TVD Live Shots: Godsmack, Staind,
Mix Master Mike, and Flat Black at FivePoint Amphitheatre, 8/24

A wave of nostalgia swept over FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine, California as Godsmack, Staind, Mix Master Mike, and Flat Black took to the stage on August 24th. The bands delivered a high-energy performance that transported the audience back in time, reminding them why they fell in love with these artists in the first place. This show had something for everyone regardless of their musical proclivities and satisfied the inner demon in all who attended.

On a muggy afternoon, Flat Black opened the show, setting the bar high with their raw energy and infectious sound. Led by former Five Finger Death Punch guitar god Jason Hook, their gritty riffs and powerful drumming captivated the audience from the get-go. Their interaction with the crowd was commendable, a testament to their charismatic stage presence and love for the music they play. Looking forward to seeing more of this up and coming cyclone in the months ahead.

The atmosphere was reaching a fever pitch as Mix Master Mike, known for his work with the Beastie Boys, took to the stage. His set was a whirlwind of beats and rhythms, his skills as a DJ on full display. He added a unique element to the night, his set serving as an energetic bridge between bands that tugged on the nostalgic heartstrings of all in attendance. You could tell Mike was vibing with the near-capacity crowd and having the time of his life here in Irvine.

Next, Staind took over, delivering a performance filled with brooding melodies and emotive lyrics. Aaron Lewis’s soulful vocals resonated with the audience, particularly during a heart-wrenching rendition of “Something to Remind You.” The band’s 14-song setlist was a testament to their enduring appeal, their music still impactful after all these years. My favorites from his set included “Outside” and “It’s Been Awhile,” while others felt encore “Mudshovel” was top in class on Thursday. Regardless, it was a killer show and Aaron Lewis still has the vocal chops that highlight why he is still considered one of the best vocalists in the business today.

The anticipation culminated in Irvine under a starry night with our headliner, Godsmack. The band delivered a balanced mix of new material and fan favorites that pleased even the pickiest of Godsmack fans. Sully Erna’s powerful vocal delivery combined with the band’s tight musicianship resulted in a performance that was both technically impressive and emotionally charged. What stood out to me all night long was the stage presence of this band and it came out in spades during their 3-song encore including “Under Your Scars,” “Bulletproof,” and my favorite of the night, “I Stand Alone.” Everyone, and I mean everyone, was out of their seats with horns in the air until the set finally came to an end.

This show was a truly memorable experience that showcased the enduring appeal of these bands. From Flat Black’s energetic opening to Staind’s emotional performance, Mix Master Mike’s DJ set, and Godsmack’s hard-hitting finale, it was a night that celebrated the past while also looking forward to the future. Metal is alive and well here in Southern California and this show paid homage to some incredible bands and their amazing fans.




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