P.O.D.: More Rock than Religion
Mike Hess
7/16/2002 11:04:53 AM

Whatever discrediting and flak POD may receive for being a so-called Christian rock band, they proved to be true rockers at Avalon in Boston.

In fact, it’s a bit of a stretch to dub a band religious just because they respect God, and sing about good vibes and respecting one another. Religion is more of a bonding thing for the band, and the media has just pushed it as gossip, when it plays nearly zero part of their music. Any comparison to Creed and that awful waste of a heartbeat named Scott Stapp are a horrible stretch.

An outside factor giving the the Cali rap-laced rockers a huge popularity push is the timing of their album, Satellite [Atlantic]. With all of the madness and hysteria of late, hard-rock lovers should can accept urge to back-shelf the fury and rage of most metal bands in lieu for a taste of feel-good-but-still-kickass P.O.D.

Hitting the stage in front of American flag backdrops, P.O.D. (Payable On Death) didn’t waste any time slamming into their new material. As they hammered out “Set It Off”, a nasty little pit erupted, which injured one fan. Front man Sonny Sandoval became more of a triage doctor than a lead singer. He showed the utmost concern for his “family”, and for the rest of concert, took on two roles: singer, and crowd control. He’d help out the bouncers by grabbing and helping the crowdsurfers back to their feet, and between every song or so, reassert, “You guys be careful out there, OK? I love you and don’t want to see anything bad happen.”

It’s this urgent sense of caring that has fans adoring the band. Sonny and bandmates played most of the gig with ear-to-ear smiles, showing that they love where they are and what they do. Axeman Marcos Curiel had some serious licks coming out of his deep-green Schecter guitar, showing diversity between power chords and floating melodies.

P.O.D. brings slew of influences with their music. They all grew up in “Southtown”, a Hispanic area of San Diego with great diversity, and their set sure reflected that. They’d hop from a choppy metal bomb into a cover of Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up” in no time, and do it with amazing success.

The highlight of the show were definitely the new single (which gained a new importance after the Sept 11 attacks) “Alive”, and it’s head-swaying chorus. The entire crowd sang chanted along, bringing the biggest smile of the night to Sonny’s face. “You’ve been the best crowd on this entire tour. I love you, Boston,” he gleefully ranted. Opener Fenix TX also made the same remark, which leads me to this question. With these comments on Thursday night, and the same “Best crowd yet” coming out of the mouth of Corey Taylor of Slipknot just two nights before, I must ask myself: “Is this simply filler to pump emotions, or does Boston really throw down with the best? I’d like to hope for the latter.


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