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Three Days Grace & Chevelle // Live at Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater // 9.9.23

Article and photos by: Wendy Podmenik Woodell

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA– A Saturday night and the rainy weather was clearing out…with Chevelle and Three Days Grace doing a co-headlining tour. VUHLA was proudly hosting the second date of the five week long event.

First band on tap was Liverpool’s LOATHE, a widely buzzed-about nu-metalcore band that has already won recognition from Metal Hammer and Revolver magazines. Lead vocalist Kadeem France kicked and danced across the stage, with frequent wide smiles directed at the appreciative audience, some of whom were wearing band merch and there specifically for LOATHE. Their sound is heavy with a mix of clean and dirty vocals, with some experimentation in blending atmospheric qualities with grinding guitar. Their six song set opened with “Aggressive Evolution” from their 2020 album I Let It In and It Took Everything. Four other songs from the same album were also featured, the lone older pick being “White Hot” from 2017’s This is as One.

The last time Three Days Grace performed in Hampton Roads was 2019. Here now on their Explosions tour run, this Canadian band was originally formed when many of the members were still in high school. There have been a few line up changes over the decades, and now Matt Walst (brother of bassist Brad Walst) is lead vocalist. Clad in all black and wearing makeup that was reminiscent of Malcolm McDowell’s character in Clockwork Orange, Matt encouraged moshing- and the audience was up and jumping while Matt threw fingers up and reminded the rock community that they were all there to take care of each other. Leading off the evening with “So Called Life”, Three Days Grace followed up with hits “Animal I Have Become” and “I Am Machine”. Mid-set, Matt paused to address the audience, stating that he now has been with the band for ten years, and at that point ten years ago they had released “Painkiller”, which went to number one on the charts. To celebrate, he again encouraged the audience to open up a moshpit, observing, ‘This ain’t no Backstreet Boys concert”. Sweating profusely and giving an intense performance (at times with Matt climbing almost off the stage), the band was flanked by two large video screens. There was a cool-down period with a seated, partially acoustic version of “World So Cold”, as the fans sang along.

Two thirds of the way through the set, two contestants were invited on the stage to sing along (but they really mainly danced) to “Just Like You”. Further into the evening a new song was introduced as Matt asked the crowd to light up the dark night with their cell phones, a song about losing loved ones, about wishing to have the chance to say goodbye- “Lifetime” from the newest album, Explosions.

Throwing back to the band’s early history, Matt stated “We were a young and hungry band, and we wanted a song that was a dagger to the heart. We had the riffs, and the line that would change our lives forever- “I Hate Everything About You”. As Matt stood on the risers with his arms outstretched, the fans chanted the chorus enthusiastically. The set concluded with another reminder to the audience to encourage and strengthen each other when any loved one has any struggles with mental health issues, and then Matt tore off his jacket as the audience jumped along with the final song, “Let’s Start a Riot”.

Final set: power trio Chevelle. Another band, coincidentally, containing two brothers. Pete (vocals) and Sam (drums) Loeffler. Rounded out with Kemble Walters as current touring bassist, the brotherly duo have been creating since the mid-90’s. Having released nine studio albums in that span of time, Chevelle is touring to promote their concept album NIRATIAS while currently working on their next studio album. Classified as hard rock, Chevelle recently made a decision to soften their sound in a prog rock direction on their newest material while they lyrically explore concepts such as space travel.

Opening up with “Verrukt” (translation: insane) from NIRATIAS, the entire set list drew upon 7 albums. Fast forward a few songs to the thundering “Self Destructor”, as the band got heavier and heavier with the addition of guitar solos. “The Clincher”, and “Send the Pain Below”, at which point an errant, and extremely happy, fan ran upon the stage and was quickly nabbed by several security personnel. Pete made a special shout out to the audience for “The Red”, explaining it was written while the band was working out of a basement in 2001. It went on to become the lead single for their first major album. Beginning the song with guitar only, the audience sang along and Pete looked legitimately touched by the scene.

Frequently crouching over and shredding on the guitar, Pete played with sustain effects and plenty of passion. Chevelle managed to promote an atmosphere akin to that of a small club, and made the 10k plus seat amphitheater feel intimate. Ending the evening with “Mars Simula”, it was a wrap on a satisfying night of driving hard power rock.

This tour extends through October 14th; for more information on specific dates, please check websites.


Wendy Podmenik Woodell
Since entering the world of photography in 2013, WENDY PODMENIK has focused her interest on live music. Her ultimate goal is to successfully present the live music genre as an art form which preserves the expression, emotion, and energy of specific moments in time. ////// GLENN WOODELL spends his musical time working both on and around the stage. He's spent decades behind the lens as a visual artist, and for his career, studied human vision as a scientific researcher. His time on the stage these days is either spent holding on to a bass guitar or a camera.