The Canadian whipping boys deserve more respect. There, I said it.
An important part of growing up is learning to admit your mistakes. The ability to accept fault, and grow from it, is invaluable in human development. We’ve all made a terrible mistake. And it’s time to admit it. Because Nickelback are actually A Good Band.
Well, hang on a second. You’ve all made a mistake. I’ve been championing the cause of Chad & The Lads for years now – from the earnest ‘How You Remind Me’ and ‘Someday’, via the riotous, chug-ten-pints-and-throw-up-in-a-taxi likes of ‘Burn It To The Ground’ and ‘Feed The Machine’, there’s been a Nickelback song soundtracking every important event and pissed-up night of of the last decade of my life. As the years have gone on, I’ve come to hold them dearer than some members of my own family.
As the band’s ‘Feed The Machine’ world tour rolled into London last weekend, the Canadian four-piece proved themselves more than worthy of my devotion. A career-spanning, hit-packed setlist saw them pack in all four of the aforementioned turbo-bangers, alongside a whopping fifteen (!) others. ‘Gotta Be Somebody’ was a tearjerker; ‘Photograph’’s roaring chorus proved there’s far more to the thirteen-year-old single than that meme about the graph. Even lesser-known tracks like ‘When We Stand Together’ were blasted back at the band by a crowd that hung off their every grizzled word.
While their songs might be earnest, soaring rock numbers, the band themselves are more amiable and down-to-earth than most quote-unquote ‘credible’ arena acts *cough* Muse *cough*. Knowingly daft stage banter found the group ripping into themselves constantly, while their gratitude was palpable, Chad Kroeger thanking the crowd near-constantly for lending him their Friday night.
There’s showmanship by the bucketload, too. ‘Rockstar’ saw the group pluck two fans from the crowd to live out their rockstar dreams IRL, while a further ‘Back devotee was pulled out to play guitar in alt-rock stomper ‘Animals’ (and absolutely slayed it). It all added up to make Nickelback’s return to the capital undoubtedly one of the most fun-packed shows of the year.
With all that in mind, and our ears still ringing, it’s time to admit it – Nickelback deserve more respect. Musically, recent album ‘Feed The Machine’ isn’t a million miles from a Metallica-meets-Foo Fighters alt-rock showcase, while the classics are that for a reason. Put your cynicism to one side for three-and-a-half minutes, and try telling me ‘Someday’ isn’t a festival headline-worthy, pints aloft banger for the ages. Try telling me ‘Hero’ (the one off the Spiderman soundtrack, yep) doesn’t have the perfect middle-eight. You can’t. Don’t bother. I’m not listening. I’m singing along too loudly.
So as 2018 rumbles on, let’s admit that the earth is plagued with more than enough hatred, cynicism and scorn as is. Let’s admit that it’s time to let love in. Let’s admit that Nickelback are fucking sick.