Gemma Tarlach of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reviewed GODSMACK's acoustic performance at the Eagles Ballroom Wednesday night (Dec. 1).
"The songs that worked best during the set — 'Serenity', 'Voodoo' and a new song yet to be recorded — were GODSMACK tunes that are already turned down a few notches on the volume dial," she wrote. "The band's angrier fare, such as 'Keep Away', came off simply as regular-strength GODSMACK with undermixed vocals and guitar.
"The pseudo-acoustic theme of the evening actually amplified GODSMACK's main weakness — stunted creativity. Too many songs stick to the same limited range of rhythms, vocal lines, lyrical subjects and even guitar riffs. With band members seated on stools and [frontman Sully] Erna scaling back his traditional extended solo at the drum kit — this time it was bongos, thanks very much — there was little to distract from the monotony of the band's repertoire.
The most revealing moment of the show came during the encores, when the band busted into a faithful cover of 'No Excuses', the ALICE IN CHAINS song that the influential Seattle act itself performed during a now-classic appearance on 'MTV Unplugged'.
"The members of GODSMACK are certainly competent musicians, and they nailed the cover — no surprise, given that they're big enough fans themselves to have named their band after the ALICE song 'God Smack'.
"As Erna and bandmates re-created the melancholic vocal harmonies of Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell, and the bluesy playfulness of Cantrell's guitar lines, the song's complexity and nuance emerged — and underscored how little of either GODSMACK has in its own music." Read more.