Godsmack return to Rock The Ink in Providence

A review of Godsmack at the Dunkin Donuts Center on October 25

, Editor-in-Chief

Maybe it was due to their long layoff or a crowd that lacked sizeable energy but Godsmack’s headlining slot at the Rock The Ink Festival in Providence on Saturday fell unusually flat for a band that normally rocks harder than most others.

Saturday marked Godsmack’s lone Northeast performance of the year for the Boston favorites. After celebrating ten years together in 2007, the band has since taken time off for a brief hiatus. Frontman Sully Erna has played a handful of solo acoustic shows while his bandmates recorded and tour under the moniker Another Animal.

As the lights dimmed shortly after 9:30, the Dunkin Donuts Center was around 60-70% capacity. Following a short video montage of the band’s decade long career, played to the tune of AC/DC’s "For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)", the band hit the stage and launched into "The Enemy". They followed with another track off 2007’s IV, "Living In Sin". The show was a less memorable clone of their performance in Mansfield two years ago, with a bit less sonically and visually (the stage show was more simple and relaxed this time around).

During the first half of their set the band was all business, but their focus seemed too programmed. "Moon Baby" fell flat and "Straight Out Of Line" was lackluster. Things began to pick up for the band with a solid rendition of "Alive", which flowed into the all-instrumental assault of "Vampires", during which the band finally settled into a groove.

After "Speak", nine songs into the band’s set, Erna addressed the crowdfor the first time. He wasted no time, after a quick hello and a few comments on how good it was to be in Providence, addressing the recent rumors surrounding the band’s future. "This band is not going fucking nowhere," he declared before explaining that the Rock The Ink appearance was a good way for the band to pop their head back out. "We’ll be back next year with a bad ass record for ya!" he continued. The news was met with roaring applause, which carried through a sing-along of "Keep Away", providing for one of the night’s best moments.

The highlight of the band’s 100-minute set was the drum duel between Erna and drummer Shannon Larkin. The two were magnificent during the duel, dubbed the "Battela de los Tambores". The two started off facing the crowd on their revolving platforms, Erna pounding on a congo drum set while Larkin rocked steady on his own drum set. The second half of the battle found the two facing each other, Erna’s focus turned to a full drum set as he traded notable fills with Larkin, who raised the bar higher each time. All along, guitarist Tony Rombola and bassist Robbie Merrill kept the song flowing, spicing it up at the end by delivering classic riffs like AC/DC’s "Back In Black" and Black Sabbath’s "War Pigs".

The band looked to continue their momentum with "Whatever", one of the band’s biggest hits. Surprisingly through, it was the crowd that provided the bigger let down here. Erna did call them out on it, stopping the song to test them with some other sing-alongs (Twisted Sister’s "We’re Not Gonna Take It" and Quiet Riot’s "Cum On Feel The Noise", which to be fair, has been done by the band for laughs in the past). The crowd, who did deserve a swift kick, responded by belting out the last couple of choruses.

The band returned, though a fair amount of the crowd did not, for a three-song encore. It began with the soothing "Serenity" as the band displayed their more reserved side (complete with Rombola using a double neck acoustic guitar). A cover of the Led Zeppelin classic "Good Times, Bad Times" followed before the band brought the show to a bruising close with the hard rocking "I Stand Alone". After the slow start there was a good finish, but not enough in between to make the show memorable enough to hold fans over during the band’s long hiatus.

Before Godsmack took stage, Sevendust rocked a solid hour-long support set. Frontman Lajon Witherspoon was full of energy throughout the set, which was comprised of old favorites and new tunes off the band’s latest release, Chapter VII: Hope & Sorrow.&

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