Three scheduled acts to appear at the Iowa State Fair Grandstand in 2017 have been announced.
The Register reviews the first rock show of the 2017 Iowa State Fair.
It’s pretty easy to describe Nickelback — a band so publicly vilified that researchers have studied the root of its public hatred — simply as bad. Nearly a decade since the band’s rock radio prime, it’s a music equal to the sports writer’s Monday morning quarterback; a nod to the adage “hindsight is 20/20.” It’s not the most original statement.
But sometimes it just needs to be done.
Returning to the Iowa State Fair Grandstand for the first time since 2004, Canada’s second-most successful rock group (hello, Rush … when will y’all play the fair?) performed a 16-song set of career-spanning dollar menu rock ‘n’ roll to a crowd totaling 7,282 people. Holding the Grandstand stage for 90 minutes, the performance comes in the midst of the four-piece band supporting its ninth studio album, “Feed The Machine,” which debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 album charts.
“I like going on at 10 o'clock,” Chad Kroeger, Nickelback frontman and known hater of famed Des Moines native Corey Taylor, said early in the group’s set. “Usually they got us going on so early and because I’m such a night owl I can’t get into it until it’s really dark.”
Look at this Jägerbomb: Nickelback is a laudable live band (as the commenters in this story will ruthlessly defend) in the sense that the group plays all the right notes at the right time, eggs the crowd on when a jolt of energy is needed and brings a light and staging spectacle expected to come with a $52-$72 admission ticket.
Maybe, for some, the fuel behind the Nickelback-hating fire is the shallow songwriting. For others it may be the lack of progression shown on nine studio albums (worldwide the band has sold a reported 50 million albums, most of which were moved early in the group’s career). Maybe it's just an internet shtick that snowballed into a fast and easy way to say something’s awful.
For the band’s Des Moines show, seeing Nickelback felt like binge-watching an OK-at-best sitcom on Netflix while running a fever … a blur of “when will it get good” blandness. The spoon feeding of past-its-prime, too-little-too-late post grunge rock weighed with predictability and lacked imagination. Concert-goers should want an experience that does more to ignite the senses and explode emotions. This concert-goer wants that out of the shows he sees, at least.
Apart from from “Feed The Machine” tracks such as "Song on Fire," the band stuck primarily to fan-favorite, radio-revolved numbers during the Des Moines set: “Photograph,” “Rockstar,” “Too Bad,” "When We Stand Together," "Lullaby" and “Figured You Out” all made it into the evening’s show. Likewise, Kroger kept a rotating cup of Jägermeister shots in his hand between songs.
When not delivering misogynistic lyrics the likes of “you look so much cuter with something in your mouth” and “I like your pants around your feet … and I like the dirt that’s on your knees” or asking for a sing-along to a cover of the Eagles’ “Hotel California" chorus, the 42-year-old Kroeger encouraged the onlookers to drink with him.
“Is it time for a drinky drink?” the singer and guitarist asked the audience before the band’s fourth song. “Smells like Jägerbombs … three more of these and this train’s comin’ off the tracks.”
More Iowa State Fair reading:
- New things to see at the 2017 Iowa State Fair
- 20 things that even an Iowa State Fair fanatic can miss
- Here's where you can try the top three new foods at the Iowa State Fair
- Here's your guide to every free act at the Iowa State Fair this summer
- Iowa State Fair has new midway rides, separate amusements for children
100 in Des Moines: Mirrored against the tried antics of the evening’s headliner, fist-pumping, adrenaline-fed rock group Pop Evil brought a commendable offering of radio-ready tunes to the night’s main support slot. The band, a Wooly’s alum, performed nine tracks during the 40-minute set, including “Deal With The Devil," "100 In A 55" and "Torn to Pieces."
Pop Evil followed show opener and Missouri natives Shaman's Harvest, which performed a half-hour set. The high points from Michigan-born Pop Evil came during the military-dedicated “Trenches” and commercial favorite “Footsteps.”
“It’s our first time ever at the (Iowa State Fair),” frontman Leigh Kakaty said. “After the show I still will be going to Zombie Burger.”
This is how you remind me … how to drink Jäger: Nickelback closed its pre-encore set with an audience-pleasing rendition of “How You Remind Me” before returning for a two-song encore, starting with the nearly decade-old track “Gotta Be Somebody.”
Kroeger then took the time to get in one last drink. Well, two, actually. He downed one of his beloved Jägerbombs before asking a woman in the front row for a shot of beer to wash it down. The band closed the set with 2008’s “Burn It To The Ground.”
“I get to drink at work,” he said before the night’s closing number. “That’s a good (expletive) job right there.”
Iowa State Fair Grandstand entertainment continues Saturday with the I Love The ‘90s tour, featuring Salt N Pepa, Vanilla Ice, Coolio and more.