20th June 2012, Review & Photography by Graham Hilling
Godsmack hail from Massachusetts, USA and got together in 1995. Playing a hard but straight rock/metal hybrid, they’ve been compared to Alice in Chains on more than one occasion and have been particularly successful in the states where they’ve had a lot of success in the US charts.They’ve played loads of touring festivals, including Ozzfest. Strangely, though, they’ve not made it to the UK since 2003. And this has got to be one of the reasons why the turnout at the Forum this evening is pretty impressive. I spoke to one guy who had travelled down from Liverpool and had been queueing to get a front spot all day, and I’m certain that he wasn’t alone in making a big effort to catch Godsmack tonight!
Before we get to that stage in the evening though, we have a single support band to warm up the atmosphere and that task tonight falls on the shoulders of The Defiled. To me, the choice of support for this evening is a little unusual. The Defiled are from Camden, just down the road and play a compelling mix of metal/hardcore and some keyboard thrown in for good measure. They’re pretty different from Godsmack though!
No matter, The Defiled are a fine band who always put on a great live show. Keyboardist The AvD swings his keyboard around throughout the set and you just know that by the end of the evening it’s 50/50 whether it will still be in working condition! New drummer Needles is very impressive, adding an extra impetus the bands already frenetic set. Songs like opener “Call to Arms” and closer “The Ressurectionists” (probably their best song imho) are well written and well performed.
Halfway through, the theatrics level is turned up with the arrival of a couple of dancers who then go about slitting the throats of various band members, complete with spurting blood. All good stuff and makes for a very engaging 30 minutes. Shame it was only 30 minutes tbh but then we all know that the crowd is not really here to see The Defiled and the fact that they’ve finished means we’re that much closer to Godsmack taking to the stage.
And there is a palpable air of expectation in the venue as Godsmack take to the stage. Coming on to “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)”, they steam into “Straight Out of Line” from the 2003 album “Faceless” (a song that was put up for a Grammy award).
Playing to an audience that, frankly, would have cheered if they had played a catalogue of Euro Vision greatest hits, they steamroller through a set covering all of the albums from “Voodoo” and classic “Whatever” from the self titled debut album, through “Awake” and “Vampires” from “Awake”, to “Re-Align” and “Serenity” from “Faceless”, a brief flirtation with “The Enemy” and “Speak” from “IV” and then bang up to date with some great songs from “The Oracle” –“ Love-Hate-Sex-Pain”,” Cryin’ Like a Bitch” and “The Oracle”.
While their live performance is less engaging than that of The Defiled (who would give most bands a run for their money), song after song is cheered and welcomed by the now packed Forum. Frontman Sully Erna barely has to do anything to get the crowd eating out of his hand!
By the end of the evening, there’s no questioning that it’s been a good show.
Worth waiting 9 years for? I’m not so sure but there’s no doubt a fair proportion of the punters here would say it was. As a footnote, it’s worth mentioning that Godsmack only played two of their European Tour dates after Sully Ernagot got a throat infection and the band returned to the USA.
As such, seeing them on this tour was definitely something no self respecting Godsmack fan would have wanted to miss – a little piece of history here and I’m wondering if it’s going to be another 9 years before they set foot on UK soil again!