Shinedown Turns Up the Heat at Waterfront Park in Louisville Live Review by Laura Fox
Full disclosure: I’ve been a huge Shinedown fan for a long time. It happened the first time I saw them live and continues to this day. Not only is every member of the band extremely talented, but they are also all extremely hard working. They continuously put out fresh, innovative albums and videos, and tour exhaustively throughout the world. Even when everything came to a screeching halt due to the pandemic, they went to work writing a new album and making a movie, which will be released September 3. They also kept up their social media presence. This may not sound like a big deal, but if you read the comments on their posts, you’ll know that many of their fans truly depend on the band to keep them going during dark times.
All Photos by Andrew Fore
When I saw they were coming to Louisville’s Waterfront Park, I jumped on the chance to photograph them. It had been over two years since I’d had the opportunity, and I was stoked about it. Unfortunately, the venue’s policy was to only allow house photographers in the photo pit, but I was granted a reviewer pass and was able to experience the intensity and happiness that is a Shinedown show. I expected – and received – an in-your-face rock show that left me wanting more.
One of the things I like about Shinedown’s live sets is that they like to mix things up from gig to gig. With such a large discography and numerous hits from each album, they have a wealth of material from which to choose. The first song Saturday night was “Cut the Cord” from “Threat to Survival.” It’s a high-energy banger, and it got the crowd revved up.
I expected the 18-song setlist to be heavy with songs from their latest album, “ATTENTION ATTENTION,” but they did a good job of playing songs from all their albums, including their older mega-hits such as “Second Chance” and “If You Only Knew.” I love that they played “Fly from the Inside,” a great tune from 2003’s “Leave a Whisper” you don’t get to hear very often. Other highlights included “Unity” from “Amaryllis,” complete with lighters and cell phones in the air, and the acoustic cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man.” Strategically timed pyrotechnics added a good punch to the high-energy songs.
Frontman Brent Smith was at the top of his game, full of energy and commanding the attention (no pun intended) of the entire crowd. I really enjoy the way he talks to crowd in a surprisingly humble manner. He seemed to be in an especially jovial mood Saturday night, joking around with guitarist Zach Myers and bassist Eric Bass. The synergy these guys share comes from a long, long history together, including addictions, recoveries, and growth.
Drummer Barry Kerch was missing from this show, being in quarantine with a positive COVID test the previous week. Kerch is one of my favorite drummers to watch, and I wondered how substitute Dustin Steinke from Sixx:A.M.would compare. Despite the lack of dreadlocks, he was great fun to watch and totally nailed the entire set.
Update: Barry Kerch was just released from quarantine and is back on the road with Shinedown.
Saturday happened to be Kerch’s birthday, so the band FaceTimed him from the stage and brought out a giant cake in the shape of Viking hat. (Kerch is affectionately known as The Viking among band and crew members.)Everyone present sang the “Happy Birthday” song to him; I think that’s the loudest version of that I’ve ever heard.
Shinedown’s set ended with “The Sound of Madness,” which included the biggest, brightest pyro of the night. Smith concluded the show with his signature line, “It’s never good-bye; it’s just ‘til next time.” As I watch the growing list of cancelled/postponed 2021 concerts and tours, I passionately hope that “next time” won’t be another two years from now!