The debate on the way home between my-self and MIRP co-founder and photographer Jer was who was better: Chevelle or Three Days Grace.  I was Team Chevelle, he was arguing for Three Days Grace, but I think Breaking Benjamin actually won.

As always, we were provided with amazing seats just a few rows back from the stage.  Warm enough not to wear a hoodie, but cool enough to know summer had ended, this lineup was a grand ending to the summer concert season.

Unfortunately we missed Diamante due to the heavy lines of traffic waiting to get into the venue, but we caught LA’s Dorothy just as she stepped on stage.  I’d seen her a few years back in a small club and had the privilege of doing an interview with her.  I was wondering how this bluesy, sultry hard rock band would fit in with such heavy-hitters as Three Days Grace and Chevelle, but she (they) did just fine.  Wearing more clothes than I’d previously seen, she was still sexy and sultry, with a voice that rivals some of the greats.  I wish this genre of music was more mainstream, because if it was, she’d be at the top.

Now, I’m a metal fanatic and only know of Three Days Grace by their hits.  I’d been looking forward to Chevelle, but Canadian rockers Three Days Grace put up a good fight.  I was pleased to know every song but one, likely due to heavy rotation on Turbo, Octane, and mainstream FM radio. Full of energy and intensity, Three Days Grace were the most energetic band of the night in their movement.   They started their set with “The Mountain,” and “Home,” followed by the deafening crowd participation on “The Good Life,” and “Pain.”  Next was “Infra-Red,” and “Break,” followed by the massively popular “I Hate Everything About You.”  “Animal I Have Become,” and “Never Too Late,” came before the show stopping “Riot,” which I wish they would have opened the set with because it was outrageously good.  Ten songs seemed way too short and went by very fast it seemed.

But…I was there for Chevelle, so was excited for this point in the show.  The buzz was that this was the end of Chevelle, as they were going to concentrate on family, but I can’t find anything that corroborates that.  With bassist Bernardini departing the band in December, it will be interesting to see what the brothers Loeffler do.  I’ve seen Chevelle quite a few times and had the opportunity to sit with all three of them a few years back and do a nice long interview.   “Closure” is one of my favorite songs, as well as “Send the Pain Below,” and “The Red,” all of which were played and nicely placed in their set.  I find the intensity of Chevelle’s music and the thoughtful and relevant lyrics to be beautiful.  Selling over four million albums in the US alone, Chevelle deserve a break, but I’m hoping it isn’t true.  Their sound was beefy and heavy, and Pete’s guitars and vocals were without flaw.  While they were basically fixed in their respective spots with slight movement, the crowd was not.  We moved and danced and sang along as they reminded us why we love them so much.

Chevelle’s set for the night included:

  • Young Wicked
  • The Clincher
  • Door to Door Cannibals
  • Closure
  • Hats Off to the Bull
  • Face to the Floor
  • Vitamin R (Leading Us Along)
  • Send the Pain Below
  • The Red
  • Still Running
  • I Get it

After seeing Breaking Benjamin, I understood why they were the headliners.  The screams of anticipation for their arrival to the stage was ear-piercing.  In nearly every single song, the band was met with the crowd singing back.  The large screens allowed us close and personal shots of each band member that was somewhat hard to see and their light stage lights were dramatic and effective.  They had “guests” to the side of the stage who were able to watch up close and personal.  Likely a VIP option, they were headbanging like their life depended on it.  The cool tie died tapestry that hung fixed behind the stage felt right for the mood and sound that they provided.  Breaking Benjamin encouraged crowd participation, often asking if we were still having a good time.  At the mid-point Banjamin Burnley asked “How many of you out there are nerds just like me”?  “I’m sending this out to all my fucking nerd friends…Star Wars and shit…but especially all of you guys, if you are like me, and like the Dark Side!”  The crowd went crazy when the drums started…dah dah da dada da…. dah dah da dada da and they broke into a medley of “The Imperial March/Cowboys from Hell, Smells Like Teen Spirit, Bohemian Rhapsody, Enter Sandman, Bulls on Parade, followed by a drum solo.  Proving why they were the headliners, Breaking Benjamin closed the night with “Rain,” and “The Diary of Jane.”

Their entire set list included:

  • Red Cold River
  • I will Not Bow
  • Never Again
  • Breath
  • Sugarcoat
  • Polyamorous
  • The Imperial March/Cowboys from Hell, Smells Like Teen Spirit, Bohemian Rhapsody, Enter Sandman, Bulls on Parade
  • Drum solo
  • Sooner or Later
  • Blow Me Away
  • So Cold
  • Angels Fall
  • Dance with the Devil
  • Failure
  • Torn in Two
  • Encore: Rain
  • Encore: The Diary of Jane