Photo of

Godsmack / Staind / Cold/ Systematic at Louisville Gardens April 7, 2001

By Jason Koerner

Let me begin by saying that I do not know what the big deal is about Godsmack. I probably just offended the a big section of the music fan population of the country by saying that, but I have a difficult time getting into their music, and since I have seen them in concert, I realize I do not like their rock star attitudes. either.

Photo of Godsmack guitarist
Photo By Photo by Jason Koerner
Godsmack guitarist

The night began with Systematic, but I only heard one song of theirs. (It sounded good!) Cold followed the heavy-hitters with a killer if relatively short set, and I could have listened to more of them. As you may already know, they're getting recognition with their single "Wicked," which closed their set, and their other tunes proved to be just as good, if not a little better. You could actually hear the vocals, which seems to be a major accomplishment for Louisville Gardens at times, even though the guitar was a little quiet. They even did a song about mother, believe it or not. Check out their album, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Photo of Sully
Photo By Photo by Jason Koerner

Staind completely overshadowed anything the Godsmack crew could have done that night. Every performance of theirs that I have seen has been rock solid. However, the popularity contests are still in the favor of groups like Godsmack, even though the gap is closing. Record sales and radio play are big factors in determining a groups' success, but Pantera and the likes have proven that they are helpful, but not essential. Staind seems to have no problem gaining the respect of audiences or getting radio play, but for some reason, they are still in the shadows of bigger bands like Godsmack.

Staind first made their presence known with songs such as "Mudshuvel" and "Home." Their more recent success has come in a big way from the first single, "Outside," from the new album Break the Cycle, which will be released May 22. Yes, this is the song with Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst wailing off-key in the background for five measures or so. Oh, and no one can overlook Durst's musical genius in the lines, "Biloxi...This is the real m*-f*ing deal, y'all... I'm feeling those lighters." Thanks, Fred, now shut up, get off the stage, and quit wastin' my flava' yo.

Photo of Godsmack vocalist
Photo By Photo by Jason Koerner
Godsmack vocalist

Aaron Lewis performed "Outside" by himself, reinforcing the lack of necessity of Fred Worst in anything musical, and even made the joke himself, quoting, "I'm feeling those lighters..." The crowd laughed and cheered. Lewis kept the acoustic guitar out for their newest single "It's Been Awhile" and gave a powerful performance. It is amazing what a distortion pedal can do for a flat top.

Lewis; unlike Durst or Sully Erna (Godsmack), seems very humble about his work. He does not demand that the crowd to get into their music like the above-mentioned. The performance speaks for itself. Staind is one of the few heavy bands that can flip-flop like a bipolar disorder between fits of mania and melancholy. When you have talent like this, you do not need big production shows, and you certainly do not need to yell at your fans for fifteen minutes between every song to get into your music like ... Godsmack.

As I said, the appeal of Godsmack is still a mystery to me. They had the fire, the lights, the fans... but nothing worth listening to. At one point in the show, I felt like I was in the middle of a late night commercial for one of those "Pure Moods" CDs. You know the ones I am talking about ... there is always something really cheesy on the screen while some sort of world beat music is playing softly in the background. The band had an obsession with music from India or something. But hey, they had choreographed fire.

The thing that really set me off about this band is that they seem so full of themselves, and they portray that in Sully's rock star attitude onstage. Every five seconds it was, "I wanna see every m*f*a on the floor right now. We are not playing `till we see you there... Everyone needs to get the f**k up! Come on, f**kers...!" It just got old, and was really abrasive. It was like having Barry Manilow shouting between songs about starting a mosh pit.

This apparently really turned off a lot of fans and even caused many to leave early. How do I know? I was by the door getting air, being bored. (Darrin, the world's coolest security guard, let us stand in the draft because we were not as drunk and obnoxious as everyone else nearby. Thanks, man!) People began a steady flow out of the gate before the show was over. All were told, "Once you go out, you can't come back in." Their replies all were unaffected blurbs of "That's OK."

I really believe people were leaving early due to the fact that the show consisted of flames, noise and a bad attitude that was contagious. I later heard they kicked everyone out from backstage, including some who were closely tied to the concert and its promotion. Just a rumor ... but a believable one, if you ask me. Go buy Staind's new album.