Best 16 Rock Songs of 2016

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The year 2016 has been a bumper one in rock music history. So much so that I had a hard time choosing the Top 16, normally there aren’t so many to choose from. We had releases from major bands, like Metallica, Alter Bridge, Skillet and a few newcomers I Prevail and Kaleo. A few songs made the list as 2016 was nearing its demise. A variety of different sounds can be heard and there is something here every rock fan can appreciate. Rock music is alive and well, if anyone needs proof of that 2016 is the evidence.

16. Kaleo – No Good

The relative newcomers from Iceland, formed in 2012, you just can’t deny the foot-tapping deliciousness of this song. JJ Julius Son’s vocals and the bluesy feel that is pulsing throughout “No Good” is sure to garner the band many new fans.


15. I Prevail – Stuck In Your Head

A little punk mixed with metal core is how I would describe “Stuck In Your Head” and it just works. The way Brian Burkheiser (clean vocals) and Eric Vanlerberghe (unclean vocals) feed off one another is captivating. I really enjoyed stumbling across this band this year, what a treat.


14. The Pretty Reckless – Take Me Down

The Pretty Reckless doesn’t disappoint, but I was surprised to see a tame release as the leading single from their new album. Taylor’s husky and soulful vocals envelop the song along with some solid drumming from Jamie Perkins. The song is infused with that undeniable Mississippi vibe.


13. A Day To Remember – Paranoia

A rock-fuelled injection for the aggressive rock fanatic. “Paranoia” doesn’t let up for one moment and A Day To Remember does not disappoint. This will be the song that concert goers live for. I will let the lyrics speak for itself, “I’m like a time bomb ticking in your head”.


12. Beartooth – Hated

I love the message of this song about how you should not allow people to belittle and walk over you. It is one of those songs that you want to hear blasted in a stadium to a massive audience. Beartooth hit this one out of the park.


11. Gemini Syndrome – Remember We Die

Aaron Nordstrum’s voice really shines on this track, it creates a sonically pleasing ebb and flow to the song and the guitar work is great. “Remember We Die” serves as a reminder to live each day as if it was your last.


10. Papa Roach – Crooked Teeth

“Crooked Teeth” is aggressive and hits you like a hurricane through the first listen. The lyrics describe a person who is reliving a terrifying event. I like how they incorporated the electronic sounds into the song and used it strategically. We can look forward to their new album in 2017!


9. Of Mice & Men – Real

This song really surprised me when I first heard it, because it is not what I expected from the band. I find it interesting that this is basically a duet between Austin Carlile and Aaron Pauley and the clean vocals surprised me too. The song deals with someone that’s been hurt by someone they love before and is trying to get through it.


8. Art of Anarchy – Madness

Scott Stapp took over the role of lead vocalist when Scott Weiland passed away. I love this song as I feel all the members of the band have combined their talents to create something unique. The song is based on Scott’s personal breakdown he had in 2014, which is why I believe the lyrics are so poignant .


7. Avenged Sevenfold – The Stage

Avenged Sevenfold surprised us all with the release of their latest album “The Stage” which happened unannounced. The title track is an 8 minute long epic journey describing humanity and the way we have treated one another throughout history. The intro slowly introduces each instrument and then they gradually combine until M.Shadows steps in with the vocals. Synyster Gates’ guitar skills will leave you in awe if it hasn’t already. I decided to post the video of their live performance atop the Capitol Records building, because I enjoyed it so much.


6. 3 Doors Down – In The Dark

I love the vibe of this song and the subject matter. A good rock song which you can dance to and it is great to have the band back after 5 years between their latest album and the previous one.


5. Twenty One Pilots – Heathens

I understand that there might be some dispute about what genre this song belongs to, but I believe that almost each Twenty One Pilots’ song falls within a different genre. Josh’s performance on the drums are impeccable and the bass guitar glues the whole song together. A hauntingly unique song indeed.

5. Skillet – Undefeated

Although this is not one of the singles off their latest album “Unleashed”, it is the heaviest rock song off the album in my opinion. A motivating song that you can definitely add to your workout playlist. The backing vocals add to the power of the song and the talents of Jen Ledger on the drums is undeniable.


