The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

Carnival of Madness

August 7 - DTE Energy Music Theatre, Clarkston, MI



Who knows what Madness this Carnival will hold? I look at the list of performers once again and am still trying to make the connection between them. Headliners Shinedown have collected a group of talented and diverse musicians guaranteeing they have different fan bases to grab at least a couple new fans during the course of the tour, let alone tonight in Detroit (Clarkston, but hey, we are close enough to the Rock City). The show tonight includes road veterans Sevendust, Puddle of Mudd, Chevelle and the stars of the evening, Shinedown. On the way to the show, I listen to Shinedown's latest, 'The Sound of Madness' and my passenger (and concert wingman) questions, "Is this a greatest hits album?" He is astounded by how many songs he has heard on the radio from this disc, yet isn't a fan of the band. I tell him to strap himself in for a fun ride at the Carnival tonight, as he just may come away with a new perception of this band.



Sevendust is the oddest addition, in my opinion, to this tour. Last time I saw them, they were on tour with Ozzfest, when it was still a touring festival. I thought they were very well suited to that genre of rock, but understand the addition to this tour. The band is heavy without being HEAVY. If there is any doubt as to the reason they are out on tour with Shinedown, that doubt is removed when they hit the stage. The high energy and obvious love of performing is the first thing you notice. It amazes me as every guy on stage is smiling. As they move through their set list, those smiles don't fade. They are truly having a good time with each other, the crowd, and playing their hits. The band sounds better live than they have in the past. Touring seems to agree with them. If you get the chance, I strongly recommend you get a ticket and experience Sevendust.





Next on the schedule is Puddle of Mudd. Wes and the boys are the quintessential garage band that never quite made it as big as their peers (think Nickelback or Three Doors Down). It is apparent they don't want to let that preconceived notion slow them down. The band takes the stage and plugs through the hits from their catalog, never once letting up or pulling any punches. Wes is a man of few words during the show, opting to forgo the conversation to allow maximum time performing.


Puddle of Mudd




Chevelle is scheduled next. I don't know much about them, so am ready with an open mind to check them out. I understand they are collecting quite the following. To be honest, from the time they hit the stage until we are moved from the photo area, I am not impressed. Many of the attendees are singing along to the songs and know the lyrics, but musically and visually, there is nothing here for me. The music is fine, but nothing that left me with any desire to run out and buy a CD.





Finally the wait is over and we are gearing up to be treated to Shinedown. They are touring to support their third album, 'The Sound of Madness.' The wait is worth it, as the venue goes dark and we are instantly thrust into a carnival atmosphere with the strobe and spiral lighting. The shadows of the band being cast upon a curtain covering the stage add to the mystique of the impending show. As strands of the first song of the evening, "Sound of Madness" fills the air, the crowd's energy and enthusiasm are instantly peaking. Brent Smith makes his way to the front of the stage donning a top hat and cane, conjuring images of PT Barnum and his circus filled with entertainers. The lead vocalist leads his band of performers and his audience on a nearly two-hour adventure that covers songs from all three of their albums, plus bonus tracks. They fill the set with soundtrack songs from both the Alice in Wonderland and Expendables movies in addition to throwing out a bonus track from the fan club edition of their latest album. This track, "Son of Sam," which is said to have stirred all types of controversy, makes me run home that evening and track down a copy online. The band sounds great and the musicianship is top notch. It is interesting to see a band so young (in terms of album releases) command a stage and crowd the way Shinedown does. Brent even interjects a story about his grandmother, which makes you enjoy the band a little more. Gotta love it when it becomes a little more personal.





This rock fan leaves the Carnival hoping there will be a return visit next year. The mix of bands and performances overall guarantee I will plunk down my dollars to revisit the Madness.

This review and great experience would not have been possible without the assistance of Julie Lichtenstein of SKH Music (

Todd Jolicouer

September 2010