two of the best tracks off The Sound Of Madness; Second Chance and Devour, Smith pulled it back for a rousing finale leaving you in no doubt that Shinedown are one of the most engaging live rock bands to visit these shores this year.
Earlier, support act Soil reminded of their success in the early noughties. The Chicago band seem to have taken a more melodic direction and impressive new frontman AJ Cavalier gave it his all playing a 30 minute set of tracks, mainly from their new album Picture Perfect. But it was their 2001 hit Halo that still stood out.