3. Alter Bridge – Crows On A Wire

My favourite band is back with their first album in three years “The Last Hero”. “Crows On A Wire” is an epic track and the lyrics serve as a warning for all those who believe fame and fortune is a ticket to happiness. Brian Marshall shines on the bass guitar, but the whole band gels together effortlessly on every track.


2. Metallica – Moth Into Flame

Normally a Metallica song has to grow on me before I like it, but not this song. I fell in love with this song from the get-go. They really come out of the gates swinging on this one. James has been quoted as saying that “Moth Into Flame” was inspired by the documentary about Amy Winehouse titled “Amy”. Thrash metal at its best.





1. Disturbed – Sound of Silence

I was torn when I was picking the number 1 rock song for 2016, because this song was such an obvious choice, which automatically made me not want to choose it. I thought about it some more and I realised how much this one song on its own has done for the rock music genre this year.  I’m sure it garnered Disturbed some new fans and if it didn’t, more people were at the very least exposed to Disturbed’s music. When I first heard the song on the album, I actually went to check the song credits to see if it was really David Draiman’s voice I was listening to. It is one of the best cover songs I have ever heard and I’m sure I’m not alone when I make that statement. There is something to be said for a song that gives you chills every time you listen to it. A musical masterpiece.

2016 was indeed the year for rock fans to revel in, I mean even Guns ‘n Roses reunited!

Here is to a rocking 2017!


Rock Regards,

Lauren K


Lead Vocalist of the Week – M.Shadows

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Matthew Charles Samuels was born on the 31st of July 1981, better known as M.Shadows the lead vocalist and songwriter for the American heavy metal band, Avenged Sevenfold. M.Shadows posesses the voice type of high baritone. A baritone is a classical male singing voice that lies between the bass and tenor voice types, the baritone is the most common male voice type. He is well-known for his gritty singing style and occasional screaming.

M.Shadows started singing at an early age, but his interest in rock music grew as he got older and started playing the guitar. His early musical experience with the piano, had a strong influence on his guitar playing and singing voice. He attended Huntington Beach High School where he played in a punk band called “Successful Failure” for a brief period. M.Shadows later formed Avenged Sevenfold in 1999 along with his high school friends Zacky Vengeance, The Rev and Matt Wendt. Soon after one of The Rev’s friends joined the band as the lead guitarist. In 2001 the band released their first studio album called Sounding the Seventh Trumpet, the album gained mixed to positive reviews from critics. The band released their second album Waking The Fallen in 2003 and the band played the Vans Warped tour later that year. While discussing the band’s name, M.Shadows says that all the band members had the task of coming up with a list of names and he was the only one who completed the task. Avenged Sevenfold is a reference to the Book of Genesis, a name that the band  preferred over Lips of Deceit, another biblical note.

M.Shadows like the rest of the band has stage names, because many of the bands that inspired them for example Slash from Guns ‘n Roses and Munky of  Korn had stage names. He decided on the name M.Shadows, because he felt like the darker character of the group and he used M instead of his first name Matthew due to the way it sounded.

Shadows’ vocal style has evolved over the years, initially on the band’s first album he used a harsh metalcore-style growls with limited use of clean vocals. The release of the band’s second album demonstrated his progression towards melodic vocal melodies but still retained a strong screaming influence. With the release of City of Evil the band’s first major label release in 2005 featured minimal background screaming, stronger vocal melodies and increased attention on harmonies and melodic hooks. This change resulted in vocal contributions from each band member during live performances and remained prevalent on every album the band has released since 2005 with two exceptions being God Hates Us and Not Ready To DIe which returns to the band’s style of their earlier releases between 1999 – 2003.

One of M.Shadows biggest influences is Guns ‘n Roses, he cites them as the reason for him being in a band and writing music in the first place. He was also influenced by bands such as Metallica, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Ozzy Osbourne and Pantera. M.Shadows says that Megadeth are the reason they incorporated a classic metal sound into their music, because that type of sound crosses over and extreme metal doesn’t.

Some might say that these influences was what lead to Machine Head frontman Rob Flynn calling “Hail To The King” a covers album. Rob went as far as to list 10 jokes about the album and the similarities the album/songs have with other classic rock bands. After Chris Jericho (Fozzy singer/WWE Wrestler) made M.Shadows aware of the comment he responded to the claim by shrugging it off and taking it as a joke. He has met Rob on many occasions and he says that Rob has always been friendly to him. As a joke M.Shadows thinks Rob might have gone a little overboard, but he realizes that everyone has their own opinion.

