By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy, Photos by Matt “Rabit” Martinez Red Hare Images
Attention! Attention! Shinedown has been sent to warn us that the devil is in the next room. Those are the words from the chorus of their #1 hit, “Devil.” Ever since Shinedown released their 6th album last year, Attention Attention, they have been touring non-stop to promote their first concept record about overcoming negativity. Last year, they came through the FivePoint Amphitheater with Godsmack, and I unfortunately missed it. It was one of those shows I was looking forward to all summer last year, but unfortunately could not make it. A black soul entered my heart that day. This year, they came back as the headliner and I was determined not to miss them again. This time around, they were hitting the road with bands I have never seen before, Dinosaur Pile-Up and Badflower. Rabit, Kendra and I headed back to the FivePoint along with my future sister, Adrina, whom I dubbed Dr. Sister-in-Rock.
After Broken Hands finished their set, the first band we saw that night came out, Dinosaur Pile-Up. Hailing from Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, this alternative heavy driven trio is all about grunge and attitude, as evidenced in their 3rd studio release, Celebrity Mansions. I first heard them on the radio with “Back Foot,” and I was intrigued to see them live when I heard they were on the bill. Frontman Matt Bigland thrashed and wailed on both guitar and vocals. Rounding out the band was drummer Mike Sheils and bassist Jim Cratchley, both of whom brought the chaotic grunge spirit that I have loved since it was big in the 90s. Dinosaur Pile-Up let out a mighty roar and rampaged the audience with bombastic songs like “Arizona Waiting,” “Round the Bend,” “Celebrity Mansion,” “11:11,” “Thrash Metal Cassette,” and “Back Foot.” What made their night even cooler was that Shinedown bought them a huge banner with their name on it to put behind him. That goes to show that not only do we believe in Dinosaur Pile-Up, so does one of the biggest rock groups in the world. They are magnificent, and I hope they do not go extinct any time soon.
Full Dinosaur Pile-Up gallery below:
Moody? Check. Full of angst? Check. Emo? Check. All of these personality traits are the makings of L.A.’s Badflower. This 4 piece alternative band that has a blues and emo edge has been having a big year since releasing their debut album, OK, I’m Sick. I haven’t listened to the record yet, but from Rabit told me, 9 out of the 10 songs made him want to slit his wrists. However, when they started off the night with “x ANA x,” they were anything but depressive. Josh Katz brought a positive, energetic presence to the mic and rhythm guitar, while lead guitarist Joey Morrow was in solid stride with the lead riffs. Along with bassist Alex Espiritu and drummer Anthony Sonetti, Badflower blossomed on the Irvine stage. I was rocking my head to their tunes like “Drop Dead,” “White Noise,” “Die,” “The Jester,” “Promise Me,” “Heroin,” “Animal,” and “Ghost.” I know that these songs are not exactly jovial, but the way they performed them made it sound upbeat. Badflower is very unusual, moody on record, but delightful live.
Full Badflower gallery below:
The theme to Indiana Jones plays over the PA, fire bombs banged on the stage, and Shinedown emerged with triumphant glory. Kicking off their performance with “Devil,” I knew it was going to turn into an amazing performance. The 2nd song of the night is my all-time favorite Shinedown tune, “Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom),” where I was singing my heart out. Brent Smith was sheer magnificence every time lyrics come out of his mouth. Zach Myers was a wizard on the guitar, riffing up rock ‘n’ roll spells that made put the fans into a trance. Bassist Eric Bass, armed with his signature Prestige bass, was a cyclone of whirlwind beats. Along with Barry Kerch’s pulsating blasts on the drums, Shinedown was shining all night long. In addition to Attention Attention, they played a huge chunk from their 2012 release, Amaryllis. From “Monsters” to “Black Soul,” “I’ll Follow You,” “Unity,” “45,” and “Amaryllis,” there was a song for everyone.
To make the night extra special, Shinedown traveled to the middle rafters, where they played the next 3 songs semi-acoustically. Getting intimate with the fans, we were in awe when they performed “How Did You Love,” “Through the Ghost,” and “Second Chance,” which is one of the best power ballads of the 21st Century in my mind. While heading back to the stage, Linkin Park’s “Numb” started playing, with only Chester Bennington’s voice being heard. It is still heartbreaking to know that he is gone, but we sang the song to the Heavens to let him know we have not forgotten him. Once back on stage, the band did a snippet of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun,” in memory of Chris Cornell, another singer who was gone too soon, but his legacy will carry on forever. Shinedown then went into their cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man,” where they did a full-on electric performance. They usually do it unplugged, so this was a nice change in pace. With fireworks going off, they closed out the night with “Cut the Cord,” “Get Up,” “Sound of Madness,” and “Brilliant.”
Full Shinedown gallery below:
Just like the title of their closing number, Shinedown was nothing but brilliant. I have to say that this performance tops both the House of Blues in Anaheim and the Riverside Municipal Auditorium. Dinosaur Pile-Up brought grunge excellence to the night, and Badflower was depressingly energetic. Sister-in-Rock had one of the best nights of her life, for Shinedown is her Beatles. I look forward to seeing all these groups again and hopefully soon. To Shinedown, Badflower, and Dinosaur Pile-Up, I salute you. Horns up!!!