Boston badasses, Godsmack have been topping the charts in the music industry for over 24 years, but serve no masters as they have blazed a trail of their own by creating music that is 100% authentic to themselves. In turn, generating fans that are just the same, 100% authentic and loyal to their favorite Bostonian band, Godsmack. Formed back in 1995, Sully Erna, Tony Rambola and Robbie Merrill forged a path that would take them on a wild ride into an industry that was searching for a band like them. It wouldn’t take long before the band cranked out their first hit with the release of their self-titled debut album Godsmack, the band earned four number one hits with songs such as “Whatever”, “Keep Away”, “Voodoo”, and “Bad Religion”. Godsmack lit a torch that they were going to carry from that point on and never look back.
Over the course of the next 14 years, the band would go on to generate five more studio albums with 18 hit singles and numerous Grammy and Boston music award nominations. With a fire burning so hot, you have to wonder how they were able to keep their hands on the wheel. April of 2018 the band released their seventh studio album When Legends Rise. The recent efforts of the veteran heavy-hitters features a very versatile sound that is both dynamic and reinvigorating to the listener and avid fan of the band, showing off a side of the guys we’ve never seen, one that is sure to translate well to a live audience while on tour while mixed in with a large catalog of songs that have been sculpted from recent releases.
Godsmack is embarking on this tour with the help of some friends in Stitched Up Heart and Volbeat. The tour began on April 16th in Nashville Tennessee at Bridgestone Arena, however, has now made its way to the Ford Center in beautiful downtown Evansville Indiana on a rainy April 18th night! Leading up to this show much was anticipated as this was a show that I’ve looked forward to covering for some time now.
Kicking off the show was the band Stitched Up Heart from Hollywood California. Comprised of badass vocalist Mixi, Decker on drums, Merrit on Guitar and bassist Randy, the LA-based quartet took to the stage with a killer performance of their song “Catch Me When I Fall”, Mixi has a style all of her own, channeling all the great performers of the past and infusing her own brand of cool and theatricality into everything she does. This was Evansville’s first time observing this band and the crowd took them in as if they were locals, screaming and pumping their fists to the beat of each song. Bassist Randy worked the crowd really well as did guitarist Merrit while Decker got into his own rhythm behind the skins as Stitch Up Heart made their impression and presence prominent in Evansville Indiana on this night. I look forward to seeing more shows by this band in the future.
STITCHED UP HEART - Finally Free (OFFICIAL VIDEO)
Minutes seemed to pass by quickly as the stagehands burned away the set from the previous band and prepare for the set of the evenings’ next band, Volbeat. Hailing all the way from Copenhagen, Denmark, this is a band that’s no stranger to blasting and putting on shows all across the globe. Lead by Michael Poulsen in guitar and lead vocals. A massive Volbeat curtain dropped to the opening of “The Devil's Bleeding Crown”, always sure to start any show off right. It didn’t take long for the fans at The Ford Center to start losing their minds and banging their heads to the music. Volbeat began working the large stage, seemingly flawless through their opener we all knew we were in for a damn good time. Guitarist Rob Caggiano and bassist Kaspar Larsen played back and forth with the crowd and photographers, knowing very well they had the task of pumping everyone’s blood back into their heart due to being caught off guard with an opening performance such as theirs. We didn’t have long to catch ourbreath, Volbeat decided to keep the party going with “Lola Montez”, fans screaming and photographers running up and down the pit, Volbeat was all smiles and riffs playing us all a show we would soon not forget. Working us all up as they had, Poulsen strapped into an acoustic guitar, but only momentarily as they would keep the party going with “Sad Man’s Tongue”. The band kept up the pace for the duration of their entire set, blowing away Evansville and barely leaving any bones behind. One thing we do know for certain is judging by the amount of crowd participation, Volbeat will indeed return to The Ford Center.
Volbeat - The Devil's Bleeding Crown
As fans had about enough time to catch their breath, the event staff began preparations for the main event of the evening. Godsmack. Quickly rushing to get things off and in the stage in efforts for the guys to make their way to stage. The lights cut, music hit and the curtain fell as Godsmack opened the set with an enormous bang! The first song the band would play was “When Legends Rise”, which has already become cataloged and praised as one of their biggest songs. Sully Erna played with bone-crunching intensity and sang with grit to keep their fans begging for more. There were many stand out moments musically that could not be captured in cell phone video or anything of the sort. Guitarist Tony Rombola melted our faces off just as good as all the pyro and flames the band's production had, solo after solo, riff after riff, Rombola played as though his fingers were on fire. Amazingly keeping up was Erna who is a jack of all trades, playing guitar, singing and playing drums. With that said the time in the night had come when Sully Erna and Shannon Larkin battle it out on the kits. You heard me. Kit(s). If you’ve never been to a Godsmack show before you’re in for a real show! What seemed like at least 10 minutes, Larkin and Erna went back and forth, playing off each other to precision. This is a truly remarkable feat that MUST be witnessed live. Pyro and a loud pop ended the drum off between Sully and Shannon which their next and what many believed to be their final song of the evening “Whatever” off their self-titled record.
"When Legends Rise" - Godsmack
Fans stood in silence for what seemed like a nanosecond before beginning to ask for more to a band that wasn’t done playing either. Making his way back to the stage, Erna sat down at the keyboard and explained his gratefulness to the Evansville crowd as well as his affinity for a new outreach program he’s founded called the Scars Foundation, which helps those with anxiety, PTSD, depression, mental illness, and other various conditions. “I don’t know about you guys, but I’m tired of losing amazing people from this industry and this earth, it’s time someone stood up and said enough and did something about it so that’s why we have created the Scars Foundation,” said Erna. With that said the band began the intro into their newest single “Under Your Scars”, a beautiful and rare song that the band seldom produces for their records. “A necessary song” mentioned Erna. The bands’ encore lasted just long enough to feel like a game at Fenway Park in Boston after a seventh-inning stretch. Godsmack and ended their thrilling show with theirmega-hit “I Stand Alone”. There wasn’t a fan not screaming every lyric and pumping their fists in the entire 10,000+ capacity Ford Center. This show will definitely be a hard one for the next artist that makes their way through the arena. Be sure to check out the remainder of this spring tour in a city nearest you! Also be sure to again check out everything the Scars Foundation is doing and how you can help here: www.godsmack.com/scarsfoundation
Photo Galleries: All photos by: Brandon Scott Hanks
Stitched Up Heart