Shinedown sends shockwaves through St. Louis

While out on the road supporting their seventh studio album, Planet Zero, American rock veterans Shinedown stopped off in Missouri to visit St. Louis on September 5th and utterly rocked the house down at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater. It was a rock music lover’s dream as the band pressed on with a tremendous mix of old-school hits and new-school freshman tracks, covering almost everything from across the bands nearly 20 year existence. Joining the old hands on the Planet Zero World Tour was rap artist and southern musical virtuoso Jelly Roll, as well as 21-year-old college dropout John Harvie, both of which equally held their own on the big stage opening for the one and only Shinedown.

The masses came out early and in force on Monday night.

Never have I seen a line of cars that long at this particular venue, backing up all the way to cause slowdowns on the highway over two miles away, close to an hour before John Harvie was even set to hit the stage. Thankfully, I made it inside in time to see the Nashville native take the spotlight and, boy, let me tell you, there is a reason why this kid is making a name for himself so quickly after putting the collegiate ranks in his rear view and joining the music scene full-time during the pandemic. A relative newcomer to the rock scene (his debut single “Bleach (On the Rocks)” was dropped in 2021), John Harvie and his powerful, booming vocals are already being compared to some well-established artists not only in the rock world, but across multiple different genres, leading the singer to establish his latest goal of not only being the number one artist in rock music, but in all of music. 

One thing I’ve noticed over the past few years of being involved in live music is that you see artists onstage from time to time and you can tell that they look at it as ‘just a job’. True, it’s probably one of the best jobs in the world, but it’s still just a job to them. John Harvie and his band’s onstage presence was the total and complete antithesis of that. You could feel the energy pouring out of these guys; it was evident that they were so overjoyed to be able to be in front of a live crowd performing their music, especially with the amount of uncertainty pertaining to in-person gatherings over the last two-plus years.

I would definitely keep an eye and an ear out for this new explorer of rock music. 

Next up came another Nashville artist, whose musical range is as vast and unique as the tattoos adorning his face — Jelly Roll. Growing up with many different musical influences, varying from gangster rap, to MoTown soul, to classic and southern rock, all the way down to straight-up country-style ‘Willie Nelson’ music, this expert in his craft has found a way to combine all of these genres into something he can call his own. Country rap has definitely existed for a while now, but there is just something new and different about the way Jelly Roll is going about it. The brevity and sharpness his band was able to produce, in addition to Jelly Roll’s vocals and lyrical ability, make for a rather entertaining performance. I was told that once Jelly Roll was announced as joining this tour, ticket sales went through the roof and, to be honest, I can see why. He puts on an enjoyable show and from what I could see, by the end of his set, he totally had the crowd ready and begging for more. 

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were so vast and painfully devastating, it’s still finding ways to penetrate our lives… it seems like it will never fully leave us alone. One of the hardest hit industries was obviously live music and events. Tours came to a dead halt. Musicians were sent home. Roadies and stagehands were left without work and lives were majorly disrupted. Luckily for Brent Smith and his fellow bandmates, Barry Kerch, Zach Myers and Eric Bass, Shinedown was able to use that time away from the road to write and record their latest album, Planet Zero. It’s a sprawling 20-song album, laced with morale-boosting themes and a lockdown-busting attitude that invokes comfort while defying societal structures.

One thing the band was also able to focus on was the look and style of their stage and performance when shows inevitably did come back.

Let’s just say that time away was well worth the wait. Roughly 550 days after they had played their last show, Shinedown hit the road once again to bring the Planet Zero World Tour to life. This show was impressive to say the least, from the pyro to concussion bangs to automated LED walls… I mean, there was even a piano lowered down from the high steel at one point! It was a show I had been anticipating for quite some time and it really didn’t disappoint. Brent’s vocals have not lost a single step in the two decades since their debut album and the whole band has a genuine command of the stage that is epic to behold. If tickets are still available in your area, I would jump at the opportunity to go see this show and if you do, heed my warning… get there early — the lines are going to be crazy! Shinedown’s latest album Planet Zero is available everywhere now. 

Photography by Thomas Semonco

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