Godsmack / Volbeat / Stitched Up Heart
Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN – 4/16/19
Review and Pictures: Tara Lakatos
Godsmack’s North American Tour with Volbeat and Stitched Up Heart kicked off at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN on April 16, 2019. Rock and Roll was alive and well in the heart of Music City that night. Godsmack is currently out supporting their 2018 release, “When Legends Rise”. Volbeat has material recorded for their seventh album and are planning on releasing later this year. Stitched Up Heart just released a new single titled “Lost” which will be featured on their sophomore LP, which is due out this fall.
Stitched Up Heart
Stitched Up Heart opened the night to a decent sized crowd. They are led by a tiny hurricane named Mixi Demner (vocals), Merrit Goodwin (guitar), Jeremy Kohnman (guitar), Randy Mathias (bass) and James Decker (drums).
They played a short set, but they definitely injected the crowd with a lot of energy. Mixi commanded the stage, sang her heart out, and swung her blond mane as fast as she could. Stitched Up Heart is backed by great musicians that match Mixi’s spirit. Merrit and Randy feed off of the crowd, James is always having the time of his life behind his kit, and newcomer Jeremy fit right in.
They played a few old favorites including “I Can’t Breath”, “Finally Free” and “Catch Me When I Fall”. They ended the evening with their newest single “Lost” which features Godsmack’s, Sully Erna. This song is a bit heavier musically than some of their past ventures, but fit perfectly into their set. It shows their growth but kept elements of the past such as the super catchy chorus. Stitched Up Heart put on a great set and I am sure they left with some the stage with some new fans.
Next up was Volbeat. They hail from Denmark and bring a super unique sound with them. I’ve seen them several times before from small venues to large arenas. Each time they bring the goods and tear down the venue. Volbeat consists of Michael Poulsen (vocals, guitar), Rob Caggiano (guitar), Kaspar Larsen (bass), and Jon Larsen (drums).
Michael has a unique vocal style; coupled with his accent it sometimes makes for the best-misheard lyrics. Quite a few of their songs are up- tempo making it a fun challenge. They opened their set with “The Devil’s Bleeding Crown” off of their last release “Seal the Deal & Let’s Boogie”; this song in particular has some rapid-fire vocals. Michael’s voice has a super smooth tone, his guitar playing is top notch, and he has a smile that melted every woman’s heart in the arena. This song set the tone of the night for them and got everyone moving. The second song of the night was “Lola Montez”. This is by far my favorite Volbeat song. There is no way that you can hear this song and sit still, I had a huge photographer faux pas during this one and sang along. The guitar riffs from Michael and Rob are in a word: vibrant. The music is pure rock and roll and super infectious.
Rounding out the opening 3 three songs was “Sad Man’s Tongue”. For the start of this song Michael had both acoustic and electric guitars. He talked to the audience for a bit and said it was nice to be back. They had taken a bit of a hiatus since his daughter was born a couple of years ago. He teased a bit of Johnny Cash’s, “Ring of Fire”, before proceeding into “Sad Man’s Tongue”.
This song was a perfect compliment to Nashville with the slide guitar playing, the country drumbeat and the deep drawn out vocals. This song though has a twist, about 45 seconds in and Michael let out a scream, the acoustic guitar went away, the amp was turned up and the crowd went into a frenzy. The only thing that remained constant throughout the song was the drumbeat.
Volbeat played an 11 song set that included many other fan favorites including “The Mirror and the Reaper”, “Black Rose”, “Dead but Rising”, “Seal the Deal” and “Still Counting”. This band is unique, energetic, and just plain lovable. The crowd sang, danced, moshed and crowd surfed throughout their set. I cannot wait for new music from these guys, the wait is killing me.
Last but not least, the boys from Beantown; Godsmack. The last time I saw them was at Musikfest in Bethlehem, PA in 2017 as they were wrapping up their previous tour cycle. Needless to say, I was super excited to be able to catch up with them in Music City. Godsmack consists of Sully Erna (vocals, guitar), Tony Rombola (guitar), Robbie Merrill (bass), and Shannon Larkin (drums).
I was a bit worried about their new album “When Legends Rise” prior to its release. There was a lot of talk that they would have a totally new sound and that they were going a bit more commercial with the new material. It turns out that I was worried for no reason. The new album is stellar, is it different yes, is it a departure from Godsmack’s sound, no.
Right out of the gate Godsmack opened with the title track of their new album, “When Legends Rise”. This song is so big that an arena can’t even harness its energy. The song starts out with a huge galloping drumbeat and a mesmerizing guitar riff. Sully’s vocals roared out, as a legend’s should. The chorus just calls out for everyone to join in and sing along. The crowd was crazy amped from the floor to the last rows in the arena. Ironically the second song they played was “1000hp” which was the title track of their last album. This performance delivered more than 1000hp and 1000 degrees. There were huge flame-throwers lining the stage that went off throughout this song, the heat was so intense my camera lens fogged up. This song features more of a chugging guitar riff with flashy guitar solos. Rounding out the opening 3 songs was another new one “Say My Name”. This song is pure rock and also has a huge chorus, which is a big theme on “When Legends Rise”.
I made my way up to the stands after photographing the beginning of the set and was able to observe all of the craziness from above the crowd. About halfway through the set Sully was left alone on the stage. He chatted with the audience, made some jokes about the muscle bound guys and then asked them all to put their ladies up on their shoulders for the next song. He said you’ll want to do this because there’s a good chance they will flash us, well he wasn’t wrong. As soon as he said that the shirts went up, including one lonely guy that was up on his friend’s shoulders. After this he asked for all the lights in the venue to be turned off and told the audience if they want to see the band they have to light the place up, so they did. It went from pitch black to the light of 10,000 cell phones. The band came out and went into “Something Different”, the stage lights came back on and the audience proudly waved their horns.
Godsmack performed a few more classic songs including “Cryin’ Like a Bitch”, “Voodoo” and “I Stand Alone”. The encore included a couple of new ones including my favorite song “Under Your Scars”. This song is hard to classify, the heartfelt lyrics and melody scream ballad, but it’s not quite, and it’s not a full-blown rock song either. It’s caught in some perfect musical realm. I was happy that they performed this song; it let Sully’s vocal talent shine without all of the normal bells and whistles.
This tour package is on a limited run through a few states and Canada. I highly urge you to see this show if it happens to hit your area. It was definitely the best all around rock show that I have seen in quite some time.