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Cherry Pop

Concert Reviews
Puddle Of Mudd
(The Fillmore Detroit, MI - February 6th, 2010)

Temperatures hovering near freezing did nothing to keep the masses away from the Fillmore theatre on Saturday night. The marquis outside the building warmly welcomed concertgoers, promising them a rocking experience. And so it was, with Puddle of Mudd, Shinedown, and Skillet comprising the bill for the evening.

At 7:28 PM, the lights dimmed, and Skillet took the stage. I had long since been a fan of the band, but had never had the chance to see them live, until now. "Let’s get this party started!” front man John Cooper shouted to the crowd, who were eager to warm themselves up before the main event began.

Skillet pounded out their song 'Hero' under the glow of blue and white lights. They played a few more numbers, eventually coming to an admittedly cheesy “love song” called 'Believe.' The most-anticipated part of their set came with the absolute jams 'Monster' and 'Rebirthing,' essentially the two biggest singles from Skillet’s most recent two albums.

But before they left the stage, Cooper addressed a very important subject, one that was undoubtedly on everyone’s mind: Naming the band. “Yes,” he said, “we were named after a frying pan, and yes, I think it’s stupid, too!”

The set changes happened at a steady pace, and by 8:15, Skillet’s banner was peeled back to reveal that of Puddle of Mudd: A winged cross with a human eye in the middle that stared expectantly into the crowd. “Get up out of your seats and have a good time!” commanded Mudd lead vocalist Wes Scantlin.

On that cue, the bassist and guitarist let fly several beach balls into the audience, which bounced around throughout the opening numbers 'Control' and 'Famous.' After that point, the beach balls mysteriously vanished and were replaced with the simultaneous pumping of fists. Bassist Doug Ardito launched his half-full water bottle into the raucous crowd during the intro to their current radio hit 'Spaceship.' Oddly enough, it wasn’t the only beverage to be tossed about over the course of the evening.

'Blood On The Table’s ending was punctuated not by the cheers or whistles or devil-horn hand gestures that had accompanied the set thus far, but rather, spirit fingers; an action that I found to be wholly amusing. We were then told to high-five and get to know our neighbors, which for me ended up being a few biker-looking guys and their girlfriends. During this little lull in the music, I repeatedly heard one fellow behind me mistakenly refer to singer Wes Scantlin as actor Wesley Snipes.

As the case of mistaken identity carried on, I took notice that while Scantlin didn’t resemble Snipes in the slightest, he did look a little like the late Nirvana vocalist Kurt Cobain; with his long, blonde hair and even the flair with which he played the music.

Either way, I’m sure Scantlin would be flattered to hear of the comparisons. Drummer Ryan Yerdon officially became the hardest-working member of the band during 'Take It All Away.' His steady, driving backbeat propelled the audience onward to synchronic, side-to-side arm waves.

By now, it was midway through the set, and Scantlin decided to show a little love to not only the audience, but also to the crew, and press. “Thank God for Detroit,” he exclaimed, “and thank God for the Fillmore!” A few seconds later, the band plunged into 'Stoned,' one of those appropriate-for-the-occasion fan-favorite songs. During the number, a few of the rowdier front-row members attempted to start a mosh-pit, but couldn’t get everyone else to join in.

When 'Stoned' was finished, Scantlin gave a quick “Thank you, goodnight,” and the four members began to walk offstage. Greeted by boos, they quickly returned, grinning slyly, as though proud that their gag had fooled the audience. To reassure that they weren’t going anywhere anytime soon, Puddle of Mudd performed another crowd pleaser, the lyrically simplistic - yet incredibly catchy - 'Psycho.' There was an overwhelming sense of audience participation with another quasi-mosh happening at the chorus.

Paying homage to the hard rock masters that came before them, the band performed a cover of AC/DC’s 'TNT' that was nothing short of - excuse the pun - explosive! Until now, the people up in the balcony had all but been forgotten by those of us in the thick of things on the main floor. Looking up, one could clearly see that the folks up top weren’t as wild as the rest of us, but no less crazy.

Scantlin then took things down a notch with a softer, acoustic batch of songs including 'Already Gone.' The other three members reappeared just in time for their set-closer, 'She Hates Me.' The tune dissolved in the middle, and eventually morphed into the chorus of 'Summer Nights' from Grease. Guitarist Paul Phillips shredded the lead guitar right back into 'She Hates Me' which ended on a big rock and roll flourish.

And then they were done. As the way was being prepared for Shinedown, Puddle of Mudd’s set was dismantled to the tune of their final number being played in a Vince Guaraldi-esque piano motif.

The night wore on, but the crowd was still going strong, and Shinedown’s appearance at 9:27 PM only seemed to further electrify the atmosphere. The area closest to the stage was almost completely packed, and all of the sardines were raring for what they were convinced was going to be another awesome addition to the evening. But Shinedown wasn’t a hit with everyone - I found the lyrics to at least their first three songs nearly impossible to decipher!

The songs seemed harder than the band I’d heard on the radio mere hours before. 'If You Only Knew' was the singular bright spot, spared, somehow, of the ferocity that plagued other numbers. Frontman Brent Smith addressed the crowd with the news that no one was really surprised to hear: The concert had sold out two nights in a row.

At one point, Smith jumped into the audience and hung around the first few rows, instructing everyone to jump around…and jump around. After the expected 10:30 PM end time passed, the band finally decided it would be a good idea to make their final statement: Sometimes goodbye is a second chance.

I acquired a pair of tickets to a concert full of bands I’d never seen, had hardly heard of, and would have been quick to denounce. But together, Skillet, Shinedown, and Puddle of Mudd - especially Puddle of Mudd -broadened my musical horizons, and in the process, rocked my socks off!

Review by: Ashley Trombley

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