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Godsmack, Staind + Halestorm Incite ‘Mass Chaos’ in New Hampshire – Review and Photos

Mass Chaos
Mary Ouellette, SheWillShootYou.com

When Staind and Godsmack, two bands hailing from Massachusetts, announced their co-headlining ‘Mass Chaos’ tour run, it was a surprise to see that their home state had been left off of the tour routing. However, the band did manage to hit several New England venues, the closest to home being the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, N.H. last night (May 16).

Halestorm were playing their last show on the Mass Chaos tour. It’s amazing to see the growth in this band over just the past few years. Having seen them when they were starting out in dingy little clubs, watching Lzzy Hale and her crew take command of a venue of this magnitude was awe-inspiring but let’s face it, with those pipes, she’s primed and ready for the big stage.

Drummer Arejay Hale took the stage first, panning over the crowd with a video camera before taking up shop behind his drum kit. The band has made the most of the tour slot amping up their stage accoutrements to include a flashing logo, lots of LEDs, and a few too many strobes. Halestorm powered through a quick set primarily of tracks from their latest disc ‘‘The Strange Case Of…,’ a disc that has made some history along the way, with Halestorm becoming the first female fronted rock band ever to take the No. 1 spot on the Active Rock charts with ‘Love Bites (So Do I),’ which happened to be their opening number. Lzzy and company will be spending the summer out on the road on their own headlining run; check out all the dates here. The frontwoman took time to thank both Staind and Godsmack for the run saying that they had learned a lot from both bands.

Staind took the stage next. Having seen them many times in the past I’m well aware that they make their live statements mostly through their music with very little shtick in between and this evening was no different. While Aaron Lewis did take a few moments to wax poetic about New Hampshire and his time spent there living on Crystal Lake or partaking in the college party scene, for the most part he powered through their stocked set like a machine, only pausing from time to time to introduce a song.

With a pretty even mix of ballsy rockers and acoustic infused ballads, their set was a bit erratic but it only helped. Instead of playing all of the softer songs in one fell swoop, they were mixed into the set offering up a diverse set and never knowing what would come next. Lewis did pause mid-set to sing his solo tune ‘Country Boy’ saying only, “This is a song about … me.”

The musicianship backing Lewis is one to be noted. Guitarist Mike Mushok, bassist Johnny April and newcomer drummer Sal Giancarelli were precise and on point. The set list was a perfect mix of all the hits with just a taste of their latest self-titled 2011 release. Clearly Staind understand what the people want to hear!

Even though they went on before Godsmack, they still played a headlining set, in fact, when they finished, it almost felt like the show was over, making Godsmack work hard for closing honors. By the time Godsmack hit the stage, the general admission floor was functioning on all cylinders and Sully Erna, Tony Rombola, Shannon Larkin and Robbie Merrill had their work cut out for them. Clearly game for the challenge, they kicked off their set with the hit title track from their 2000 release ‘Awake’ quickly getting the crowd’s attention.

Again, Erna was short on words and let the music do the talking – must be something in that New England water! He did stop briefly to say that they had crafted a meaty set list so they wanted to just get to the music and cut out the talking, and for the remainder of their set they did just that.

The crowd was treated to what’s become a Godsmack tradition in their live set with Sully Erna – master of all musical trades –  hopping behind the kid and engaging in a war of drums with Shannon Larkin, set to the tune of ‘Batalia De Los Tambores’ proving that just about anything can be made into a percussion instrument.

Although Godsmack haven’t released a disc of original tunes since 2010’s ‘The Oracle,’ they did just drop their covers disc ‘Live & Inspired.’ They dug into that playing their version of Joe Walsh’s ‘Rocky Mountain Way.’

Their set flew by and before I knew it they had blasted through classics like ‘The Enemy,’ ‘Cryin’ Like a Bitch,’ ‘Voodoo’ and ‘Whatever.’ You kind of forget how many smash songs Godsmack have had until you hear them play out live right in front of you.

We all know that New Englanders are passionate about their sports and support them win or lose, and homegrown music falls into the same category. Seeing bands like Godsmack and Staind share the stage feels like a little piece of home for anyone who’s watched their careers evolve throughout the past decade. As I suggested to Mushok and Erna during their press conference for this tour, perhaps their next stop should be a Fenway Park show! (P.S. – it should be noted that they offered me a job as their booking agent after I made that suggestion so they clearly share the same passions as their fanbase!)

View Photos of Godsmack, Staind + Halestorm From ‘Mass Chaos’ Tour

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