CHEVELLE: September 17, 2023 @ Mystic Lake Event Center, Prior Lake, MN

Music unites people in a way few other things can, and the sold-out show at the Mystic Lake Showroom in Prior Lake, Minnesota can testify to that. On Sunday evening, September 17th, a couple of thousand metal fans poured into the Casino to watch the epic tour featuring some of the finest in Hard Rock: Chevelle, Three Days Grace, and Loathe. 

The first act to open the night was the English Metalcore band, Loathe (Kadeem France- vocals, Feisal El-Khazragi-bass, Sean Radcliffe-drums, Erik Bickerstaffe- guitar).  With much intensity, this band started playing their six-song setlist, with nearly every song coming from their 2020 album, “I Let It In and It Took Everything.” Being the heaviest band on the tour, I think Loathe shocked the hard rock audience a bit when started with “Aggressive Evolution.” Frontman, Kadeem France hyped up the crowd as he screamed out the lyrics to “New Faces in the Dark” and “Heavy Is the Head That Falls With the Weight of a Thousand Thoughts.” The band did grace everyone with their song, “White Hot,” from an EP titled “This Is as One” before closing out their set with “Screaming” and “Is It Really You?” This was my first time seeing the band and they won me over.

Next, as “Jump Around” played over the speakers, Three Days Grace emerged from behind the stage.  The opening notes rang out and Matt Walst’s powerful vocals began the band’s first single, “So Called Life” from their latest album.  Until this point, we all felt as though we were already rocking, but this Canadian quartet delivered a new energy into the room, bringing the crowd even more to life with their 2006 single, “Animal I Have Become.”  The band then played two more songs from their earlier albums, “Home,” “The Good Life,” and “Pain.” 

My youngest son’s favorite song is “The Mountain” and it’s too bad he couldn’t attend the show with me because the band sounded great performing it. The visuals on the screens behind the band were mesmerizing. Frontman, Matt Walst, introduced the song “Painkiller,” reminding everyone that it was their first single since he joined the band in 2013. Next, stools were brought out on stage for Barry and Matt and they did a semi-acoustic version of “World So Cold” until Neil and Brad joined in for an epic finish. The fun was not over, however, because Matt invited two brave fans on stage to sing along to “Just Like You.” The two ladies seemed quite nervous but had the crowd’s support– everyone was singing along as well.

The band continued with the fast-paced song, “Break,” followed by the emotional, “Lifetime,” off their latest album, “Explosions.” The lights went out and a video played on the screen behind the stage. In the video, Brad and Neil introduced how the band wrote their very first single, “I Hate Everything About You,” which they then proceeded to play. To end their set, these four rockers closed with “Never Too Late” and “Riot.”  There was not a disappointed fan in the event center.  You can tell that Three Days Grace has a ton of fun playing together live. The band sounds amazing live and when you combine that with Matt’s energy (Twice running out into the crowd) you get a show that few bands can surpass.

The headlining band was the mighty Chevelle. (Made up of brothers Pete and Sam Loeffler and touring bassist, Kemble Walters of Aeges) Before seeing Chevelle play a show in Minneapolis last summer, I hadn’t seen the band play live in nearly twenty years and was surprised at how well they performed. I knew we could expect another amazing show and was psyched to see them again. Their setlist started strong with their instrumental track “Verruckt” from their latest album, “Niratias” and “An Island” from 2014’s La Gárgola.”  Frontman Pete Loeffler impresses me with his ability to perform the lead vocal duties while simultaneously playing the band’s only guitar.  The stage was decorated with impressive lighting and featured the drum kit parallel with the guitar and bass. Normally, it is much harder to see the drummer in the back of the stage but Sam was up close and fun to watch. The crowd went wild on songs like Door to Door Cannibals and Vitamin R (Leading Us Along).

Chevelle has been making music since 1995 and the well-balanced setlist included hit after hit from their extensive catalog. Those fairly new to the band recognized “Joyride (Omen),” “Self Destructor,” and “Piisol Star (Gravity Heals)” and anyone familiar with the band’s radio hits was singing along with “Face to the Floor” and “The Clincher.”  They also stunned older fans by performing four songs (!) from their album Wonder What’s Next: “Send the Pain Below,” “Forfeit,” “Comfortable Liar,” and “The Red.” It was nostalgic as I had listened to that album so many times when I was in High School. The Illinois-based band ended their set with 2007’s “I Get It” and their latest single, “Mars Simula.” It was an amazing and memorable night. If you haven’t seen any of these bands live before, you are seriously missing out!

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