Godsmack – Like A Storm Live At O2 Ritz Manchester, UK

A foggy, rainy night is a fairly apt setting for American post-Grunge outfit Godsmack, bringing adept support with them in the shape of Like A Storm. Hailing originally from New Zealand, Like A Storm have been forging a strong path for themselves over the last couple of years, providing an intriguing support act for this evening’s entertainment. A short train ride later, it’s time to get into the Ritz and wait for the bands.

On come Like A Storm to a pretty loud cheer and it’s quite easy to see why within the first song of the set. The alt-Metal act quickly start winning people over with their accessible brand of music, as demonstrated by the heads nodding around the venue. The band themselves, self-professed “Didgeridoo metal”, give a very good account of themselves, showing sufficient skill at their respective instruments as to keep the crowd happy, whilst vocalist Chris doesn’t stop moving, bar, when he’s blowing into one of the skeleton, held didgeridoos at the front of the stage. He even jumps the barrier to sing from within the crowd during set closer ‘Love The Way You Hate Me’, helping enhance both his own and the band’s reputation with the more inclusive feeling of doing so. The music is well performed, the crowd happy, so the band’s job is done in warming us all up so well, even getting some loud sing-alongs through their set.

As Godsmack take to the stage, the almost capacity crowd gives a loud yell, as a We Will Rock You mashup rings out around the room. From the very outset, the crowd is boisterous as hell, in fine voice as they almost overpower opening track When Legends Rise (BMG), with the sway starting quickly, before shifting to a good old fashioned mosh pit before long. This continues on through the next couple of tracks, as the crowd shows themselves as familiar with last year’s When Legends Rise album as they are with the classics that form a good part of the set. Third in the set ‘Keep Away’ sees our first few crowd surfers, too, though I’m somewhat surprised that it’s taken this long, given the uplifting nature of the energy from the crowd.

This fine spirit continues on right through the gig, as we get more classics interspersed with tracks from the latest album, as the likes of ‘Cryin’ Like A Bitch’ meets ‘Awake’ meets ‘Unforgettable’, which hasn’t been played live before the previous night’s London date. The sheer joy and spirit outpouring from the crowd clearly energizes the band too, as bassist Robbie can barely keep still enough for his backing vocal segments, with no hope of doing so when not confined to the microphone. While Tony seems fairly content to stand back and play through most of the set, frontman Sully is another livewire, constantly interacting with other band members when not on vocal duties himself, with the spirit between the band themselves seemingly as good as ever, judging by the wide smiles and laughs that they all keep breaking out into. A cover of The Beatles’ ‘Come Together’ concludes the main set, while a three-song encore finishing on I stand alone is a pretty perfect way of concluding such a fine spirited concert. They sure made up for the cancellation late last year with this performance.

WORDS AND PHOTOS BY DJ ASTROCREEP