Feature: Godsmack, Seether, & Buckcherry Keep Rock Alive
Tue, 23 Sep 2014 14:25:04
In light of his recent statements declaring rock music dead, it's clear that Gene Simmons hasn't seen Godsmack live this summer.
The Boston quartet's headlining set at last week's Rockstar Energy Drink UPROAR festival in Irvine packed in enough hits, distortion, fire, and bravado to singlehandedly shoot down any and all feelings that said genre's funeral has come and gone. The curtain dropped and the boys launched right into a hypercharged "1000hp". Frontman Sully Erna flawlessly carried each and every word, battering out the six-string groove at the same time. Tony Rombola delivered a show-stopping lead—the first of many—and Robbie Merrill's could be heard back in Lawrence, MA. Shannon Larkin drove the assault from his drum perch, pounding out each beat with animalistic charm. Godsmack didn't stop cruising at that high-speed either, taking rock 'n' roll to the top with them.
"Cryin' Like a Bitch" and "Locked and Loaded" landed a well-deserved bitchslap with seesawing intensity and Erna's unmistakable vocals resounding. "Keep Away" ignited a massive sing-a-long, one of many, while "Something Different" emerged as a set highlight amongst a bevy of hits. The standout from this year's 1000hp built from an evocative clean guitar into one of Erna's most potent, passionate, and powerful hooks yet. It sat confidently alongside anthems such as the distinctive basher "The Enemy" and the juggernaut "Straight Out of Line". However, "Awake" split the earth with its thunderous guitars, distinctive drumming, and Era's charismatic focus on bringing the hooks. "Voodoo" instigated a ponderous reprieve, and the drum solo dazzled. "Whatever" and "I Stand Alone" left with a staggering one-two punch. Throughout it all, pyro blazed around the members as they traded places around the stage and riser. It was the epitome of a timeless rock show.
Buckcherry matched that energy with a sunlit set earlier. Hits like "Crazy Bitch" and "Sorry" got the amphitheater shaking as Keith Nelson and Stevie D. ripped up their fretboards like their lives depended on it. Each solo seared succinctly, while the riffs could keep any strip club or football stadium moving till the end of time. Selections from their recent Fuck EP stood out the most as "Somebody Fucked With Me" showcased just how swaggering and slick frontman Josh Todd can be, while "Say Fuck It" remained their most boisterous and ballsy moment since "Lit Up". Todd never faltered, always maintaining the ultimate style and substance especially when backed by the airtight rhythm section of Xavier Muriel and Kelly LeMieux. Again, Gene needs to educate himself.
Seether also offered up a string of radio smashes including the recent "Words As Weapons", an incendiary "Rise Above This", and a soulful "Fine Again". "Gasoline" kicked everything off, spilling out emotions and riffs as "Remedy" offered up an a propos moment of closure, encapsulating all of the group's sonic hallmarks into one blistering conclusion.
Rock music isn't going anywhere as UPROAR once again proved. It's strong, and it's only getting stronger. Mr. Simmons might want to get out more and see some real shows…
Were you there?