I decided to feature M.Shadows on the blog when I saw a screenshot of their “Hail To The King” music video on I was very impressed with the video’s style and the execution. I will admit that I was pretty intrigued by M.Shadow’s long hair, although the overall verdict on YouTube didn’t sound as positive. I’ a sucker for a guy with long hair!

The following quote was taken from an interview M.Shadows had with Metal Injection:

“We feel that metal dropped off after the ’90s in terms of production and songwriting,” Shadows said after naming the likes of Pantera, Metallica and Megadeth as the new record’s main influences. “Metal music isn’t at the forefront as much as it used to be.”

The vocalist elaborated further, “We wanted to write a record that was highly influenced by the early ’90s records and mid-’80s records we grew up on. Then we went back even further and were influenced by [Black] Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. We studied those records, looked at what they were doing and how they were doing it. A lot of them came out of the blues, so we studied the blues and classical music. We just wanted to write a record that was different.”

View the latest video from Avenged Sevenfold here:

You can follow the band on Twitter here:



Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Musician of the Week – Cello Player Perttu Kivilaakso

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From the very first time that I was exposed to Apocalyptica’s music, Perttu has fascinated me the most. At first it was for obvious reasons (:D), but he is an extremely talented musician.

The musical prodigy Perttu Päivö Kullervo Kivilaakso was born on the 11th of May 1978 in Helsinki, Finland. Like fellow band members Eicca Toppinen and Paavo Lötjönen he attended Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. He started playing the cello when he was only 5 years old after witnessing his father Juhani Kivilaakso perform at the Savonlinna Opera Festival. Perttu joined Apocalyptica in 1994 when he was only 16. When the band started their professional career Perttu decided to concentrate on his studies. He won third place in the Paulo Cello Competition in 1996, and joined the Helsinki Philarmonic Orchestra. Perttu attained a  lifetime chair in the Helsinki Philharmonic orchestra,  where his father, Juhani,is also a cellist. He played alongside his father and many other talented musicians. In 1999 Perttu rejoined the band when they were making preparations to record for the album “Cult” and he replaced Antero Manninen who left the band. He was on indefinite leave while he was touring with Apocalyptica,  but in 2007 he made the decision to leave the Helsinki Philarmonic Orchestra and to concentrate on achieving international success with Apocalyptica.

Perttu was part of the band line-up when their third album “Cult” was released in 2000.

Perttu listened to opera since childhood and he is a true aficionado. His favourite composer is G. Verdi and favourite opera is Il Trovatore.
He loves metal (Amon Amarth, Judas Priest, Immortal, Testament, Slayer, Metallica, Napalm Death, Rammstein). He learned to appreciate rock (U2, Muse), blues (Aretha Franklin) and all sorts of music. Perttu likes to read a lot and his favourite author is JRR Tolkien, but he also likes to read books written by Stephen King and H.Hesse. Perttu’s other hobbies consist of watching horror movies and playing video games. Perttu is a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and he has had 3 tattoos done to prove it. He has Aragorn’s sword tattooed on his left arm, Witch king of Angmar on his right shoulder, Aragorn and Arwen’s kissing scene on his left side. Perttu has composed music for the video game Max Payne 2: The Fall Of Max Payne, a few documentaries and he has done some original compositions for Apocalyptica including “Conclusion”, “Farewell” and “Beautiful”.

I find Perttu inspiring because he has dedicated his entire life to perfecting his craft. He has never denied an opportunity where he could gain more knowledge and experience to improve his skills. He has stopped at nothing to follow his dream and I think that is something that few people can attest to.

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Frontman of the Week – James Hetfield

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Yesterday South African rock fans were ecstatic to learn that Metallica will be performing for them in April 2013 and will visit the country for a second time, so to celebrate I just had to feature one of heavy metal’s most iconic lead singers this week.

