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October 17, 2018

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Review: Three Days Grace graces the Joint with new frontman Matt Walst

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Billboard.com

New Three Days Grace frontman Matt Walst.

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New Three Days Grace frontman Matt Walst.

Click to enlarge photo

New Three Days Grace frontman Matt Walst.

Three Days Grace Human Race

Canadian alternative metal band Three Days Grace has become as commonplace as apple pie over its 17-year music stint.

With a recent transition in the band’s architecture as frontman Matt Walst became the official replacement for former singer-songwriter Adam Gontier in 2014, critics wondered what structure would be built with their 2015 album “Human” and subsequent tour.

Las Vegas was about to find out with the Friday night show at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel.

While Walst recently received his Three Days Grace title, he has been part of the family since the band’s inception. Walst is the younger brother of Three Days Grace bassist Brad Walst and assisted in writing the self-titled debut album and forth studio album, “Transit to Venus.”

The newly renovated band began its set with “I Am Machine,” the second single from “Human.” The biomechanical backdrop from the album’s cover seemed fitting, as this machine appeared to have undergone a smooth transition from past to present.

The gears kept turning as Walst un-mechanically marched into former chart-toppers “Pain” and “Just Like You.” If critics had questioned his ability to take over the throne, the Las Vegas audience seemed unfazed by the “Human” transition of Gontier to Walst.

“Thank you! F*ck, I love Vegas, man! You can gamble, you can drink on the streets, you can party all night!” said Walst to an eager Las Vegas crowd. “Who’s f*cking partying tonight? In Las Vegas, it’s always a f*cking party!”

This party was an amalgamate of old and new, embodying the former sound with a slightly more aggressive undertone. The latest album is darker, dirtier and angrier than “Days” past.

Place that in combination with a grittier frontman, and there is a new depth that welcomes seasoned and new fans alike.

In addition to the standard set repertoire, the show had a few honorable mentions. Keyboardist Dani Rosenoer soothed the crowd with a melodically eerie solo, followed by a 5-minute jackhammer drum solo by stickman Neil Sanderson.

While Sanderson’s drums tend to be straight in complexity, his sound has been the consistent backbone of Three Days Grace that has kept this “Human” standing upright.

One of the Three Day’s tour mainstays has been playing a cover of Limp Bizkit’s “Break Stuff” with tour manager Shawn “Hammer” Hamm. “Hammer” hammered the show home, with his funky rock/rap vocals and amped up the crowd for a nailed-in finish.

The show concluded with the 2006 hit “Riot” as Walst finished the set with a guttural growl and figure skating-esque full rotation jump from the upper stage to the floor.

Three Days Grace has a past and present, and with Matt Walst the band appears to have a promising future. His influence on past albums can be felt, and he brings a familiarity to the current presentation that won’t leave any veteran Three Days Grace fan disappointed.

Melina Robinson is a Las Vegas-based freelance journalist.

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