All Photos: Julius Richardson
Words: Shadow Editor
In what it could possibly turn out to be one the best Rock Tours to hit Huntsville all year (being cynical here as we don’t get many, but we are getting better at that), Godsmack and Shinedown rumbled into town this past Monday at the Von Braun Center Arena and delivered a great night of music and intense pyrotechnics on stage. To no ones surprise, Shinedown sold very well as they have for a number of years, riding the past and successes of great records such as “Threat to Survival”, “Amaryllis” and “The Sound Of Madness”. They are not only a great US rock band, but their impact spreads overseas and beyond. So, I was really looking forward to checking them out in support of their new record “Attention Attention”. (If you missed our review on that one, bang it here for more.) Godsmack on the other hand, is a group that I have not kept close tabs on since their global success of earlier albums the likes of “Awake” , “Faceless” and their self title chart breaking smasher. But in similar fashion they have a new record out “When Legends Rise” and their single “Bulletproof” has been very well received across the country. Good for them as I was curious to see how they play live, having never seen them in their heyday.
Before we get star struck by those bands, let’s talk about Asking Alexandria, the opening band. Being somewhat lightly familiar with some of their older stuff, some fans opinion on their latest album is that they have changed up their sound a bit to something more mainstream. I have to agree, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, folks. Regardless, as the opener, you don’t have much time to shine in a 30 minute set, but the guys quickly set the crowd on fire, literally with some pyro explosions, and set the tone for the other bands. I will say that when “Into The Fire” from their self title record last year started playing, it was pretty damn convincing with their driven energy. Vocalist Danny Worsnop is back and it shows. The man has a solid voice (forget the screamo parts), strong, raspy, clean voice that just fits the band great. Next, Someone, Somewhere (acoustic), was a nice homage to the military serviceman all over the world; it’s a cool tune that hits on a personal level for many. They threw in a few other numbers from their last album in “Eve”, which aligns more with their past work. All in all, not a bad opening to the night for a lot of long time fans. They are glad Danny is back and hopefully he sticks around as the guys have a strong fan base. If you blink you would have missed the set from these guys.
The Shinedown curtains went up as it was almost time for one of the headliners to hit the stage. Shinedown quickly sent of volt of energy in this casual Monday night crowd at the VBC. I say casual, but the turn out was great and they were damn committed to the bands, especially when Shinedown took the stage. An oldie but a good one in “The Sound of Madness” helps kicks things in good Hard Rocking fashion. Any song the guys play from “Threat to Survival” is a guarantee to be pretty well received and this evening they played “Cut the Cord” first, which is perfect Modern Hard Rock with a tight tempo and keen lyrics. For those not following what we do here, we listen to a lot of music, I mean a lot of music throughout the year. “Threat to Survival” ended up on multiple top albums list from our staff writers, and we have a big time diverse group of music aficionados that listen to all kinds of genres. It was that good. I really enjoyed the message of “Get Up”, the bands new single off “Attention Attention”. Singer Brent Smith has said the message was inspired by the struggles of depression through the eyes of his band mate and bass player Eric Bass. Good song that got the crowd even more energized. Another sample of this modern influenced vibe tapping into more commercial success comes via “State Of My Head”. You know you are doing something right on a Monday night, with weary after-work citizens of all ages banging their heads. Rock is a beautiful thing it brings people together. What more could you ask for? Brent started running towards the back platform on the lower level, damn near tripped over it as he climbs it, and shortly thereafter, a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” started resonating to this southern crowed. Yep, they all approve. Nice touch guys, very well played. Brent provided some nice vocals on this one. The guys saved all the pyro for “Devil” which ended their set with fans reflecting on this massive performance. I overheard someone in the crowd saying in passing, “Shinedown is a heavier version of Imagine Dragons” … no. They are fucking Rock. Enough said, don’t put those in the same sentence.
Bar was set high for Godsmack as they hit the stage with some clear lighting and nice display imagery behind the set. Frontman Sully Erna looks like he has never aged, and charismatic as ever, launched right into concert staples and favorites of many, “Awake” and “Keep Away”. Those songs will always have a certain appeal to older fans, like myself. I admit, I listened heavily to their music around that time frame, because it was catchy metal then and it still holds audiences attention today. Another fan favorite came at you via “Voodoo”. I’ve always loved that dark, subliminal and mystique sound. It was a cool tune then and still stands out today. I will admit that I would’ve preferred Sully cut some of the small talk and just keep playing at times, but his comment when an small audience member was asleep in the front of the audience was hilarious, as he suggested their music puts people to sleep. Come on, that’s funny. Their single “Bulletproof” gets a number of course. It’s nice tune and I can see it on holding in top charts across the country. It’s catchy and still had that old school Godsmack rhythm and bass. My favorite from the night had to be the mobile drum kits from both drummer Shannon Larkin and Sully’s own drum kit. They had a drum battle and it was damn impressive. Yeah, most know Sully is an accomplished drummer, but that’s a cool twist to add to a performance.
The night ended quickly soon after and fans started plowing out of the arena as they rushed home to Tuesday’s work day. Even though I gave the city a hard time for Black Stone Cherry (admittedly, it was smaller venue), the fans came out in force this evening, which made me proud of Huntsville. Keep it going, let’s get more Rock bands here. We have a diverse city in great location that could be a stop of many tours as they fast track across the south. It’s a booming city that deserves more great Rock music. In the end all bands had a nice showing, and to top it off, local Rock station, The Rocket 95.1, was celebrating their 18th birthday. What a way to do that than at this gig. Keep supporting the bands folks, and Rock!!!
For more information on Shinedown, please visit: