After two cancellations due to Covid-19, the Twin City Takeover finally rolled into Minneapolis, Minnesota and filled the Target Center for a night of music. It was a five- band bill headlined by Godsmack and featured Three Days Grace along with Asking Alexandria, Wage War and Lilith Czar.
Lilith Czar hit the stage first with the rocking track “Feed My Chaos.” The track is taken from her newest record, ‘Created From Filth And Dust,’ which was a rebirth of sound and style for Juliet Sims. Lilith Czar is her alter ego which saw her blonde hair replaced with jet black hair and a shift to a heavier rock sound as opposed to pop. It is always a tough spot to be in when you’re the opening act and going on early. People are still filing into the venue but she made the moment hers and showcased her voice and style brilliantly. Draped in a red dress she stuck with material from the new album and hit “Lola,” “King,” the cover “Edge of Seventeen” from Stevie Nicks and “100 Little Deaths,” which goes back to her Juliet Sims era, but both the cover and that track are on the newest album. Her short set ended with “Anarchy” which left me wanting to see her again as this was my first time catching her and hopefully, she will make her way back here again soon.
When you looked at the line-up, there was no question what band was going to bring the most aggression to the Target Center and that is exactly what Wage War did. Opening with “Relapse” from the newest album, ‘Manic,’ they set out to destroy the place. It was forty minutes of an all-out sonic assault as they ripped through an eight-song set that included “High Horse,” “Teeth,” “Godspeed” and “Circle the Drain.” There wasn’t any doubt that they had a lot of fans anticipating their set as the energy amped up instantly as soon as they started. Wage War have been kicking around since forming in 2010 under the name Empires in Ocala, Florida. Every release has shown the bands growth, capped with that brilliant latest album, and they continue to build their fan base by utilizing every minute of stage time to get their music in the ears of anybody that will listen.
Asking Alexandria opened with “Alone Again” which appears on the latest release ‘See What’s On The inside’ which came out in 2021. The British rock band from York, North Yorkshire have been mainstays in the metalcore genre and have built up an extensive catalog of material over seven albums. The band has continued to explore other avenues of sound as they have incorporated a more melodic approach with anthemic rock songs as opposed to sticking strictly to the metalcore playbook. Despite the change in aggressiveness, the live sound is still boisterous and rips as it comes off the stage. The set was ten songs and the bulk of the material was pulled from the ‘Like a House on Fire’ and ‘Asking Alexandria’ releases which included “Antisocialist,” “Down to Hell,” “The Violence,” “Into the Fire” and the closer “Alone in A Room.” I’ve seen these guys so many times over the years and they always pull of their stuff very well and give you a good show and this performance was no different.
“So Called Life” from the brand-new record ‘Explosions’ opened the set for Three Days Grace. It was the start of a ten-song set that saw the band focusing on the hits of the catalog, and a little bit to my surprise, they have quite a few. I lost track of this band after the first two albums and when vocalist Adam Gontier split from the outfit I completely lost touch with the band. This was my first time seeing the band live and I was pleasantly surprised just how great they sounded and the non-stop energy the newer front man, Matt Walst who took over vocals back in 2013, had throughout the set. The obvious cuts like “Animal I have Become,” “Never Too Late,” “Riot,” “Home” and “I Hate Everything About You” were certainly the backbone of the night and rightfully so as the crowd sang every word but I really liked “Mountain” and “Painkiller” as well. It was one of those shows where I fully realized how many hits this band has and why they continue to draw fans to their shows. The sound was so tight and each song sounded perfect as Brad Walst (Bass) and Neil Sanderson (Drums) handled the rhythm section while Barry Stock handled the guitar along with Matt Walst also doing some guitar. That live experience, as I have always said, is so important as it’s an hour commercial to showcase what you are and give people an opportunity to buy in and this show made me a believer in Three Days Grace.
Godsmack have almost three decades under their belt. The band formed in 1995 in Lawrence, Massachusetts and have accumulated a tremendous amount of success over seven studio albums. The quartet of Sully Erna (Vocals, Guitar), Robbie Merrill (Bass), Tony Rombola (Guitar) and Shannon Larkin (Drums) took to the stage with “I Stand Alone” to a very excited crowd. The band has had three consecutive number-one albums on the Billboard 200 along with 25 top ten radio hits, including 18 songs in the top five so its quite apparent, everybody knows a Godsmack song or two, even if you were there to see some of the other bands and were not a die-hard fan. The hard-hitting set included “Keep Away,” “Speak,” “Straight Out of Line,” “Awake” and “Whatever.” The stage had a simple set-up of amps with flame throwers lined in front of the them which was first unleashed during the third song of the set called “1000hp.” Although time continues to march at a tremendous pace, the band sounds and feels just as did decades ago. Not much has changed as Erna still sounds as impressive as he ever has and the music still pummels in a glorious heaviness that first put the band on the map. The encore included Erna playing piano on “Under Your Scars” and then closing the show with The Beatlescover “Come Together.” This show was just another reminder of the legacy of Godsmack and how important they were in the musical landscape in the late 1990’s and 2000’s. It seems like just yesterday when the appeared at Ozzfest in 1999 along with the likes of System Of A Down, Deftones and Slipknot. Bands that were just starting to navigate themselves in the music industry and now are some of the biggest bands we have today. These are the guys that are inspiring the bands we will hear in the future. Truly, another great show from Godsmack.