James Hetfield was born on the 3rd of August 1963, he was the son of Cynthia (a light opera singer) and Vergil (a truck driver). Both of his parents were very strict Christian Scientists, they did not believe in using medicine or any other medical treatment. His parents divorced in 1976, James has two older half-brothers from his mother’s first marriage and one younger sister. Cynthia remained loyal to her faith even when she was suffering with cancer, she died of cancer in 1979 when James was just 16 years old. Metallica’s song “The God That Failed” was based on the death of James’s mother who believed that her faith in God alone would save her. After the death of his mother James went to live with his older half-brother David. James’s father Virgil died in 1996.

James’s interest in music was apparent from an early age, at the age of 9 he started taking piano lessons then he moved on to David’s drums and at the age of 14 he started playing guitar. As a teenager he was part of a few bands such as Leather Charm and Obsession. When asked to single out his main musical influence , James singled out Aerosmith as his inspiration for becoming a guitarist. Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, Ted Nugent and Deep Purple contributed to his love for music and served as powerful motivators for his own career as a musician.

In the early days of the band Metallica experimented with a few different vocal and guitar combinations and eventually settled on the line-up as follows: James Hetfield on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Lars Ulrich on the drums, Dave Mustaine as the lead guitarist and Ron McGovney on bass guitar who was later replaced by Cliff Burton.

A frequent occurence in rock/ heavy metal bands is alcohol abuse and Metallica was no exception, from 1982 to 1983 Dave Mustaine’s alcoholism became the topic of heated debate and altercations between James Hetfield and Dave Mustaine. On the 1st of April 1983 the band decided to recruit a replacement for Dave Mustaine and decided to replace him with Kirk Hammett from the band Exodus. Ten days later Lars and James officially ejected Dave Mustaine due to his alcoholic tendencies. Dave Mustaine had to make his way home on a 4-day bus journey and he eventually formed the heavy metal band Megadeath. Dave Mustaine later came to wonder why his band members didn’t send him to rehab, but the other band members also drank heavily, although Dave’s alcoholism tended to be of a more aggressive nature.

James Hetfield writes the majority of the guitar harmonies, as well as the lyrics, vocal melodies and he co-arranges the songs with Ulrich. Metallica’s 1991 hit Enter the Sandman was inspired by fears and nightmares James Hetfield experienced as a child. Another 1991 hit Nothing Else Matters James wrote as a personal song, never intending for it to be recorded and released to the public, but Lars Ulrich convinced him to use it for a Metallica song, much to the delight of their fans.

Unfortunately James has been involved in quite a few onstage accidents, most notably an incident with pyrotechnics at the Olympic stadium in Montreal during the Guns ‘n Roses/Metallica Stadium Tour on the 8th of August 1992. James was the victim of a severe pyrotechnic accident during the song Fade to Black when a pyrotechnic exploded. Luckily James’s guitar protected him from the full force of the explosion, however the fire engulfed the left side of his body burning his hand, arm, eyebrows, face and hair. He suffered second and third-degree burns, but was surprisingly back on stage 17 days later, although his guitar duties was passed on to John Marshall for four weeks until he made a full recovery. It must have been frightening for the fans who witnessed the infamous incident in 1992, being helpless while their favourite lead vocalist was being engulfed in flames.

James broke his arm numerous times while skateboarding which caused James’s management company at the time forbidding him from riding a skateboard while Metallica was on tour. While performing a cover of the Anti-Nowhere song “So What?” James experienced vocal complications which forced him to take vocal lessons for the first time in his life. He did basic warm-up exercises to piano keys with his vocal coach and the vocal coach gave him the tape to keep for future use, remarkably James still uses the same tape before any live performances or recordings Metallica does.

While recording Metallica’s eigth studio album St.Anger in 2001, James decided to enter rehab in order to treat his alcohol addiction. After seven months in rehab and four months recovering at home with his family James was ready to rejoin his band. James is now clean and sober, determined to remain so for the rest of his life. I really commend James for the effort he made to become sober, because the industry may sometimes support the addiction more than sobriety. Touring and the pressures of the music industry can foster and aggravate addiction to harmful substances, so kudos to James.

Some Kind of Monster is a documentary film which depicts many of Metallica’s studio rehearsals and concert footage while they were recording their album St.Anger in 2003. The film also documents many of the conflicts and issues the band were facing at the time including the departure of Jason Newsted, alcoholism, family commitments and the future of Metallica.

