At the O2 Academy, Newcastle, U.K., March 3, 2019

P.O.D (Live at the O2 Academy, Newcastle, U.K., March 3, 2019)
Photo: Mick Burgess

Having a cover as your biggest hit can pose something of a problem for a band especially when that cover was so well done that it almost becomes synonymous with the band to a greater extent than to the original artist.  Smooth Criminal has certainly defined the career of Alien Ant Farm but that would do a disservice to the rest of their catalogue of songs especially those from their Platinum selling Anthology debut of from which half of the show’s set was drawn from including hit single Movies and Wish from the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 video game soundtrack.

Lead singer, Dryden Mitchell’s cheeky personality fitted the Punk Pop tunes perfectly and when he conducted the crowd to a rendition of Happy Birthday to his wife Cassie, who was mortified at getting dragged on stage from the wings, the crowd responded accordingly.

Of course, Smooth Criminal elicited the biggest cheer of their set with the crowd bouncing as they sang the stratospherically high notes in the absence of zany bassist Tye Zamora.

P.O.D (Payable On Death) are something of an unknown quantity in the UK but in the The States, their flag flies much, much higher with 11 studio albums, a clutch of Gold and Platinum discs and three Grammy nominations to their name so it was good to see the Academy suitably packed for an evening of Nu Metal mayhem.

Talk about making a bold statement, opening trio Boom, Rock The Party (Off The Hook) and Panic Attack literally roared from the starting blocks in a big, bombastic explosion of raw power as vocalist Sonny Sandoval hurled himself around the stage as if trying to free himself from some invisible strait jacket.

A quick glance to the crowd during the ferocious Rockin’ With the Best could see a swirling mosh pit responding to the onstage fury and hard-hitting Rap Metal assault. To the casual observer it all seems rather aggressive but P.O.D’s Christian message is in sharp contrast to their musical approach with its deep, heavy groove, piledriving riffs, venomous rapped vocals and huge chant along choruses. It’s pretty lively stuff and not for the feint hearted.

Circles saw things mellow down a little with a more melodic approach from Sandoval and the ballad, Beautiful saw the Academy lit up with mobile phones, old school lighters and even a gas cooker fire lighter!!

With Alien Ant Farm’s Dryden Mitchell joining the party with a beer in the middle of the crowd it was left to Satellite, hit single Youth Of The Nation and Alive to show that P.O.D also have some memorable hooks and top tunes to go with their more direct Rap attack.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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