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A good time of grunge and ghoul-rock
By Sarah Rodman, Globe Staff | September 9, 2006

If it is possible to be simultaneously menacing and cuddly, then Rob Zombie and Godsmack frontman Sully Erna managed the feat at their co-headlining show at the Tweeter Center Thursday night.

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Sign up for: Globe Headlines e-mail | Breaking News Alerts Sure, there was plenty of video of rotting corpses during Zombie's Halloween-y set of industrial metal, and chalices ran over with angst during Godsmack's 90-minute grungefest. But there was an underlying good-naturedness to the proceedings. The local boys made good seemed to be saying, ``Yes we're a scary and unholy alliance, but we're also really glad to be here."

Zombie made the most of his 60 minutes employing all manner of visuals -- dancing girls, pyro, scads of horror-film video clips -- to supplement his roar and the visceral blues-metal-disco stomp of his animated three- piece band. Although a bit winded at times, he leapt about, barking out ``More Human Than Human," ``Thunderkiss '65" and the dread-drenched ``House of 1,000 Corpses" with ghoulish conviction.

While Zombie employed more bells and whistles -- or in his case robots and video of the Manson family (Charles's not Marilyn's) -- it was clearly Godsmack's crowd.

And judging by the enthusiastic reception, the North Shore natives did not disappoint, focusing their considerable energies on the best tracks from their four albums.

Godsmack might not get much love from critics for innovation, but the hard-charging quartet works its mainstream metal with heart and skill. Set bookends ``Straight Out of Line" and ``I Stand Alone" ably demonstrated that even if your ideas aren't unique, a beefy groove, tart guitar work, and a wounded roar will take you far.

Besides Erna's everyman charisma -- leading singalongs with first-time cheerfulness -- what was perhaps most winning about the show was the way the band knows not to let any song overstay its welcome. They rocked succinct versions of songs like ``Re-Align" and the serpentine ``Voodoo" and when they did stretch out on ``Keep Away," the forward movement was always palpable in the rhythm section. An acoustic segment deftly showcased Tony Rombola's chops but was wisely brief.

The night's most delightful moment came during the normally dreaded drum solo. Shannon Larkin and Erna -- behind a kit of his own -- played a funky, intricate, and winning duet leaving the audience happily Smacked.