Nicely timed to follow their new album Dark Horse, Nickelback's latest DVD, Live At Sturgis, which has been on the books for ages, has now reached its moment in the sun. Filmed two years ago at the Rockin' The Rally show at the infamous Sturgis bike rally, it's a snappy twelve track blast highlighting everything that is good and bad about Nickelback.
Now, don't get me wrong. I like Nickelback. I remember buying a ticket to see them play a club show at the Glasgow Garage just as Silver Side Up came out. The show was moved to the bigger Barrowlands, and I was completely blown away by the still relatively unknown Canadians. Even then they were unashamed of putting on a show, playing to the crowd and wanton in their use of flashbombs and pyro — just what I want in a live rock 'n' roll show.
Seen here at a 40,000-strong biker rally, they demonstrate that still know how to work a crowd. And with fifteen high-definition cameras filming, they allow viewers to be right in the middle of the show, which features songs from Silver Side Up, The Long Road and All The Right Reasons.
They kick things off with "Animals," a by-the-numbers, post-grunge song which is dull in the extreme, and one of the problems I have with Nickelback. For every great song, there is a deathly stale one lurking around. So it's a relief when they follow up with the infinitely better "Woke Up This Morning" and "Photograph." The latter is a fine demonstration of the blue-collar rock sound that the American Midwest rightly laps up.
Yet for every "Never Again" there also remains a "Someday," and it's this kind of inconsistency that infuriates me. However, the Sturgis crowd, fueled on a week of bikes, booze and breasts, are more than up for the show.