The rock radio station 93X presented their annual Icebreaker Concert to The Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota that provided enough heat to take out any stray icebergs left within the city limits. Godsmack, Volbeat, and Stitched Up Heart had the venue packed to the rafters as they turned in a heavy dose of hard rocking music.
Stitched Up Heart took to the stage first and lead singer Alecia “Mixi” Demner was determined to take The Armory crowd captive. The Los Angeles based rock outfit released the album ‘Never Alone’ back in 2016 and played some of the highlights of it that included “Catch Me When I Fall,” “Finally Free,” and “I Can’t Breathe.” It’s always a challenge for opening bands to make a mark on an audience just arriving to the venue and fully geared up for the more established bands on the bill. Stitched Up Heart utilized every second of their time leaving a lasting music imprint to everyone within earshot of the stage. Currently they are riding the wave of a new single, “Lost,” which Sully Erna of Godsmack is featured on and the band closed the set with it. It appears there will be a new album in 2019 and I would suspect that these guys will back soon and hopefully their appearance on this tour will catapult their awareness with rock fans.
The Volbeat army was well represented and the anticipation of seeing the Danish powerhouse rockers came to fruition when the curtain was dropped as “The Devil’s Bleeding Crown” was roaring off the stage. Volbeat has appeared in Minneapolis numerous times and with every stop the fan base has continued to grow in masses. The unique vocals of singer and guitarist Michael Poulsen, which is best, described as a modern day Elvis or Johnny Cash, led to a perfect snippet of “Ring Of Fire” before launching into the popular “Sad Man’s Tongue.”
Joining Poulsen on stage were guitarist Rob Caggiano, bassist Kaspar Boye Larsen, and drummer Jon Larsen. The crowd thoroughly enjoyed chanting, “Fight, fight, fight, fight! during the bruising and addictive “A Warrior’s Call” and then the catchy “I Only Want To Be With You” further excited the fans. The highlight for me was the song that initially hooked me into this machine, “Fallen”, the song written by Poulsen about losing his father. It is so powerful and being played on such a grand scale with the backing vocals coming from thousands people made the hair on my arm stand up. They’re so many songs I would love hear and there is never enough time to play them all. Some songs that made the list were “16 Dollars,” “Black Rose,” “Dead But Rising,” and the up-tempo burner “Seal The Deal.” The band left the stage with the brilliant “Still Counting” which gave fans one last chance to sing along and everybody capitalized on that opportunity. Volbeat has a new album in the works and I’m still counting the sheer number of people waiting for that release. Should be good one.
You could feel the pulse of the building beating as fans waited for Godsmack to hit the stage. It had been a while since the Boston, Massachusetts’s quartet consisting of Sully Erna (Vocals & Stuff), Tony Rombola (Guitar & Vocals), Robbie Merrill (Bass), and drummer Shannon Larkin have visited Minnesota and fans were anxious to renew their relationship with the band. The curtain dropped and the band stuck the crowd with a series of adrenaline shots in the guise of “When Legends Rise” and “100hp.” Godsmack was clearly making up for lost time and held nothing back; this was a full-blown rock-n-roll show. Not only was the sheer volume of the show chipping away at the walls, but also the concussion blasts seemed to take the building off its foundation. The songs kept coming and fans kept the energy revving as “Keep Away,” “Cryin’ Like A Bitch,” and “Awake” kept things brutally heavy. The visual aspects coming of the stage were dazzling. The towers of fire were as hot as they were impressive. The lighting and pyro acted like a catalyst that took the energy in the building even higher. The “Batalla de los Tambores” is always fun to watch. With Erna and Larkin having a drum battle and also playing bits of “Back In Black,” “Walk this Way,” and “Enter Sandman.” The band roared into “Whatever” and that song is still as popular as it was when it was released decades ago. Returning to the stage for encore the band rolled into “Bulletproof” off the latest album called ‘When Legends Rise’ that was released last year. A cool cover of The Beatles “Come Together” that morphed into Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” came next. Then Godsmack finished the show as it began with a pulverizing dose of “I Stand Alone.”
This package is extremely entertaining and all three bands, Godsmack, Volbeat and Stitched Up Heart delivered great performances. Prince famously penned, “Rock N Roll Is Alive and It Lives In Minneapolis” which was proved correct as over 7000 people made their way through The Armory doors to be part of a night of hard rock and metal music. The excitement that rang through the building was infectious and there is nothing quite like a great rock show and this tour was everything you could have asked for.