Godsmack and Red Sun Rising rage at SDSU

by Steven Buriek, Staff Writer

On Thursday, Nov. 12, legendary metal band Godsmack and alternative rock band Red Sun Rising shook the pits of the Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre.

“God’s honest truth, 100 percent, (Red Sun Rising is) good,” audience member Joe Stuper said.

A long-haired, grunge-style band from Akron, Ohio, Red Sun Rising has been touring since last November and watched its music grow in the limelight of the alternative rock scene. The band’s chart-topping single “The Otherside” remained No. 1 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Song chart for four months this year.

“It surpassed our expectations for first single,” Red Sun Rising frontman Mike Protich said. “We just kept watching it climb while we were on the road and just kept working. I’d love to get another No. 1 and get a lot of cross formats in the radio and alternative world.”

The band wailed to the crowd and pounced on amps, playing songs from its most recent album,Polyester Zeal.” The music gave way to a style similar to Guns N’ Roses and Tool.

Clean vocals and magnetic songwriting by Protich resonated throughout the theater. The frontman flexed his innate ability to inject chainsaw grit into high range.

The band delivered a tight and confident performance to fans on Thursday — its first visit and performance in San Diego,

“They were very active on stage,” local fan Allie Green said. “They had the whole crowd pumped.”

For the main event, the loud and gruesome Godsmack from Lawrence, Massachusetts, brought the essence of metal and hardcore rock to the mature audience.

Frontman Sully Ema spit carelessly on stage and shared whiskey with the audience members while drummer Shannon Larkin chain smoked and chugged Coronas in the background. In the midst of the songs, Ema would step up to the amps and let the screeching sounds blast the ears of the audience.

“There are so many bands out there it’s unbelievable,” Ema said. “If you’re hearing us f*** up tonight, it’s because this is live f***ing music.”

The audience was a belligerent crowd with violent headbanging and the smell of beer and marijuana seeping out. Hand-horn gestures were flying through the crowd the whole night. One fan removed his shirt and charged the stage. He was stopped by security and returned to his seat, but not before giving the guard the slit-throat hand gesture. The Open Air Theatre was a cacophony of rage and sound.

Godsmack had a few tricks up its sleeve. For one, the band used voice boxes to whip up robotic noises. In one act, Larkin’s drum set rolled unexpectedly to another location on stage, and another remote-controlled drum set glided up a platform beside it. Ema manned the additional drum set alongside Larkin, with the duo hammering some ear-splitting drumming.

Ema surprised the crowd with news that the whole show was being recorded for an upcoming documentary. Faces shown on-screen behind the stage were exponentially ecstatic to see themselves there.

The final song of the night was a cover of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” expertly executed by Ema and the band.