Trying not to love Nickelback: These superfans don't believe you hate their favourite band

Saskatoon city councillor Troy Davies, who listens to Nickelback daily, doesn't need science to explain the widespread hatred for his favourite band. He thinks it's all an act.

Band playing in Saskatoon Saturday as part of western tour visiting Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver

Saskatoon city councillor Troy Davies (centre) has a wall in his basement dedicated to Nickelback souvenirs, including a signed guitar. (Submitted by Troy Davies )

Based on the tirades of online hate, it's safe to say many Canadians would cringe at the thought of living their life to a soundtrack of Nickelback songs.

The Canadian rock band is so reviled that some researchers have tried to understand the phenomenon through science.

But Saskatoon city councillor Troy Davies, who listens to Nickelback daily, doesn't need science to explain the widespread hatred for his favourite band.

He thinks it's all an act. 

There's a lot of closet Nickelback fans.- Todd Duffin, Saskatoon

"I got some razzing from guys on my hockey team but as soon as I put one of their songs on in our dressing room they're all singing it," said Davies.

"I think there's a lot of people might pretend they're haters but I guarantee everybody knows a song."

Saturday's show in Saskatoon will be the eighth Nickelback performance Davies has seen to date.

He said it's a high energy show performed by a band known among its fans for being personable and down-to-Earth.

Davies said his respect for the band grew when he met them in person.

Stephanie Berner flew from Switzerland to watch the last four shows of Nickelback's tour in western Canada. She said there's no animosity toward the band where she lives in Europe. (Submitted by Stephanie Berner)

'Their shows are epic'

"They're just normal guys from Alberta and we were just talking about the Oilers actually and that's something that just kind of stuck with me," he said.

"And then after they started playing — their shows are epic, they're loud, there's pyro[technics] and then they're just one of those shows where you leave excited and you show up excited."

Overseas fan

Stephanie Berner travelled to Canada from Switzerland to see the band play the last four shows of their current tour.

Far from embarrassed, she emblazoned the rear window of her rental car with the words 'Nickelback tour 2017' as she drove from Calgary to Saskatoon for Saturday's show.

She said it was disappointing to see the hatred directed at the band from within their home country.

"They are really sweet and funny people and so adorable with their fans," said Berner in an online message. 

"I'm very sad when I see hate towards them 'cause there is absolutely no reason for it. But I just try to ignore it and anyway in Europe nobody's hating on them."  

Criticism can be frustrating

Having been to about a dozen Nickelback shows, Saskatoon resident Todd Duffin said the mockery of the band is "a weird thing" he doesn't understand. Mostly he's not bothered by the critics and responds by playing the music louder.

But there have been times when the constant criticism has gotten under his skin.

"The odd time I got frustrated a little bit was when people actually didn't even listen to the music," said Duffin.

"And they just listened to what other people said about them and then [said] like 'Oh I hate them too, they're so bad' or 'They're douchebags.'"

He and Davies agreed Canadians should take more pride in Nickelback as one of the country's most successful acts.   

Closeted fans

With the band having sold more than 50 million albums worldwide, and ranking as the 11th best selling music act, Duffin also believes many Canadians are too afraid to share their true feelings about Nickelback.  

"There's a lot of closet Nickelback fans," he said.

"Some of them, again, are my friends that, you know, every time I put on a song they are singing along or they're getting pumped up or they are buying into it.

"So I think some people are trying to protect themselves from what other people are going to think about them."

As for Davies, his response to Nickelback haters is simple: "Go to a show."

"If you can go to a show and tell me you didn't have fun then fair enough."

The band plays at the SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon Saturday night before heading west to play shows in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

With files from Stephanie Taylor