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Mosh pit rockers coming to velvet-roped venue

By Rick Gershman
Published May 11, 2007


No one's going to mistake most of today's hard rock bands for churchgoing folk.

There are exceptions, such as the hairy, heavily tattooed members of the Christian rock band P.O.D.

But for every P.O.D., there's another 500 rock bands who spend most of their Sundays sleeping off their Saturdays.

At least Satanism isn't a big shtick in rock anymore.

Sure, these 21st-century bands might look devilish, as they're covered head to toe with tattoos and piercings. But these days, so are most college sophomores. And most of those young ladies are quite sweet.

Tonight, Tampa welcomes the band Godsmack, which took its name from a 1992 tune actually God Smack by the grunge band Alice in Chains.

It's a lilting little ditty about the throes of heroin addiction (the "smack" of the title), sung by vocalist Layne Staley, who later overdosed on heroin and cocaine.

For what it's worth, God-smack also has a popular song titled Bad Religion, which is taken from a revered punk band. So you know what you're getting into.

But do Godsmack fans know what they're getting into?

The group plays super-heavy rock, the kind of music that makes listeners want to roam around and smush together and even mosh.

They can't do any of that tonight, because Godsmack is playing the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center's Carol Morsani Hall.

(Seriously, there hasn't been a more out-of-place performer on that stage since, um, me.)

You can't mosh there. You can't crowd around the stage. At best, you'll be allowed to stand in front of your assigned seats and dance in place.

Sure seems like an odd fit, I told David Jenkins, who doubles as a spokesman for the center when he's not busy running Jobsite Theater.

"I would say Godsmack's probably the hardest rocking show we've had here, " Jenkins said. "It's definitely a different place to have a hard rock show."

He acknowledged that "there likely are some fans that would be turned off" by the constraints of TBPAC. "But I think they wouldn't buy tickets (for here) if they wanted to get loaded and mosh."

Jenkins said Godsmack - which hit big with Voodoo, Keep Away, Straight Out of Line and Awake - adds a critical diversity to the center's lineup.

Plus, older fans might prefer a more refined venue than Jannus Landing, State Theatre, etc.

The band's schedule has it playing a lot of theaters and performing arts centers on this tour. So it's not just Tampa. Godsmack must like going this route.

Still, this is going to be a very different crowd for TBPAC. Jenkins acknowledged: "I think some of our ushers will be a little nervous."

Free movies

It's Friday, so you could head to the multiplex to help Spider-Man 3 earn a billion jazillion dollars. But if you prefer something a little different - and free - don't forget about the Tampa Film Review.

The monthly screening of local, independent films starts at 8 p.m. at Centro Ybor's International Bazaar. Tonight there's a few horror-themed shorts by area filmmakers, plus a couple of different offerings from Canada. It's always an interesting time.

Rick Gershman can be reached at or 226-3431. His Ill Literate posts are online at

Fast Facts:



Friday, 8 p.m. at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, downtown Tampa. Tickets $41. Call 229-7827 .


[Last modified May 10, 2007, 07:38:03]

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