Saint Asonia showed a small club what a huge band sounds like as they hit The Machine Shop in Flint, MI.
The night started out with the Blues Based Indie Rock band Alice Drinks The Kool-Aid. Based out of Chicago, IL, the band consists of drummer Jim Widlowski, bassist Alan Berliant and singer/guitarist Tony Magee, who is also the founder of Lagunitas Brewing Company. They played a flawless set drawing their influences from jazz, rock, and blues.
Next up was the modern rock band Artifas. Based out of Memphis, TN, the band consists of singer Scottie Somerville, lead guitarist Cody Criswell, rhythm guitarist Mikey Miller, bassist Anthony Mattox and drummer Jared Wainscott. All it took was for Somerville to say â€œlet me see your hands in the airâ€ and the crowd was ecstatic. This was the first time Artifas had played the Machine Shop but the crowd treated them like seasoned veterans. Somerville pogoed up and down as the band played â€œResurrect Me.â€ The crowd followed suit.
Artifas played with such effervescence that you wouldâ€™ve thought they were the headliner. Make no mistake, these guys might be playing direct support on this tour but one can easily see them headlining their own tour in the near future.
The fans of the Machine Shop are a particular crowd who really love their live music. If you can win these fans over then the world is yours to conquer, and Artifas definitely won them over. â€œCan I get a hell yeah? Can I get a fuck yeah? Whoâ€™s having a good time with Artifas?â€ Somerville shouted. â€œWho’s coming back next time?â€ By the reaction of the crowd, it was apparent that most everyone would be back!
â€œAnybody out there familiar with the band Tantric?â€ Somerville shouted. â€œThis next song is about the singer and how much of a piece of shit he is. Itâ€™s called â€˜Suffocate.â€™â€ Talking with Somerville after their set, he proceeded to tell me a story about how the singer from Tantric took them for about fifteen thousand dollars. They paid him to produce their first EP and he never followed through with his end of the deal.
As their final song came to an end, you could hear Somerville shout â€œIf your happy and you know it clap your handsâ€ then the band drifted off into the darkness from which they came. Their set list included: â€œResurrect Me,â€ â€œDrowning With You,â€ â€œClover,â€ â€œAlive,â€ â€œControl,â€ â€œWhen Iâ€™m Away,â€ â€œBlood For Blood,â€ â€œComing Undone,â€ â€œSuffocate,â€ and â€œInhuman.â€
At this point, the crowd was primed and ready for more. Saint Asonia delivered the goods and gave the crowd exactly what they were salivating for. Formed in Toronto, Canada, the band consists of singer Adam Gontier, guitarist Mike Mushok, bassist Corey Lowery and drummer Rich Beddoe.
Some have been calling Saint Asonia a supergroup. Sure, you have the former lead singer from Three Days Grace, the guitarist from Staind, the former drummer from Finger Eleven and a bass player who has made the rounds with many great bands such as Stuck Mojo, Sevendust, Eye Empire and Dark New Day. But these guys are so much more. What is prominent is Gontierâ€™s powerful voice. One cannot deny that his voice is the voice that brought Three Days Grace several #1 hits as well as three albums which have been certified platinum, platinum and gold here in United States. However, what makes this group even more interesting than Gontierâ€™s previous band is the different musical styles and influences that Mushok, Lowery and Beddoe brought with them.
According to an article on Loudwire, when asked about the title of supergroup, Gontier stated â€œTruth is weâ€™re more like refugees that just really hit it off creatively.â€ Mushok adds, â€œI was looking for a project to do while Staind is on hiatus and the opportunity to work with Adam on writing and recording new music was something I just couldnâ€™t pass up.â€
Fans packed the Machine Shop to see this huge band in such a small venue. I overheard one girl say how amazing it was to see them here before they blow up and are too big to come back to the Shop. This might very well be true as the band plans on hitting the road with Seether later this year.
As Saint Asonia hit the stage they quickly broke into the first track on their debut CD, â€œBetter Place.â€ The crowd was manic. Gontier looked every part the rock star. He had the moves; he can sing, has the swagger and was sporting a pair of sunglasses. Screams and cheers filled the air in an attempt to compete with the music coming off of the stage. Overpowering it all was Gontierâ€™s voice. He has one of the strongest, most powerful singing voices in his genre. He sounded so clear it was almost as if you were listening to him through a pair of headphones.
They segued into â€œFairy Taleâ€ before Gontier took a moment to speak to the crowd. â€œThank you so much for being here with us tonight we really fucking appreciate it. I want you guys to sing along to this one, I know you guys fucking know it! The bass kicked in with a familiar guitar intro heard on active rock radio stations the world over, and the crowd screamed along to the Three Days Grace hit â€œAnimal I Have Become,â€ with such vigor jumping up and down shaking the floor beneath our feet.
They played two more new tracks; â€œHappy Tragedyâ€ and â€œBlow Me Wide Openâ€ then Gontier picked up a guitar and stated â€œI want to thank you guys so much for all of the love and support. I want to thank you guys for being here tonight.â€ As Gontier hit the first note on his guitar, a disco ball started rotating above the crowd in the middle of the floor. The light flickered off of it as if it were shooting little personal rays of light to anyone wanting to absorb this euphoric moment in time. The crowd swayed in unison and seemed to be under its spell.
Without a momentâ€™s hesitation, they segued into the Staind hit â€œMudshovelâ€ as Gontier stated â€œYouâ€™re gonna sing with me, right? You all know this fucking song, letâ€™s do it!â€ The place erupted into one massive pogo pit as the audience sang every word.
â€œThis song is about, itâ€™s really simple, itâ€™s about being a fucking asshole,â€ mentioned Gontier as they played â€œKing of Nothing.â€ â€œIf you know this next song sing along with us,â€ stated Gontier, â€œItâ€™s called, eh, you know itâ€ as they played â€œDying Slowly.â€ Bubble machines were going off and filled the entire space above the crowd. You could see people slapping the bubbles as they jumped up and sang along.
â€œThis is fucking awesome Flint. Last time I played here during â€˜Animalâ€™ I walked across the crowd holding onto the ceiling. Every time I watch it on YouTube I canâ€™t believe it. Speaking of that I think we should do a coverâ€ and the crowdâ€™s manic state continued as they played another Three Days Grace hit â€œI Hate Everything About You.â€ As the song came to a close Mushok flawlessly segued into the Staind hit â€œFor You.â€
There was no hesitation for their encore. After a quick jump off the stage they were back thanking everyone for their support. These guys are truly appreciative of their fans and it shows through on their sincere thank you. Gontier took his sunglasses off and the band played a moving more acoustically sounding version of â€œTrying To Catch Up With The World.â€ Everyone was covered in bubbles again as the bubble machine blew thousands of bubbles amongst them.
â€œOkay, we got one more song for you guys. Thank you for being rock fans listening to our little rock band. We wanna thank you for coming out. Saint Asonia is not just a little rock band put together but a real rock band thatâ€™ll be around as long as you rock fans come out to listen to us.â€ They brought it back up a notch for an electrifying end with â€œLet Me Live My Life.â€
â€œThank you so much Flint, we fucking love you guys!â€
Saint Asonia played most every song off their debut album, minus two, with a couple of Three Days Grace songs and a couple of Staind songs. It was great to hear these cover songs, although they are not truly covers since these guys wrote them, but what most was exciting was the batch of new songs they created together. These four seasoned professionals hold a place as legends in the modern rock world but they do not act this way what-so-ever. These guys are hope for the future of rock nâ€™ roll. They are four musicians who love playing music, for their fans, with their fans.
Photography by Thom Seling
Alice Drinks The Kool Aid
The Machine Shop