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I know there’s a percentage of you out there who think I’m too hard on Godsmack, so brace yourselves now as I say something nice about that outfit’s members: Vince and I attended last night’s NYC gig by Another Animal, a band that shares 3/5ths of its line-up with Godsmack, and unlike Atreyu or My Chemical Romance, these dudes can actually recreate their studio performances, vocal harmonies and all, in a live setting – and in this day and age, when studio chicanery makes it easier than ever to make pretty much any band sound good, that’s high praise.

Indeed, even though I’m pretty sure bassist Robbie Merrill was stoned (dressed like a competitor in the Hacky Sack Olympics, he stared out at the crowd absentmindedly for most of the night) and guitarist Tony Rombola spent most of the set gazing down at his (admittedly very beautiful) PRS, these dudes sounded tight; even though the concert was, by the admission of singer Whitfield Crane (ex-Ugly Kid Joe/Life of Agony), only the band’s “ninth or tenth show,” they played with a comfort level that never betrayed their newness. Indeed, unlike many other supergroups, they showed the confidence in themselves and their material not to go for the easy applause by covering any songs by their other, as of now more famous bands, instead sticking to numbers from their recently released debut album (read our review here).

Drummer Shannon Larkin, meanwhile, rocked out like the band was playing a football stadium, not a club that only holds a couple of thousand people; wearing little more than a neck tie and smile, he seemed overcome with the spirit of Tommy Lee as he twirled his sticks in between bouts of beating his drums like they were the girlfriend he’d just caught cheating on him.

Crane, for his part, prowled the stage with a laid back, casual charisma, often favoring singing from a stool in favor of David Lee Rothisms (although there was some headbanging and one mid-air semi-split). That might strike some as lazy, but Crane more than pulls it off with his Nicholsonian charm. You gotta hand it to the dude: his pipes are in great shape, and he looks more physically fit than he did fifteen years ago. Towards the end of the gig, he started joking around with band mates, a Cheshire Cat grin plastered across his face, and you remembered this was the same snotty punk with the wicked sense of humor who used to be in a band with album titles like Menace to Sobriety and songs declaring that Moses did cocaine. Maybe a little more of this playfulness would benefit Another Animal – but then again, they seem to be doing pretty well without it.


For a complete list of Another Animal tour dates, check out their MySpace page. They’re accompanied by Alter Bridge, who we did not stick around to see, since the dudes from Creed didn’t bother to hire the singer from Moist or some other under-appreciated band that we actually care about.

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