Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

DVD: Three Days Grace ~ Live At The Palace 2008

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: alt-metal
Label: Zamba Label Group
Year: 2008
Home: Toronto, Canada

Concert location: Palace of Auburn Hills, Michigan
Year Recorded: March 2008
Length: 80 minutes
Bonus Features: behind the scenes footage/interviews with the band

Members: Adam Gontier ~ vocals/rhythm guitar
Neil Sanderson ~ drums/b. vocals
Brad Walst ~ bass/b. vocals
Barry Stock ~ lead guitar
In the 80's every band tended to follow the path of Motley Crue & so many of them are now found in yard sales & music store discount bins forgotten ... or written about in this blog. In the era of disco it was the same with the Bee Gees. Elvis had his share of bland imitators, though due to still being alive many get more recognition then their brief careers really deserve. Surprisingly, there hasn't been an influx of white rappers imitating Eminem ... Today the metal community has its innovators & imitators the same as always. Though, the current metal scene is more than just a revival but has a distinct feel from the past with a new generation of talented music makers. New bands encompass their metal forefathers but at the same time just as much draw from pretty boy bands such as Coldplay, the explorations of Stone Temple Pilots & the jagged rhythms of Green Day & Arctic Monkeys. & you don't have to have long hair & a moody angry look to be a metal rocker. It's hard to fully describe the metal scene now, particularly as it comes in the midst of a changing music industry that's essentially toppling ... though its been going on long enough that's its more than just a brief trend & may not have the mainstream impact of yore but its underground presence isn't going to die anytime soon. 3DG is one of the later day bands who, for the traditional metalhead, probably lack distinctiveness & metal clout. They're an amalgamation of the past & the outcome is metal lite, or metal for those that don't want the real thing or can't away from Nirvana & want everything with a user-friendly alternative tinge. & not a single member has hair below his shoulders! The name 3DG decries more Coldplay than Slayer. Song titles like "Animal I Have Become", "Pain", "Just Like You", "I Hate Everything About You" & "Gone Forever" harken of an abundance of cliched long songs. & the inclusion of the out of place Alice In Chains' "Rooster" does little to aplease. Maybe on one hand this harsh judgment might be right. & yet, maybe 3DG represents the new metal scene in a bottle. But, before giving up on them there is one way to check out their worth ... a test used for many bands ... the live concert. This is the hit or miss scenario to see what their chops are really like, away from the masking ability of the studio, let alone sense their charisma in the raw. No photoshopping here. Live At The Palace 2008 is the debut DVD from 3DG & gives us a moment to judge this band on their terms. One can often tell a metal lite band but from a metal band with some clout by looking at the audience. An all girl audience, while great for the band's ego, is metal lite. All male, as history shows, means they're hitting a hardcore nerve. 3DG, sadly for their egos & libido, get a mixed audience. They've got some hardcore clout but yet have a user friendly feeling. One of the problems with the distinctiveness of 3DG is the fact that they are categorized as a post-grunge band. This basically means they are influenced by the grunge era ... but what is grunge? Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains & Nirvana are very musically distinct bands with few similiarites, but yet all get under the same musical category. Grunge is a location designation more than anything. It would be like saying 3DG are a post-70's band ... so does that mean Foreigner, Black Sabbath & Barry Manilow? An indistinct title for a band falling into indistinct times. Ironically, 3DG was formed as a quartet in the later grunge era of 1992 as Groundswell, breaking up temporarily in 1997 to return as 3DG with a modified line-up. While the timing might be right & as a nearly two decade career should show better, both the location across the border & only three releases have limited their exposure leaving them to build audiences through the touring circuit ... thus making discovering them via DVD versus CD potentially the better option. 3DG have been called one of the more accessible alternative metal bands, not that much better of a designation than post-grunge, with pretty choruses but not so much distinctiveness. Given this criticism 3DG put on a vibrant high energy show & the live energy makes up for their indistinctiveness with a sound filled with guitars charting out rhythms filled more with walls of distortion than complicated melodic lines or even solos, of which one wonders are even possible by the band there is a major absence of guitar solos. It's metal lite definetly, or metal for the suburbia set that still wants lyrics that are about something other than death, accentuated by a heavy ballad approach where the lyrics are upfront & even invite a sing along. The problem is the vocals are about as technically triumphant as the the rest of the band & on some level its obvious why the band hasn't become bigger than they are. In many ways they remind me of later day, post-costume, Stryper where it feels like the message of the music is the most important thing & thus its necessary to have every word clearly heard. Luckily, most of the songs are fairly memorable & it is a bit hard not to want to sing along to this cliched set of really ummemorable rockers ... unmemorable because days late you'll confuse the lyrics with another band. A highlight is "Rooster" by Alice In Chains with sexy frontman Adam Gontier taking both vocals & acoustic guitar & no other accompaniment. It's a nice intermission moment, even if it feels like it should be part of a bigger moment than just one solo song. Bonus footage includes behind the scenes footage & brief soundbites with each member of the band talking about the band, their history & the concert including at soundcheck & meet & greet. Positioned between some songs early in the concert it disrupts the flow of the concert & means that longer interviews that might be more introspective are missing.

Tracks include: Animal I Have Become
Pain
Just Like You
Let It Die
Wake Up
I Hate Everything About You
Rooster
Riot
Get Out Alive
Never Too Late
Scared
Gone Forever
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