Live Review : Godsmack + Like A Storm @ O2 Ritz, Manchester on February 28th 2019

Hooray. The Nu-Metal generation is alive and well. I've had my suspicions for some time that I wasn't completely alone, but standing here tonight in the crowd at Godsmack, I've got all the verification my baggy pants and chains will ever need.

I am still very much about the Nu-Metal which is probably why Break Stuff has always been my most favourite of all the club nights, even if I struggle to tie “Nu-Metal” and “Nostalgia” into the same sentence. Once I heard Korn on a classic rock radio station (and it was wubwub KoRn with Skrillex if you must know) and I wasn't ok for about 5 years.

Opening tonight are Like A Storm from New Zealand. I admit, I’ve been completely spoilt in the last year by another New Zealand band ( *cough cough * Alien Weaponry *cough cough* ) and maybe I'm a bit unfair in terms of what I expect. Like A Storm have got a catacomb backdrop and skeletons holding didgeridoos. Maybe my geographical knowledge is fucked. I always thought didgeridoos were Australian. I make a metal note to google that when I get home. And I will. My life is divided between being a mum and Rammstein and being a pokemon master, I can fit “metal head enquiries” in there too.

Like A Storm get off to a somewhat quiet start, with the vocals sounding a little too low to decipher, and there's a few mistimed smoke effects. By the time ‘Solitary’ arrives in the set, it’s all sounding good and loud and the didgeridoo gets a play! Unfortunately, although the band are obviously talented musicians, the music doesn't grip me with any kind of original flare, even with added didgeridoo. I think I am probably on my own with that opinion, as they are well loved by the audience.

There doesn't seem to be that long between Like A Storm ending and Godsmack coming on, which pleases me greatly. I'm easily pleased.

Sully + Co open their set with ‘When Legends Rise’, the title track from last year’s release, then blast into another title track of ‘1000hp’. Where Like A Storm had a shaky start, Godsmack have none of those issues. It’s almost like listening to a CD. The set is a perfect blend of the old and new, and I'm bouncing along to ‘Awake like I've had a few too many jägerbombs. Not too unbelievable if you know me, as I am a notorious light weight.

On a side note, the O2 Ritz does 2 pint cups. 2 pints! 2! It costs a hefty £10.20 but it also saves you a trip to the bar.

I've seen Godsmack on a few occasions now, and have come to the conclusion that I'm very comfortable in their fanzone. They never put on a bad show. They never sound off key or out of time. They have some absolute classic modern metal songs in their repertoire. Whilst my more “musically superior” (whatever that means) friends might scoff at me for being drawn to the simplicity of bands like Godsmack, Spineshank, and Mudvayne (and more recently Anti-Clone and DED, two bands which are my favourite new Nu-Metally bands), I personally love not being too stressed out by continual Pig Noise vocals , 5/4 time signatures, and the threat of animal blood being chucked over me mid set.

Godsmack are one of those late 90s/early 00s bands who were lucky enough to possess something original in the form of frontman Sully Erna. Sully is often described as having a voice somewhere between Layne Staley and James Hetfield, and I believe this makes him sound instantly recognisable. It goes without saying that a band need their own thing, and Godsmack’s thing is very much their frontman.

After a stunning performance of ‘Whatever’, a song which still sounds as moody and bitter as it did when I was a teenager, Godsmack play their own cover of The Beatles classic ‘Come Together’, which can be found on their “Live and Inspired” album if you have any desire to hear it for yourself.

I dive off to get my train, but I'm told by a little birdy the set finishes with ‘I Stand Alone’, the obvious choice for them. I didn't need to hear it to know it was awesome.

This was a bit of a rambling review, but nobody reads them anyway apparently. I spent a night head banging and killing some brain cells and Godsmack are still brilliant.

Godsmack return to the UK in June, playing the mainstage of Download on the Sunday along with Lamb of God, The Smashing Pumpkins and Tool.

Words by Sarah Cummings
Photography by Johann Wierzbicki