Nickelback halftime performance stirs up controversy, petition in Detroit

Here and Now

Nickelback is kicking off the release of its seventh album, “Here and Now,” with a live performance at the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers football game on Thanksgiving Day.

But this Turkey Day’s halftime show has not been without controversy. Earlier this month, more than 55,000 people signed an online petition against the Canadian rock band and five-time Grammy Award nominee’s appearance at the game.

The petition creator, 22 year-old Dennis Guttman, wrote, “Detroit is home to so many great musicians and they chose Nickelback… The Lions ought to think about their fans before choosing such an awful band to play at halftime.”

Petitioners supported Guttman’s position, adding comments such as: “Haven’t the good people of Detroit been through enough?”

Nickelback is taking the criticism in stride, and even posted a video poking fun at the controversy.

Maura Johnston, music critic for The Village Voice, said the petition had gotten big enough to generate attention outside of Detroit, and to endure past the initial wave of attention.

“I think it’s because there’s this perception of Nickleback in the popular culture that it’s OK to dislike,” Johnston said.

At the same time, their last performance in Detroit was sold out.

But for those who love Nickelback, many are repulsed. In rock, Johnston said, there’s often a desire by some to be against bands that are really poular.

“Nickelback is not cool. It’s rock that’s super straight forward with big choruses,” she said. “It’s very much arena rock.”

One of the bigger complaints against Nickelback is that their music sounds alike. But Johnston said that’s really the case with a lot of pop music.

“I think there are going to be more people tuning in to hear Nickelback than got salty about their inclusion in the halftime show and signed the petition,” she said.

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