So you've moshed till your neck hurt as Shihad blasted away the masses at those epic Big Day Out shows.

You've sung along every time their hits came on the radio, stuck with them through the name-change fiasco, and jumped around every time they've toured a new album.

If you're a super fan, you may have even seen those brilliant album shows the Wellington rockers did a couple of years back for Killjoy and The General Electric.

You may have seen Shihad live more than a dozen times, but you haven't seen them like this.


On their Meanest tour, a greatest hits show that reached Auckland's Powerstation last night, the Wellington rockers are playing a career-spanning set that begins with 1990's Devolve EP and ends with last year's Ignite, taking in songs in chronological order from every record along the way.

Few Kiwi bands could pull off such a feat, but Shihad revelled in the format, blasting through hit-after-hit in a sublimely energetic and hard-rocking two-hour Sunday night show.

"We're gonna start from the very beginning," announced fired up front man Jon Toogood as he, drummer Tom Larkin, bassist Karl Kippenberger and guitarist Phil Knight opened with the thrash-metal of It and Down Dance from Devolve, showing off the band's early Metallica influences.

The bruising metal of You Again, Factory, Deb's Night Out and Derail, and anthem Home Again, were obvious early highlights, with the band playing against a simple black backdrop and basic lighting to resemble their humble beginnings in smaller venues.

For more recent tracks like My Mind's Sedate, The General Electric, Pacifier and onwards, the stage was upgraded to include neon lighting, a high-rise drum kit and a flasher backdrop to amplify Shihad's more polished, radio-friendly sound.

Yes, there were plenty of hits but the great thing about the show's format was it allowed forgotten songs to shine, like the throbbing electrics and soaring chorus of Yr Head Is A Rock, the softer Everything from the controversial Pacifier album, and Brightest Star, a ballad performed solo by Toogood while surrounded by fans near the upstairs Powerstation bar.

Fans could have quibbled about a few misses - Comfort Me and Screwtop were obvious omissions, while Empty Shell would have been a better choice than the cut-and-paste aggression of Alive from 2005's underrated heavier record Love is the New Hate.

A short encore could have helped solve that issue, and fans certainly hung around long enough demanding one.


But with a career spanning nearly 25 years and eight albums, Shihad were never going to be able to fit every fan's favourite song in.

Even so, this was as close to a perfect Shihad show as is humanly possible.

Who: Shihad
Where: The Powerstation, Auckland
When: Sunday, April 8