Godsmack Casts A “Voodoo” Spell Over The Queen City
When Legends Rise Tour Stops At The Charlotte Metro Credit Union Ampitheatre
The air was thick and heavy Tuesday evening in Charlotte, the kind of summer night that feels like you could cut it with a knife. Meteorologists would most likely attribute the conditions to the excessive heat and high humidity that made for a tropical atmosphere. For Charlotte rock fans, however, it wasn’t the heat or humidity, but a little “Voodoo” magic in the air courtesy of Massachusetts rockers Godsmack.
It seems like only yesterday that Godsmack released their self-titled debut album that took the rock and metal world by storm, ruling the airwaves with heavy-hitting tunes like “Bad Religion,” “Keep Away,” and the aforementioned “Voodoo.” In reality, it’s been over twenty years since that momentous occasion, but Godsmack is still going strong with millions of records sold and numerous industry awards. A few years ago, their hometown of Boston even gave the band their own official day, proclaiming August 6th as Godsmack Day. At this point in their career, many bands would simply step back and rest on their laurels, but the heavy metal stalwarts show no signs of slowing down as their latest album “When Legends Rise” and subsequent tour prove the band still has what it takes.
Kicking off the evening first were California rockers New Years Day. I first encountered the band years ago when they were playing on Vans Warped Tour and they have intrigued me ever since. Even back then, they had a unique style and stage presence that most young bands take years to develop.
The second they hit the stage, it is nonstop action from start to finish. Lead vocalist Ash Costello packs a punch with her soaring vocals and stunning hair, half of which is black and half of which is red.
She did a great job interacting with the audience, getting them to throw up their devil horns and participate in the show. The band sounded tight as guitarist Nikki Misery puts on a great show, slinging his guitar around and jumping at will.
They are out touring in support of their latest record Unbreakable and also threw in a few cover songs including Ash killing the vocals on Pantera’s “Fucking Hostile.” It was a great set to start things off and I’m glad to see them growing their fanbase and continuing forward on their musical journey.
Soon it was time for the main event of the evening as the black Godsmack banner was hanging at the front of the stage. The venue lights went out and a taped intro of a medley of songs began to play beginning with part of the Queen classic “We Will Rock You,” a sure-fire way to hype up any rock audience.
All of a sudden the curtain dropped and Godsmack thunders into “When Legends Rise” and it’s game on! Lead vocalist Sully Erna was in his usual spot behind the mic front and center with guitarist Tony Rombola and bass guitarist Robbie Merrill flanking him on each side.
Drummer Shannon Larkin was situated atop a huge riser at the rear of the stage as a bevy of lights shown down upon them. It may have been hot as hell but the audience was hyped and so was the band, feeding off each other’s energy all night long. When the band rolled into “1000hp” and Sully screamed “Turn that shit up louder,” I couldn’t help but think hell yes, this is exactly how a rock show should be. The band was kicking ass and taking us to new heights of musical excitement.
Godsmack always puts on a great show production-wise as well and tonight was no exception. They brought a huge light show with enough flame pots and pyro to make any metalhead happy as a pig in poop. There were some humorous moments as well as Sully urged all the guys in the audience to put a girl up on their shoulders so he could “see some boobies!” The band sounded great as always. They have been playing together so long that they really do run like a well-oiled machine and Sully’s growls have only gotten better with age.
Lead guitarist Tony Rombola is probably one of the most talented and most underrated musicians around. He tends to be on the quieter side performance-wise but his talent is immense and if you take the time to really watch him, you will truly be amazed. Ditto for drummer Shannon Larkin as the man went absolute beast mode for the entire set. Rombola and Larkin also have a really excellent blues group that they record and perform in, The Apocalypse Blues Revue. It’s definitely very different from what they do in Godsmack but equally as good and any lover of the blues should check them out.
By now, everyone who hasn’t been hiding their head in the sand for the last two decades knows that Sully is also one terrific drummer and he and Larkin did their ultimate drum solo battle “Battala de los tambores,” a sight that must be seen to be appreciated and alone is worth the price of admission. The band returned for a four-song encore with the capacity crowd on their feet for the evening’s closer “I Stand Alone.”
The band may be a couple of decades older now, but they still play with all the vim and vigor of their youth as they shared their power and passion with Charlotte, if only for a brief time. This is a tour that any rock and metal fan should put on their must-see list. Check out their upcoming tour dates here and get in on the action.