Three Days Grace too rockin' for fair-goers

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Adam Gontier from Three Days Grace

Courtesy of Lauren Maggio

SOMEBODY PULL MY FINGER. Three Days Grace singer Adam Gontier has a smelly surprise for all the soccer moms at the band’s Western Fair show.

Three Days Grace was more than a little out of place when it took the stage at the Western Fair Grounds on Wednesday night. No opening act meant the alt-rockers had to bust out their angry anthems in broad daylight.

Still, the venue was packed to capacity before the band had even stepped on stage. The standing-room crowd was an expansive sea of lead singer/guitarist Adam Gontier look-a-likes while the grandstand was full of soccer moms and their 10-year-old children.

The Ontarians opened with “It’s All Over” from their latest album, One-X. The track has yet to be released as a single and was not well received. However, the crowd’s energy quickly picked up when the band broke into the aggressive “Animal I Have Become.”

Guitarist Barry Stock and bassist Brad Waist gave passionate performances that proved they are more than Gontier’s sidekicks. Dressed entirely in black, surly frontman Gontier fulfilled all his rock star responsibilities.

Between screaming “London!” after every song and using a rich amount of profanity, he was surprisingly talkative. Unfortunately, Gontier’s vocals were hard to hear due to the venue’s poor acoustics. He was often inaudible during verses but could be heard screaming during choruses.

Despite the poor sound, Three Days Grace plowed through all its biggest hits. Newer tracks like “Pain” and “Gone Forever” were mixed with songs from the band’s 2003 self-titled debut. Its current single “Never Too Late” was well executed but it was “Riot” and “Scared” that the crowd responded to best.

The highlight of the set was Gontier’s acoustic cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” " a heartfelt rendition that showed off his phenomenal vocal range and tone. Drummer Neil Sanderson stole the spotlight later on with an extended solo that turned into a jam session with guitarist Stock.

The intensity and musicianship of Three Days Grace’s performance was somewhat lost on the grandstand audience, who stared blankly at Gontier as he sang lyrics like “I must be running out of luck / Cause you’re just not drunk enough to fuck.”

As it darkened, the fog and lighting became more effective and it began to feel more like a rock concert. The band finished with an explosive finale that blended “Home” with a cover of Filter’s “Hey Man, Nice Shot.” The performance inspired crowd surfing in the pit and brought the static bleacher crowd to their feet.

Much to the disappointment of fans, the band did not perform an encore. By 9 p.m., the show ended and most of the crowd were making their way back to what they really came for " rides, games and cotton candy.

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