LIVE: Three Days Grace / Bad Wolves @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire

By Penny Bennett

The night’s opening act was US rock band Bad Wolves, and it would appear that they were almost equally as popular as Three Days Grace among those in attendance. Despite only forming in 2017, and having just released their debut album earlier this year, with each song the band played the energy in the room increased, their stage presence electric. Suddenly Dan Waite, the band’s label manager came on stage to make an announcement. For those who don’t know, Bad Wolves recorded a version of ‘Zombie’ by ‘The Cranberries’ that has gone on to be pretty massive (over 150m views on Youtube alone!). Dolores O’Riordan was the original singer for ‘The Cranberries’ and was set to guest on this cover, but sadly passed away on the day they were due to hit the studio. The band decided to donate all proceeds from the release to the singer’s four children, a beautiful gesture. Waite used the opportunity to announce that so far they had raised in excess of $250,000 and rewarded the band members a diamond disk, a wonderful sentiment. What followed was an emotional rendition of the track, sang by every member of the audience, and lit by thousands of waving torches and lighters – an extremely special moment, rarely seen in response to a support band. In fact, by the end of the set it almost felt like the end of the night, and I had almost forgotten that the headline band were still yet to play, such was the impact made. Bad Wolves are definitely a group on the ascendancy. With their stage presence and crowd-winning performance, it was very clear to see how they’ve become so popular and I can honestly say that in myself, they have gained a new fan.

 Just when you thought the energy and excitement in the room couldn’t get any higher, Bon Jovi’s ‘Livin’ on a prayer’ begins playing and the crowd erupts with every person singing louder than the next. Going in strong the band open with ‘The Mountain’ from the latest album. Bad Wolves had set the bar high, but one song in and Three Days Grace had done matched them, their stage presence, live sound and their complete ownership of the crowd truly of a professional calibre. There was a real sense of unity in the venue which was brilliant to witness, fans old and new, all under one roof completely immersed and enjoying themselves. What this band’s members do so well is to make each person in the room feel connected, working the venue and not just a small designated part of the stage. Their lyrics and melodies are very simple, yet remain engaging, and perhaps most importantly, relatable. After a handful of new and old tracks we are treated to an interlude where the band play and short acoustic set. Going from full scale mosh pits and shouting to complete stillness and tranquillity, Matt’s vocals truly ring out.

Now the moment I and the many others were most looking forward to, the most recognised drum fill of the early 2000’s, ‘I hate everything about you’. Starting the track by getting the two half’s of the crowd to chant “I” and “HATE”, going back and forth getting faster and faster. It took me straight back to my early teens and sounded note perfect live. This for me was the highlight of the evening, as predictable as it may haver been, it was no less special a moment.

After finishing the set, leaving and returning to the stage after the crowd demanded an encore, we were treated to three more tracks, the last being a real crowd pleaser in ’Riot’ where they were joined on stage by two “hard-core fans”. Then it was all over, the show ending the same way as it starts with the crowd chanting ‘Three Days Grace’ over and over. This band has continued to make music that speaks to their fans on many different levels. As well as adapting to the times they have managed to stick to their roots, there’s no pretence, just good ol’ fashioned rock. This is why they deserve their continued success spanning over a decade, why a fantastic evening was had by all, and why I now need to go back and catch up on the bands discography.