Disturbed / Shinedown - Manchester Apollo - 6.10.08

‘Disturbed’ attract a certain type of audience, a unique but committed audience, and the crowd at Manchester Apollo tonight were no exception.

Opening the night was American act ‘Shinedown’. Their brand of US power rock started slowly but developed into a great warm-up performance for ‘Disturbed’. Even though the punters were waiting for something a little heavier, ‘Shinedown’s soaring vocals, blended neatly with classic rock style guitar work, did not fail to please the crowd. As ‘Shinedown’ continued through their set, they added in interesting guitar solos straight from Steve Vai’s instruction manual, and led the audience through chants that would literally raise the roof. It is clear to see how ‘Shinedown’ are popular with a particular American market, and tonight their performance did impress the English listeners. However, apart from a select few, I’m not sure how many of the English listeners would go home and look them up.

Half an hour passed, and by this point ninety five percent of people in the room were wearing a ‘Disturbed’ t-shirt; it was clear who everyone was here to see. The excitement in the arena was peaking, and the energy displayed by devout fans was creating an impressive atmosphere. The lights then dimmed, bringing a massive roar from the crowd. When brought back up, the lights revealed front man ‘David Draiman’ in a straight jacket and Hannibal Lecter-type mask, a creative and effective start to an impressive musical display.

Pacing up and down the front of the stage, ‘David Draimen’ led ‘Disturbed’ through their own brand of music that borders on ‘grunge-metal’ – and the crowd loved it. Opening with ‘Perfect Insanity’, the front man’s unique vocal style shone through, almost over-shadowing the rest of the band’s fairly average on-stage performance.

‘David Draimen’ does have an enviably ‘huge’ voice. However, it could be used so much more effectively. Instead, he sometimes resorts to a unique technique of quickly delivered vocal lines, which, whilst done well, can quickly become annoying for someone who is not quite as much a devout fan.

It’s only a small criticism, and ‘Disturbed’ are still one of the best bands on the metal scene today. Tonight proved this. Songs performed so perfectly, such as ‘Just Stop’, ‘Breathing’, ‘Stricken’ and ‘Defy You’, displayed a musical talent that massively overshadows other such bands that attempt the same thing. The highlight for me came in the form of an excellent drum solo that peaked as it blended into the familiar beat for ‘Disturbed’s most popular track, ‘Down With The Sickness’, a song that any self-respecting rock or metal fan has in their collection.

Words: Edward Lewis
Photos: www.markforrer.co.uk

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