Shinedown kicks off their all new UK tour in style at the O2 Academy Newcastle.

Following a recent appearance at Download Festival over the summer, Shinedown are back in the UK as part of an extensive tour in support of their new album Attention Attention. Due to unprecedented demand, tonight’s show on Tyneside along with the rest of the dates on this run have long since sold out.

Tonight’s impressive triple bill gets underway with Croydon based outfit Press To Meco. The band showcase tracks from their latest Marshall Records release Here’s To The Fatigue including the incredibly catchy “Familiar Ground” and the title track itself. The beauty of Press To Meco’s distinctive sound is their unique blend of melodic three-part vocal harmonies and crunchy guitar riffs, which in turn sets them apart from the rest. The three-piece get the large crowd in attendance warmed up on what is a bitterly cold night in Newcastle.

Each band on tonight’s line-up brings something different to the proceedings and Starset is no exception to that rule. Whilst several of the band perform in space suits, frontman Dustin Bates treads the boards with a rucksack fastened to his back whilst astrological themed projections play at the rear of the stage. For a short while, it begins to feel like the crowd has been invited to participate in some kind of NASA space mission. Starset presents a dramatic soundscape which perfectly adds to and heightens their overall live experience.

Starset’s setlist draws from their last two album Transmissions and Vessels respectively, although centring on the latter. Stand out tracks include the band’s hit single “Monster” and “Die For You” along with old favourite “My Demons”. The group deliver somewhat of an audio-visual experience which blurs the lines between music, art and sci-fi to great effect and without a doubt make a huge impact on their first visit to Newcastle.

By the time headliners Shinedown hits the stage the excitement in the room is reaching fever pitch. The US-based quartet let the crowd know they mean business from the off in what is a high octane opening featuring “Sound of Madness”, “Diamond Eyes” and “Cut The Chord”.

By the third song in the set frontman Brent Smith is in the pit in front of the stage greeting the fans, adding to the up close and personal feel for tonight’s show.

One thing that is immediately apparent is the scale of tonight’s production, the likes of which you would only usually see in arenas. With a video wall at the rear, ramps and risers along with a laser light show that would make even Pink Floyd a tad envious, you can see Shinedown’s intent was to put on one hell of a rock show. Let’s just say their mission was accomplished in that respect.

The band’s relentless energy and passionate delivery spur on the crowd all night long. The fans sing wholeheartedly during a setlist that is embellished with explosive arena-filling anthems from top to bottom.

A sea of swaying cell phone lights illuminates the whole room during what is a breathtaking rendition of “State of My Head”. Likewise, Smith parts the crowd and ventures into the centre of the room in the build-up to “Enemies” before orchestrating the madness during a frantic airing of the aforementioned number. It goes without saying that the Shinedown frontman commands the stage all night long.

Of course, there is plenty of room for tracks from Shinedown’s latest release with five cuts from Attention Attention featuring in the band’s sixteen song setlist. This includes an emphatic rendition of “Black Soul”, the band’s anthemic lead single “Devil” along with the infectious “Get Up”. The latter of which has a sound which has crossover appeal. With each of these tracks, you can truly hear the evolution of Shinedown’s sound and they certainly strike a chord with the Tyneside crowd in attendance tonight.

As the band head towards to end of their set Smith and Myers take centre stage together for a beautiful acoustic performance of “Second Chance” which is followed by their stripped back take on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s timeless classic “Simple Man”. Tonight’s finale sees the full band return to the stage to bring the show to a rather fitting close with a track from their latest album simply titled “Brilliant”; and aren’t they just.

It’s fair to say that tonight Shinedown most certainly grabbed the Geordie’s ‘Attention’!

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Event Date: 29-Oct-2018

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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