With Staind and Cold. Friday, April 13, CSU Convocation Center.

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The Widow of Saint-Pierre
Alice in Chains, meet Alice in Aggroland. Boston's Godsmack has taken grunge's bass-driven toxic sludge and existential angst to its high-gloss, prime-time logical conclusion, making the opportunistic quartet perhaps the most prominent Ozzfest-playin' neometal outfit who won't make time for Jay-Z. Trading heroin-soaked sincerity for accessibility, frontman Sully Erna affects a perfect Layne Staley growl, barking "I'm doin' the best I ever did," even when you know he could do better -- or at least do something original. Still, lack of originality is a rather lenient sentence to pass on a major label darling in these heady end times. Unlike Alice in Chains, at least Godsmack, you know, puts out albums and tours and stuff. And parts of the band's master plan have merit -- particularly the percussion-heavy bongo action Erna occasionally drops into the Godsmack live experience. Less convincing is the inevitable voodoo shit -- Erna's status as a Wiccan gives him marketable mystery as "That Witch Dude," which Godsmack's sophomore release, Awake, exploits with walks on the dark side, such as the reincarnation anthem "Spiral" and the patented heavy-metal-instrumental-with-ominous-gothic-voiceover "Vampires." As a whole, Awake represents the best quasi-satanic low-end metal sound major label money can buy, but in the quest to sound badass or even slightly menacing, the Godsmack boys get their drawers blown off by rival bands that spend half the dough and cosmic energy. And yet, with its show at the Convocation Center, Godsmack proves that it's playing in the big leagues now. But an arena tour alone, away from Ozzfest camaraderie? Better light a whole bunch of candles and conjure up some "Bad Magick," Sully.
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