Theory @ The Apollo Theatre

Belvidere, IL

On a warm up tour for their forth coming album “Say Nothing”, Theory, come storming into The Apollo Theatre. That album will be released in late January of 2020. One thing was absolutely clear heading into the sold out show, Theory fans were ready for it. I heard many people while waiting in line talking about how great the newly released single, “History of Violence” is. Personally, I have to agree. It really gives us all something to look forward to besides their past hits.

Their stage set up has 8 pillars of lights that each have a foot wide strobe in the middle. On the floor directly in front of them are large spinning spot lights. These pillars line the entire back of the stage. Behind those pillars are 5 drapes hanging from the ceiling that look like one of those mountain walls you climb on. In front of those are lights that flash straight up.  Theory’s drummer, Joey Dandaneau’s kit sits dead center of the stage on top of a foot tall riser. Past that the stage upfront is fairly bare. Well, bare besides throw rugs that are underneath the three microphone stands that are right up front and spread across the stage. Those mic stands each have huge spotlights illuminating them from overhead. The set up really seemed to allow for maximum light to cover all areas and allow movement by the band. 

Having seen Theory 3 times previously, I knew I was in for a great show before I was even at the venue. Theory are that unique rock band that consistently delivers great albums while backing it up with a tremendous performance on tour. This was a Monday night in virtually nowhere Illinois and they sold the place out. I was told it was over a thousand tickets sold in just pre-sale. That is mighty impressive. I had a feeling these facts clearly did not phase them in the least. I know I walked away feeling fantastic having witnessed them played virtually all of their radio singles. Hearing “RX”, “Santa Monica”, “Hate My Life” and “Bad Girlfriend” especially.

The Canadian rockers being towards the end of tour wasn’t noticeable. There were no visible wear, tear or slowing down issues. They had their own style and vitality. Bassist Dean Back and guitarist Dave Brenner were all over the spacious stage. Both were a joy to watch perform. Back, moves back and forth all while swaying and landing some foot stomps. On occasion he joined Brenner for some joint mic shares on stage right. Brenner in his own right commanded a lot of attention away from everyone else. His performance was physical, yet fun. He used every square inch given to him to roam and sling his guitar around. Tyler Connolly, was quite the showman. His vocal fire is only matched by his guitar finesse. Belting out every popular lyric with a smirk and snarl. Ever so briefly he would grab the mic off of the stand and stand on the edge of the stage to engage with the crowd. The reception to it was certainly met with female screams and banter. Between delivering heat or somber moments he produced at a high level. Essentially meeting true rock star status in the process. Finally, the drumming of Joey Dandaneau. This guy slayed on this skins. He delivered such emotion and enthusiasm with each moment. He felt like the heart of the show perched higher up and center. 

Overall, I loved everything about this performance. It literally had it all. The manliness, heart break, love and fun that every show should deliver. This was a clinic. On my drive home I did something I never do. I made a playlist of the set list and cranked it all the way into my garage. Safe to say they are on my do not miss list.  

3 Best Songs:
History of Violence - The brand new single that is openly about domestic violence. For a band that has a long history of writing break up songs mixed with a few about social issues it was a somber reminder that there are other things in life outside of personal problems. Judging by the reaction through the room that point wasn’t missed either. That reaction was overly positive. So many people singing the lyrics. Pretty amazing considering the album hasn’t even been publicly released yet. 

Lowlife - For me there was no other song to kick of the performance with. This gem from “The Truth Is….” It punches you in the mouth with pure energy. From behind the barricade the ladies lining the front entire row seemingly agreed by singing at the top of their lungs. Brenner hits the stage and goes absolutely wild standing literally on the edge of the stage. No joke. His feet were literally just over the edge while engaging enthusiastically with the audience. Dandaneau absolutely loses it on his kit. Slamming the sticks across his snare and floor tom with overwhelming force all while looking out across the packed room. The true spirit of Rock n’ Roll was on display from the start.

Wicked Game - This Chris Issak cover set the mood for the second half of the night. Then entire stage was decked out in a cold blue lighting with frontman Connelly, sitting every so solomnly behind a keyboard. This set up was just off to the right of center leaving in full view Mr. Dandaneau’s kit. The words hauntingly echoed across the theatre as a few lighters in the sold out crowd swayed back and forth. It was eerily calm and extremely mesmerizing. Absolutely spectacular to have witnessed.  

Set List:
Bitch Came Back
Not Meant To Be
Santa Monica
So Happy
History of Violence
Wicked Game
All or Nothing
Straight Jacket
Hate My Life
Paradise City (GnR Medley)
Bad Girlfriend

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