–By Sean Derrick
Power rock trio Sick Puppies played in Saint Louis for a second time on Friday at Pop’s Nightclub across the river in Sauget, IL, and blew the roof off with a raucous show in front of a grateful crowd.
When Sick Puppies last played Saint Louis earlier this year at the annual Pointfest music festival in May it was a shortened set due to the normal time constraints of a festival. However, that show proved to be just a teaser for a full set later on.
It’s been a tumultuous past couple years for the band culminating in the not-so-friendly departure of founding member guitarist/vocalist Shimon Moore, leaving bassist/vocalist Emma Anzai as the lone original member of the band.
As it turns out, good things do come out of bad experiences. And just like the old adage “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” Anzai and drummer Mark Goodwin found that extra strength in new vocalist/guitarist Bryan Scott.
Scott’s boundless energy and true rock star charisma coupled with his strong vocals and killer chops on the axe made for a perfect candidate for an upgrade. With the teaser performance in May, just one day after their newest release FURY dropped, the band proved they would not be going quietly into the goodnight.
On Friday they band got to show Saint Louis a full set with the new lineup, and they hit a home run.
Coming out strong with “Street Fighter (War)” from their CD Tri Polar and “Gunfight” from Connect the trio made a statement early on that they weren’t afraid to tackle older songs while showcasing new ones.
New tracks like their lead single “Stick to Your Guns”, “Black & Blue” and “Let Me Live” resonated with the crowd who was filled with energy throughout the night. Coupled with fan favorites like “Riptide”, “Odd One” (a song close to Anzai’s heart) and “Maybe” the transitions were seamless.
Anzai was, of course stellar on bass and Goodwin didn’t miss a beat. In fact, all three members sounded as if they had been playing their whole lives together. they were even tight even on a powerful cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Guerilla Radio”.
The band also recorded the performance of “Where do I Begin” to be featured in the video for their next single. (Be on the lookout for that.)
When the band finally closed with “You’re Going Down” it was clear their statement of not backing down was heard loud and clear. After seeing a full set I am eagerly awaiting what the future holds for Sick Puppies.
Taking the support slots for the night were One Less Reason and Through Fire. The latter, interestingly enough, did a rock version of Ellie Goulding’s “Lights”. This sounded magnificent topped with lead singer Grant Kendrick’s growling vocals. The band has quickly made a name for themselves with the single “Stronger” being featured on WWE programming. Seeing them live it is easy to see why they are rising quickly.
Local band Fivefold opened the show. This wasn’t the first time they have opened for Sick Puppies and it just makes sense. Their tight and energetic sound compliments the Sick Puppies’ style and is a perfect setup, especially with songs like “Step Back” and “Room to Breathe”. Saint Louis has a lot of great acts to check out, and Fivefold should be near the top of your To Catch list. One couple did just that and got engaged onstage during one of their songs. I wonder if they will play at their wedding?
Sick Puppies Setlist:
Street Fighter (War)
Stick to Your Guns
Let Me Live
All the Same
Where Do I Begin
Black & Blue
Guerilla Radio (Rage Against the Machine cover)
You’re Going Down