Metallica needed a new bass player and recruited Ozzy Osbourne’s bassist Robert Trujillo and surprisingly Ozzy Osbourne recruited Jason Newsted into his band. Metallica’s ninth studio album Death Magnetic reached number 1 on the Billboard charts in over 30 countries during its first week of release just like every album of original material Metallica has released since Death Magnetic. This is quite a remarkable achievement considering that Metallica is categorized as a heavy metal band.

On the 4th of April 2009 James Hetfield, current band members along with any other musician that appeared on Metallica’s albums was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

James Hetfield aside from his career is most happiest spending time with his wife Francesca (former costumer for his band and hails from Argentina) and their three children Cali, Castor and Marcella. James and Francesca married on the 17th of August 1997, which means they have been married for the past 15 years, which I believe is quite commendable considering the challenges they have faced. James stated that his wife helped him mature and helped him to learn to deal with his anger issues more constructively, explaining that after they met, his destructive tendencies and behaviour embarrassed both of them.

James loves outdoor activities which include hunting (he is a member of The National Rifle Association), snowboarding, skateboarding, water and jet-skiing, sketching and working in his garage customizing cars and motorcycles. He collects vintage cars, particularly those from the year 1963 and he enjoys working on classic automobiles.

I think James’s childhood upbringing and anger issues has made him a unique and honest musician. He pours all his anger and aggression into his songs and lyrics. James has a raw quality to his voice and he makes you feel his pain through his music as well as his passion for his career.

You can follow Metallica on Twitter here:

For my fellow South Africans, if you need more details concerning Metallica’s tour you can take a look here:

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Metallica live at The O2 Arena, London, England

English: James Hetfield performing live with M...

James Hetfield performing live with Metallica at Birmingham in 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Band of the Month: Nickelback – In defense of the Dark Horse

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Nickelback in concert
Photo credit: Barry Brecheisen Photography

I’m not exaggerating when I say that this blog post has been years in the making. I’ve been a Nickelback fan since about 2006 and I have always had a strong opinion about their position in the rock/ music industry. Over the past few years I have read countless reviews and articles concerning Nickelback which are almost always negative or are written from a positive point of view, but still cops out towards the end of the article by saying something nasty or negative about the band. Just in case that writer gets some heat from so-called haters. I’m here to comment on what I have witnessed on social media and to give my opinion on the band.

Nickelback has proven time and time again that they don’t take themselves too seriously for example in the video they made in response to the Detroit petition that was started as an attempt to have Nickelback replaced as the halftime act for the Thanksgiving game. Many interviews of the band support this statement, because they are always joking around.

You can view Nickelback’s response to the petition here:

I will be honest, musically I can’t really comment on the structure of their songs, because I don’t have the necessary knowledge (music-related qualification) to form an objective opinion.

Being labelled mainstream in the rock music industry is like admitting that you have swine flu at a party. Everyone tries to stay away from you and you will eventually be teased/taunted about it. I support Nickelback as a mainstream rock band, because they are the only rock band that have managed to top the charts on a regular basis. Do rock fans rather want pop/tween acts topping the charts? Through their efforts they are almost single-handedly waving the flag for rock music. Even David Draiman from Disturbed admits to this fact:

Nickelback and David Draiman on Twitter

Nickelback and David Draiman on Twitter

As for those who have said that “How You Remind Me” and “Leader of Men” was pretty decent, but they haven’t made good music since then. I beg to differ, obviously these people forgot to listen to The Long Road Nickelback’s fourth album released September 23, 2003. Its one of my all-time favourite albums, because it covers a wide variety of topics and included on the album is their awesome cover of Elton John’s Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting featuring Kid Rock and Dimebag Darrell. My favourites off of that album are “Should’ve Listened” which is a pleasant surprise when you listen to the album for the first time and “Yanking Out My Heart” is another fave with its angry lyrics and fantastic chorus. Listen to “Should’ve Listened” here:

I just want to make clear that I’m not a Nickelback fan who only like the tracks that they release as singles. I love their whole discography and I especially like the tracks that aren’t released as singles. I believe there are two types of Nickelback fans those who like them for the ballads/popular singles and then there are the rock music fans that love all of their songs.

