REVIEW: Shinedown Rocks The Paramount

Shinedown concert number three is a wrap and seeing them never gets old. This time, I made the nearly two-hour trek (thanks, rush hour traffic) to Huntington to The Paramount to check out the band and their also amazing opener, Biffy Clyro. It’s obviously not my first rodeo with Shinedown – we covered them twice before, once on Carnival of Madness and again on their arena run with Five Finger Death Punch – and they great on both occasions, so the bar had been set pretty high for my third go ’round with Brent Smith and company, and my second time through the madness that is Biffy Clyro.

Biffy Clyro hail from Scotland and are absolutely massive in the UK and Europe, but for some reason that boggles the mind of most anyone who has ever listened to them or seen them live, the band has never taken off here in North America.  That’s laughable because the band is so amazingly talented that their overseas popularity should have translated to the US a long time ago, and hopefully it will one day soon. Their set list for this show isn’t available online, so I’ll keep this short and cut to the gallery. Biffy Clyro play a unique brand of hard rock unlike what is presented by many of the mainstream US-based rockers ruling the scene today that is more of a cross between rock n roll and 90’s grunge, with Simon Neil’s vocals being more along the lines of something you’d expect to hear on a cover of the Nirvana anthem Smells Like Teen Spirit than you would on a rock track. All of these combine to create unique, kick ass rock in a style that not many others have ever done. If you haven’t seen Biffy Clyro, you’re missing out.

And then Shinedown walked out and took over. I’ll get this out of the way early: whoever handled their production for this show really disappointed me, as Shinedown performed in what amounted to pure darkness for most of their set, to the point where myself and the other photographers were standing around trying to figure out what we should do. But we’re not here to review their lighting, we’re here to review their performance, and Shinedown kicked ass as Shinedown always does, belting out 15 songs before all was said and done, though a couple of notables – Asking For It and Save Me – were absent. That’s a bit disappointing since I love both songs, and I’d rather hear either instead of the band’s cover of the Lynyrd Skynyrd hit Simple Man, but it is what it is. I’d also really like to hear I Dare You, but it seems like Shinedown never plays that one anymore.

Anyway, it seems like Shinedown has been running the same setlist for a while, which is fine because it’s a good setlist, but I like surprises and there are none at a Shinedown show. That’s by no means a bad thing because it means paying fans know what to expect before they buy a ticket, so that’s great if you’re shelling out your hard-earned scratch to see your favorite band. I don’t have that problem, and it’s one of the reasons I love this industry because no show is ever a bad show when it’s free. Some of those free shows are just better than others, and a free Shinedown show, specifically this free Shinedown show, is better than many I’ve been to this year.

Since this was the usual setlist, it came as absolutely no surprise that the band opened with Devour before playing Fly From The Inside and one of my favorites from their catalog, Diamond Eyes. Hearing that song live almost makes up for not hearing Asking For It live, so I’ll live with it, but I am kinda disappointed that they’ve chosen to replace Asking For It with How Did You Love. Sure, they’re from the same album, but Asking For It is the more popular song and gets the most radio time and fans like myself would love to hear it. The rest of the set went exactly as expected, with If You Only KnewUnityState of My HeadSecond Chance and Cut The Cord all on display along with BullySound of Madness and an acoustic version of 45 with a couple other numbers mixed in between Brent Smith working the crowd.

When it was all over, what they played didn’t really matter. Not when Shinedown continues to put on stellar performance after stellar performance. It’s a long drive from me to The Paramount on a weekday, but it’s worth it when you’re getting a show like the one these guys put on. Check out the photo gallery below.