Review & photos by Rachel Jablonski
The 60 minute drive from Cedar Rapids to Waterloo, IA consisted of a pleasant progression of smells from pig to manure to skunk. I had never been to a show in Waterloo; in fact I had never been there period, but I was thankful for the welcoming aromas and was sincerely hoping that they were not foreshadowing the show to come.
Arriving at McElroy Auditorium the aura was a rather mom n’ pop type feel despite the venue’s ability to hold up to 7,000 people for concerts. Once inside, the bright outdoors slowly became masked in darkness as the auditorium displayed no lighting other than that of the stage. The stage itself was placed freely about one-fourth the way out from one end of the auditorium. The big and energetic crowd, many seen breaking concert rule #1 of never wearing the t-shirt of the band you are seeing, was ready and enthusiastically waited for their headliner.
A stick of incense lit and mounted center stage to create a spiritual mood, headliners Sevendust wasted no time setting off their fluid heaviness with “Hero,” an intensity that would carry throughout the set. As always, drummer Morgan Rose produced a spark with his animated drumming and piercing backup vocal contributions. Crowd favorites were played one after another provoking the audience. The wait to hear a personal favorite, “Bitch,” was long as the band wrapped up the set with that song, “Pieces,” and finally “Face to Face.”
Slightly out of place displaying more of a rock/bluesy sound than the harder rock edge of the bands Sevendust, Nonpoint, and Wicked Wisdom on the bill, Socialburn gave their all to please the audience with tracks mostly from their latest release The Beauty of Letting Go. A stage presence full of energy, but wihtout a lot of movement, vocalist Neil Alday sang intensely while playing rhythm guitar. The sound and live show, reminiscent of Puddle of Mudd slightly perhaps, was entertaining, but would have been much more effective in a smaller venue.
Fronting Wicked Wisdom, the voice of Jada Pinkett Smith resounded in the auditorium. Wearing blue jeans with knee high black boots over top and a black tank top, the appalling outfit seemed to match the quality of the band’s sound. Though the heavy background music could be appreciable, the vocals of Smith were not well suited for any hard rock venue. The broken up lyrics more spoken than sung, occasional growls, and mediocre singing by both Smith and the backup vocalists paralleled the aromas enjoyed on the drive to Waterloo.