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Staind blow out The Venue at Horseshoe Casino

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Staind perform live at The Venue at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind.

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Staind are in the midst of a mini tour, hitting up smaller venues while also performing at a few key summer music festivals. They rolled into The Venue at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind., on May 30. Theory of a Deadman opened the show.

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The show was heavy on music from Staind's most recent, eponymous album--arguably their strongest to date. Opening with "Eyes Wide Open" and "Falling," they rocked six songs from their latest effort. Vocalist Aaron Lewis was primed from the second he stepped foot on stage--heavy screams, delicate verses and a solo acoustic offering of "Country Boy"--Lewis was definitely at the top of his game. He also took a couple personal stabs by noting that both "Paper Wings" and "Not Again" were "about a drummer." He was likely referencing former drummer Jon Wysocki, who left before the recording of "Staind."

Lewis' acoustic performance of "Country Boy" was one of the surprising highlights of the evening. He stated, "I wrote this song because a friend said I wouldn't." Lewis then added, "This is my story." The crowd joined in, singing the song together resulting in an emotion-filled display of country-pride.

Bassist Johnny April and drummer Sal Giancarelli kept the rhythm heavy, while Mike Mushok thrashed the entire evening at stage right. Mushok takes a page from Angus Young, slowing only for "Something to Remind You" to close their set proper. They did return for a three song encore, showcasing a few of their classic hits "Mudshovel," "It's Been A While" and "For You."

Theory of a Deadman's set did not fit the mold of a Staind opening act. Their carefree-rock persona is less aggressive than the angst-ridden lyrics and heavy riffs that drive a Staind show. It was disappointing to learn that Sevendust are supporting a handful of shows in early June--a much better pairing than what fans received in Hammond. That said, most enjoyed their set. Vocalist Tyler Connolly was suffering from an obvious cold or throat condition. He admirably pushed through and appreciated support from the crowd's participation.

Lewis recently revealed his plans for the fourth annual It Takes a Community Foundation benefit concert. The New England assistance program "strengthens, enriches and preserves local towns" to improve community life. The Pines Theater at Look Park in Florence, Mass., will host the event on June 27 at 5:30 p.m. It will feature an acoustic performance centered around Aaron Lewis while featuring Brent Smith and Zach Myers of Shinedown in addition to a rare acoustic performance by Staind.

Remaining Staind tour dates:

May 31 - Rockfest Music Festival - Kansas City, Mo.
June 1 - Horseshoe Casino - Council Bluffs, Iowa
June 6 - Peppermill Concert Hall - West Wendover, Nev.
June 7 - Palms Casino - Las Vegas, Nev.
June 8 - Talking Stick - Phoenix, Ariz.

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