By MIKE CHAIKEN
After a hiatrus of couple of years, Godsmack is back with a vengeance.
The Boston-based band’s latest album, “1000 HP,” reached the number 2 slot on Billboard’s Rock charts.
Not bad for a group whose last album, “The Oracle,” came out in 2010.
The group—currently Sully Erna on lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards, harmonica, drums, and percussion, Robbie Merrill on bass guitar; Tony Rombola on lead guitar and backing vocals, Shannon Larkin on drums—is out on the road with the Rock Star Energy Drink Uproar Festival. And the package tour—which also includes Skillet and Pop Evil—stopped in to Connecticut at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville on Aug. 20. (3 Years Hollow and Toy Berlin served as the Connecticut undercard for this stop.)
Again and again, the bands exclaimed that hard rock is not dead. And each act proved the point once, twice, three, four times over.
For its argument in favor that hard rock is forver, Godsmack stepped out on to the stage accompanied to the sounds of AC/DC’s “For Those About to Rock, We Salute You.” And it was an appropriate way to launch the show as Godsmack ripped right into its set with as much energy as the title of its current record implied— running at 1,000 horsepower with all pistons pumping.
Musically, the band was in fine shape as it moved through its set of classic Godsmack and tracks from “1000 HP” at breakneck speed. Their nearly 90 minute set was all hard rock with no time out for power ballads or atmospherics.
The group also pulled out all the stops production-wise.
For Uproar, Godsmack offered up an old school hard rock show, foregoing video screens and computerized graphics. Instead the group punctuated their hard rocking music with the visceral effect of flames shooting out of the floor into the skies and sonic grenades detonating that left the floor of the Mohegan Sun quaking.
If you weren’t a fan of Godsmack before Uproar, you left the arena as a convert.
Skillet also drove home the point that hard rock lives on with its energetic set that perfectly set the stage for Godsmack. Skillet also proved that hard rock comes in many different dimensions as its lyrics provided a positive message for fans of headbanging music.
Pop Evil’s set was simply incendinary. Although they lacked the ballistics of Godsmack’s set, front man Leigh Kakaty demonstrated he clearly is carrying on the hard rock and hypnotic front man tradition of his musical predecessors such as Robert Plant, Steven Tyler, and Jim Morrison.
3 Year Hallow is new on the scene but their brief set proved that the future of hard rock is in good hands.
I give the Rock Star Energy Drink Uproar Festival 3 out of 4 stars.
PHOTOS by MIKE CHAIKEN