A Triple Header Of Heavy Hitting Rock And Roll With Godsmack & Halestorm Godsmack w/ Halestorm and Monster Truck At the Toyota Arena
LOS ANGELES, CA- If Saturday night is alright for fighting, then Sunday night must be the stop to the top to Rock and Roll. A doubleheader… some would argue a triple header… of some of the best heavy hitting rockers around today, made their way to the Toyota Arena, (formerly the Citizens Bank Arena) in Ontario CA. Godsmack, Halestorm, and Monster Truck, each brought their unique brands of hard rock and metal to a packed house of fans.
With 3 full-length albums and an EP under their belts, Monster Truck, are not newcomers to the scene. This was my first experience with the band. Their southern-rock sensibilities mixed with their rock hard delivery captured my attention as a band to explore further. The opening song, “Don’t Tell Me How To Live,” speaks of independence and a golden rule anthem, “I’ll treat you as you treat me.” I can dig it.
Bassist/Vocalist Jon Harvey, along with his bandmates, guitarist Jeremy Widerman, drummer Steve Kiely and Organist Brandon Bliss, delivered a hard-rocking, blues laden 7 song set to kick off the night. “Sweet Mountain River” and the bluesy, “For The Sun,” were some highlights for me. “Evolution” of off their 2018 release, “True Rockers” and “The Lion” from their “Furiosity,” disc rounded out their set. As I stated earlier, I will be exploring their music a bit further upon their live introduction to me from this show.
After a short turn over, with the lights low, the blistering and powerful voice of “Mz. Hyde” broke the silence, well as silent as you can be with a few thousand people, with an acapella that went into “Do Not Disturb,” from Halestorm’s, “Vicious” album. The band, as tight as they are every time I’ve seen them, just blew the show into the next dimension. The second song on the list was my personal favorite, “Love Bites (But So Do I),” there’s something about the growl and grit of the song that I love. Much of their set were songs from the first two albums, including “I Get Off,” “Freak Like Me,” and a truncated and haunting version of “Familiar Taste of Poison,” which served as an intro/segue into “Amen.” The song is from 2015’s “Into The Wild Life” album and an unapologetic anthem of life to those who may judge or hate-on others.
Lzzy and guitarist Joe Hottinger exited that stage as drummer Arejay Hale and bassist Josh Smith engaged in a call and response back and forth duet. It is always a treat to watch musicians showcase their talents. This lead to Arejay’s drum solo. The dude is a monster drummer and just kicks ass. As always, he ends his solo with oversized drumsticks that he skillfully ends his solo with. The guitarists returned to finish the 11 song set with “Black Vultures,” the rallying “Freak Like Me,” “Uncomfortable” and “Chemicals.”
Something that really gets me when seeing live shows, is seeing the camaraderie between band members and an inclusive demeanor with the audience. Halestorm presents that every time. They’re happy to be there and thankful that people showed up. They toasted the crowd with their 2012 single, “Here’s To Us,” which had many on their feet singing along, raising their drinks in the revelry. “I Miss The Misery” closed out their already electric set. As the band took their bows and were handing out memorabilia like setlists, sticks, and pics, you could clearly see that they not only satisfied their existing fans but also won over new fans to their brilliant music and live show.
A prerecorded mix began to play and the anticipation grew as the curtain dropped for Godsmack. Drummer Shannon Larkin, standing on a shiny, reflective, spinning drum kit that resembled a giant disco ball, spun on to the stage, Bathed in white lights. Sully and company, greeted the crowd and broke into the title track of their most recent release, “When Legends Rise,” and they lived up to that introduction with a setlist that comprised of songs that spanned their 20-year career.
Sully Erna’s rich baritone was strong through “Say My Name” and “Cryin’ Like a Bitch,” but when it came to “Voodoo,” his voice was immaculate. This was the song that introduced most of us to the band as the first single off the debut album. I like the slithery tribal feel of it. “Unforgettable,” “Awake,” and a few others rounded out their set leading up to the drum duel called, “Batalla De LOS Tambores.” The drum battle between Larkin and Sully was tremendous to watch as they playfully traded percussive licks back and forth. As a drummer, I’m a huge fan of drum stuff. So for me, this was a definite highlight of the show. Sully is an excellent percussionist. “Whatever” closed out their set. Black Out.
The lights came back up for the encore. A grand piano sat center stage with Sully sitting at it. He spoke about the band’s nonprofit charity, The Scars Foundation. With mental illness continually on the rise, this foundation will help address things Like Depression, PTSD and addiction to name a few. Go to www.godsmack.com for more information. The song “Under Your Scars,” was the inspiration for this organization.
I have to say, the whole night, all 3 bands created such a sense of community as well as putting on an amazing show. The tour continues through October 26th, with stops in Oklahoma, Missouri, and Texas. Get your tickets and go. It’s a great time.