Godsmack and Rob Zombie at the Tweeter Center on September 6

A Review of Godsmack and Rob Zombie at the Tweeter Center on September 6

, Editor-in-Chief

When I spoke with Godsmack drummer Shannon Larkin last week, he vowed that the band’s tour with Rob Zombie would be “a well-oiled machine” that would “kick Boston’s ass.” Judging from the hard rockers hometown return to the Tweeter Center, he was not far from the truth.

After a video montage of the band, played to the tune of AC/DC’s “For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)” and an array of pyrotechnics (the first of many in the bands set), Godsmack hit the stage with “Straight Out Of Line.” Touring in support of IV (released last May), Godsmack followed up with three new tunes: “Speak,” “The Enemy,” and “Living In Sin.”

However, that was it for new material in the band’s main set. Instead, Godsmack hit the hometown crowd with old favorites off their first two releases, including a surprising rendition of “Moon Baby” in addition to “Awake” and “Keep Away.”

What was most impressive during Godsmack’s set was their underscored musicianship. While critics argue the band lacks creativity and most of their songs follow the same structure – such was not the case here. They all excelled during the instrumental jam, "Vampires," off Awake. Guitarist Robby Rombola took a break from his crunching riff play to give a unique intro to the otherwise dull "Voodoo" (on a side note: this song must be amusing for the rest of the country due to lead singer Sully Erna’s easily identifiable Boston accent).

It all climaxed in a drumming duel between Erna and Larkin, which the band justly dubs the “Battela de los Tambores.” For nine straight minutes, the two just simply battled it out musically, on individual revolving stages. They covered all the percussion elements, while Rombola and bassist Robbie Merrill threw in riffs from classic rockers AC/DC, Black Sabbath, and Jethro Tull. It was an impressive and fun display that would even inspire Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters (who have been known to do something similar in concert).

As Erna gave thanks and props once again to the band’s hometown crowd, Godsmack closed out their main set with a fervent sing-a-long of “Whatever.” They then capped the night off with a two-song encore of the brand new and southern rock inspired “Shine Down” and another fan favorite “I Stand Alone.”

While Godsmack simply rocked, Rob Zombie was more of an entertainer. His stage was crowded with all the stereotypical substance of an arena rock show and more: pyro, videos (used in every song), plastic statues of nude women and demons, and even dancing go-go girls on platforms.

Zombie and his band mates came rushing out of the gate, draped in skull masks, and launched quickly into “American Witch” (one of four from his latest release, Educated Horses). He followed, up with “Superbeast” and worked the stage like a caged animal (he appeared to be in a great shape for the majority of his set, probably due to the fact that he is now clean and sober.)

Fan favorites “Living Dead Girl” and “Never Gonna Stop” made early appearances to the delight of the crowd. Unlike Godsmack, Zombie (a Haverhill native) has no real attachment to Boston. He joked about this before bringing on stage his “only friend from high school” – a giant dancing robot for “More Human Than Human” from his White Zombie days. Another old Zombie classic, “Thunderkiss 65,” spotlighted his band.

However, Zombies excessive use of videos was dragged out like a bad Halloween television marathon. Zombie’s passion is now directed towards filmmaking, and the title songs from his own two films, “Horse of a 1,000 Corpses” and “Devils Rejects”, were both played – it made sense but was still over done.

For those that arrived early to the Tweeter Center, they were treated to a great brief set by Shinedown. The Jacksonville rockers delighted with “45,” “Save Me,” and Lynard Skynard’s “Simple Man.”

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