The guys in Shinedown brought their Attention Attention tour to the Seattle area Friday night, treating fans to a night of straightforward rock at accesso ShoWare Center in Kent. The evening began at 6:30 when the first band, Broken Hands, took the stage. The band, who hails from England and has a healthy social media following, performed a short set of catchy songs enveloped in a distorted sound that balanced well with the singer’s clear voice. They were followed by Dinosaur Pile Up, also from England. This band’s sound was more difficult to define, as it switched between straightforward rock reminiscent of Green Day, to hard-rock rap. Dinosaur Pile Up’s short and lively set began to wake the crowd, which was further energized by the third band on the bill, Badflower, from LA. The band commanded the stage and the crowd and judging by the conversations around me, converted many new fans during their slightly longer set.
During the lull between Badflower and Shinedown, my sister and I noticed a small stage set up on the floor in front of our section (102). If you’ve been to a Seattle Thunderbirds hockey game at accesso ShoWare Center, you’ll know section 102 is behind one of the goaltenders. For the show, we were directly opposite from the stage, and even though there really isn’t a bad seat in the place, we were hard-pressed to see the expressions of any of the performers. So… when we noticed the small stage in front of our area, we were curiously hopeful we’d get to see the guys up close. More on this later.
The piped-in ‘80s rock music ended abruptly, replaced by the theme from one of the Indiana Jones movies (I don’t know which one). That song played in its entirety before Shinedown took the stage. The band cranked out song after song, the majority from four of its six albums, starting with “Devil,” the first single off its latest album, Attention Attention. The band was in fine form, led by Brent Smith’s powerful vocals, complemented by guitarist Zach Myers, bassist Eric Bass, and drummer Barry Kerch. The band effortlessly mixed in songs from Attention Attention (“Monsters”,”Black Soul”, “Get Up”, “and the closer, “Brilliant”), with favorites from The Sound of Madness and Amaryllis.
About midway through the set, the band left the main stage and climbed onto the mini-stage set up in front of my area, where they slowed things down a bit with “Call Me,” followed by “How Did You Love,” (from Threat to Survival), a song guitarist Zach Myers says the band rarely plays. They followed that up with a lively singalong to “Second Chance,” perhaps Shinedown’s most commercially successful single. The songs were interspersed with banter between band members and the audience.
The lights went down, and as the band members made their way back to the main stage, a photo of Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington appeared and an acoustic version of “Numb” played overhead. Audience members held up phone flashlights and sang along. As the final strains of “Numb” faded out, the photo of Chester faded, to be replaced by a photo of Chris Cornell, which resulted in a roar from the crowd. Brent and Zach appeared on stage and sang a poignant rendition of Soundgarden‘s “Black Hole Sun,” again accompanied by a crowd, many of whom were seen wiping away tears. How do you move on from such an emotional tribute? The rest of the band retook the stage and led the crowd through one more acoustic singalong – Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man,” followed by “Get Up”, an uplifting and butt-kicking ballad from Attention Attention. Shinedown wrapped up the solid set with the popular “Sound of Madness” and ‘Brilliant” (another song from the new album).
I’m relatively new to Shinedown fandom. I’d heard a handful of songs but didn’t see them in concert for the first time until the Tacoma Dome in 2016, when they toured supporting Sixx: AM. I saw them again in 2018, this time at the Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett when they opened for Godsmack. Each time, I found them to be a solid live band, giving the crowd exactly what they wanted – clear, powerful vocals, solid musical backup, entertaining banter, and a great light show. I appreciated the simple yet meaningful tribute to Chester Bennington and Seattle’s own Chris Cornell, two singers who have helped shape the rock music universe, and whose sudden and tragic losses are still so painfully and deeply felt. As I write these words, my heart is constricting, remembering the emotions running through the arena last night.
Seeing Shinedown step out of the supporting role into a headlining spot was a real treat. Judging by the crowd size in Kent and the enthusiasm of the fans, we can expect to see Shinedown roll through the Seattle area again (and again).