Nickelback get a 4* review in today’s Guardian newspaper…. Adam Sweeting Wednesday December 10, 2003 The Guardian Maybe it’s because they’re from Vancouver, but Nickelback are a different species from the current wave of fashionable US metal. Whereas the likes of Korn or Staind sound so dark and diabolical that you could only imagine that they were saved in the nick of time from hanging themselves before they went onstage, Nickelback seem cheerful and well adjusted, and actually enjoy communicating with the crowd. It’s amazing they’ve come as far as they have, but they’ve been canny enough to exploit a few reliable old tricks – like writing tunes and not playing everything so fast and heavy that it’s like being crushed by a steel avalanche. The Nickelback biography is littered with statistics and superlatives (the Silver Side Up album sold 40bn copies in 15 minutes, the band had to buy a new bus to keep all their Grammys in, blah blah), but their mega-anthem How You Remind Me is one of those songs you know backwards without having made any effort to listen to it. They played it tonight as an encore, and vocalist Chad Kroeger found he had no further use for his microphone since the crowd did all the work for him. The ‘Back have a useful batch of beefy, anthemic rock songs, among which we might pick out Breathe, Do This Anymore or the rather skilful Someday, and they can get heav-yyyy, as in the battered-wife saga of Never Again. But they also work hard to give the punters a value-added showbiz experience. Huge blasts of flame kept shooting up from the drum riser, threatening to incinerate both sticksman Ryan Vikedal and the lighting rig hanging above him, and the set was peppered with ear-splitting flashbombs. They sprayed the sweat-soaked front rows with water, and lobbed plastic glasses of beer into the balcony. The unplugged acoustic segment was prefaced by an interlude of darkness filled with some dialogue samples from Spider Man. When the lights came back up, the band launched into Hero, from the movie soundtrack. Kinda hammy, but was it brain surgery you were after?