There are some rare jewels to be discovered when you listen to their entire music catalogue, for example “Worthy To Say“, “Woke Up This Morning”, “Midnight Queen”, “Just To Get High”, “Fly”, “Follow You Home” and “Next Contestant” to name just a few. Then there are some hard rock tracks which I always look forward to with every album they release like “Side of a Bullet” dedicated to the late Dimebag Darrell from Pantera which just proves what Nickelback are capable of.The song includes a guitar solo by Dimebag from his Pantera days, and was used with the blessing and cooperation of Dimebag’s brother and Pantera/Damageplan drummer, Vinnie Paul. “This Means War” is another crowd pleaser and its best played extremely loud, the same goes for “Burn It To The Ground”. “Figure You Out” is another solid rocker with slightly different subject matter and I think its just one of those songs that will never get old. In my opinion their most meaningful ballads on one album was from All The Right Reasons. Those songs might have entered the U.S. Hot 100 top 20 singles, but they still carried so much meaning especially “If Everyone Cared” and “Savin’ Me” which was rumoured to be about a childhood friend of Chad’s who was incarcerated and died in prison. I heard about this rumour a few years ago, but I’m not sure if its true.

Nickelback have never been subtle in their choices for supporting acts such as Seether (from South Africa!), Bush, Three Days Grace, Buckcherry, Daughtry and Shinedown. You have to be pretty famous and confident to take these massively successful bands on tour with you. Nickelback have always managed to cultivate friendships with the bands they tour with, so as people they are pretty likeable if you ask me. On numerous occasions I have witnessed (on the internet) their tour mates only having nice things to say about them. It takes a lot of confidence in your own abilities as a band to keep such famous company.

Aside from all the success that Nickelback has had, Chad Kroeger started his own record label 604 Records in 2002 and holds the position of Executive Producer. Here are the list of artists signed to the label:

Official website of 604 Records:

Nickelback was discovered by Roadrunner’s Artists and repertoire (A&R) Ron Burman who travelled to Vancouver to see the band perform live, the then unknown venue was packed. It took Ron Burman three months to convince his label bosses’ to approve the signing that would mark Roadrunner’s first move into mainstream rock. They have never looked back since, even though Roadrunner fans are constantly complaining about the fact that Nickelback are included in their list of signed artists.

Many a rock band has covered Metallica at some point in their career, but no one has done it quite like Nickelback. I just wish I could hear the song in its entirety. Nickelback started out as a Led Zeppelin and Metallica cover band called “Village Idiots”.

Watch it here:

At the start of their career Nickelback’s sound was a little ruff around the edges and gritty, but I suppose that is what made them so appealing back in 1995 and since then their sound has become more polished and controlled. I believe this change occured due to years of experience and adapting to what the fans wanted. The earlier Nickelback albums are more acceptable to rock music lovers, because it wasn’t as polished and that was the appeal. In my opinion The Long Road was the best combination of both worlds and after that album was when Nickelback departed from the minds of hard rock lovers and entered the mainstream music industry. I listen to and support both sides of the coin(/nickel) and I will always remain grateful to Nickelback for introducing me to rock music. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t know who most of the modern rock bands are, my love for rock music started with Nickelback and branched out to the bands that supported them on tour. I looked up bands like Shinedown on the internet just because they started touring with Nickelback.

The band has sometimes been critiscised over their use of themes such as strippers, sex, prostitutes, drugs and drinking. People will drink, regardless of the fact that Nickelback is singing about it and the same goes for the rest of the content for their songs. Most rock bands cover these subjects at one point or another in their career, I also believe that its Nickelback’s way of being risque and not remaining safe in their subject matter.

Here are some great photos of each band member:


Daniel Adair

Daniel Adair
Source:Marcus Chacona Photography

Mike Kroeger

Mike Kroeger

Ryan Peake

Ryan Peake

Chad Kroeger

Chad Kroeger

Nickelback in concert

Nickelback in concert

Follow Nickelback on Twitter here:

If you would like to connect with fellow Nickelback fans you can follow Nickelbackers here:

Nickelback just finished the European leg of their Here & Now tour with Daughtry. You can check out the rest of their tour dates here:

Thank you for reading!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K