CONCERT REVIEW: Nickelback and Pop Evil at the Hard Rock’s Battery Park

Nickelback performs at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino's Battery Park on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Photo by Sara Alexander.

Words by Sara Alexander

Nickelback and Pop Evil tore up the stage at Sioux City Hard Rock’s Battery Park Tuesday night, July 24, 2018. The show was part of Nickelback’s Feed the Machine tour and did not disappoint.

Michigan band Pop Evil brought high energy with “Ways to Get High” to open the show. Front man Leigh Kakaty stormed the stage and demanded crowd participation. Maybe because it was early or a Tuesday or some other reason, but the crowd refused. The band certainly had their work cut out for them.

It wasn’t until around the middle of the set that Sioux City began to give. The crowd finally joined in for “Footsteps,” and Kakaty proclaimed, “There’s no better feeling when your fans, no, your friends, sing your songs back to you.” He then asked how many were seeing Pop Evil for the first time. The response was overwhelming, and it clearly explained why the crowd was so difficult to break.

Pop Evil wrapped their set with the head banger, “Trenches,” during which Kakaty decided to join the crowd. He disappeared from sight but soon appeared in the pit being held up by guards and fans. It was expected that he’d then return to the stage, but his journey didn’t stop there. He continued to sing while making his way all the way through the crowd to the elevated V.I.P. seating area, which he scaled to the top.

After their set was completed Kakaty stuck around in the crowd to greet and take photos with fans, mostly of whom he had just gained. Overall, the group brought the energy and fun their shows have come to be known for, and Kakaty impressively won over a crowd that most would have either given up on or not been able to do.

Soon the most hated band in rock, Nickelback, took the stage. The Canadian rockers opened their set with “Million Miles an Hour.” Soon after, front man Chad Kroeger greeted and joked with the crowd, as well as those outside the venue in nearby buildings and on lawns. In fact, banter was common throughout the show, especially between Kroeger and guitarist Ryan Peake.

Nickelback was highly engaged with the crowd. They even featured guests from the audience for a few of their songs. For “Rockstar,” Kroeger invited three girls on stage to sing with him. Let’s be honest; they have no chance at a even a mediocre singing career, but they didn’t miss a word of the song and made for some extra entertainment. On “Animals,” a man was called on stage and given a guitar. He impressed the band with his guitar playing skills and enjoyed showing off for his big rockstar moment.

Nickelback played many of their numerous hits, including “Photograph”, “How You Remind Me”, “Figured You Out”, and more, and played them well. One song missing from the set was “Feed the Machine,” surprising given that it’s the name of the tour, recent album, first single from said album, and maybe the best song they’ve put out in years.

Overall, the band sounded tight and pleasingly less overproduced than on their records. In addition, the band members interacted with the audience in a way that made them quite likeable. If you’re one of the many who hates Nickelback, you’d probably hate them less after seeing them live. I mean, I’m not exactly a fan, and they had even me singing along.