x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Nickelback will be big, loud and explosive at Abu Dhabi F1 event

The Canadian band will silence their doubters with a rocking performance at this year's Formula One aftershow event

The most shocking news item to come out of Canada recently was not the mysterious theft of $30 million (Dh112 million) worth of maple syrup from a Quebec warehouse - or even that the nation considers it such a vital strategic commodity that it actually stockpiles the stuff to stabilise both prices and global supply.

The truly bewildering news Canucks woke up to was that not only were two of their most famous home-grown music stars - pop-punk diva Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger, lead singer for the rock group Nickelback - an item, but that they had actually managed to meet and get engaged without anyone knowing about it.

Lavigne, who rose from small-town obscurity to international attention with her single Complicated, is, many Canadians believe, not one of the nation's most artistically credible acts. More of the country's vitriol is, however, reserved for Nickelback.

Famous for their straightforward hard rock sound and songs including Rockstar and Photograph, Nickelback are one of the most commercially successful groups in the world.

The unrepentantly macho four-piece outfit from rural Alberta will be playing on the second night of November's Yasalam after-race concert series being staged for F1 ticket-holders on Yas Island, it was announced earlier this week. Kylie Minogue will open the musical festivities on November 2.

Nickelback have sold more than 50 million albums worldwide, making them the 11th best-selling music act of the 2000s, behind such other banner acts as Eminem, Britney Spears, Linkin Park and The Beatles (yes, the Fab Four were the second-best selling act of the Noughties, shifting a staggering 27.5m records in the US alone, underlining their enduring, almost everlasting appeal).

Billboard ranks Nickelback as the top rock group of the decade and their hit song How You Remind Me was listed as the top rock song.

Their massive popularity has, however, earned them almost as many enemies as fans. If you doubt this, spare the time to do a quick Google search for "hate Nickelback". There are also numerous Facebook pages devoted to the strange sport of loathing the band, who famously lost a fan-page popularity contest to a dill pickle on the social networking Website.

And it doesn't end there.

In June this year, Josh Gross wrote a preview piece in the Boise Weekly (an American publication that bills itself as "Idaho's only alternative weekly newspaper") announcing the band's June 13 appearance at the Idaho Center that was so well-received by Nickelback-haters it went viral: "You can spend $45 to go see Nickelback this week. Or you could buy 45 hammers from the dollar store, hang them from the ceiling at eye level and spend an evening banging the demons out of your dome."

Gross would deliver this withering follow-up in the next paragraph: "[$45] would also buy you an introduction to rock guitar video course that would allow you to surpass the band's skill level in five hours or less."

But his chippy preview did little to dissuade the band's legions of local fans.

Among those who attended the concert, which featured a "dazzling display of lights and pyrotechnics", was Crystal Pettit, who assured the Boise Examiner that she got her money's worth: "They put on a very good show and seemed very enthusiastic to be here."

And if the enthusiastic response from the throngs of fans who turned out to see Nickelback at the Gulf Bike Show in Dubai in February 2010 is anything to go by, the band's flamboyant, stadium-pleasing style will go over extremely well with the capital's motorheads at Yas Marina Circuit.

Before the band's debut gig in Dubai, Kroeger promised: "It's going to be a big, loud, explosive, visual rock show."

At an event such as the grand prix, nothing could be more appropriate.