Photos Courtesy of Maxine Frisbee
Last night, I attended my first acoustic metal show ever, Saliva Live and Unplugged. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. How can you translate a metal song into acoustic? Most of the time when I hear an acoustic performance on the radio, I have to change the station. Few bands can do it and do it well. It’s a very unforgiving performance, especially live. There is no way to fix, or clean it up. It is what it is and all you can do is play through. So, imagine my surprise when Saliva and the supporting bands stepped up and dared to defy my expectations.
Stricken, a local band from Wilmington, NC, was first up to the challenge. They delivered with a performance that showed they can translate their music from a heavy to a softer sound. With their first acoustic performance, they proved they have what it takes to hang with the big dogs.
Faith & Scars followed and even though they were missing their drummer, they delivered a clean, smooth sound with songs such as, “ To Be Forgotten,” “How We Ride,” and a cover of “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash. A Johnny Cash cover at an acoustic metal show? Yes, and before you ask, it was great. It was the kind of cover that lets you retain your metal card while thinking back to the days of riding in your parents’ car being forced to listen to country. The kind that has the entire crowd singing along. Their unrecorded “Long Way Home” was an instant hit. They ended their show with “Lightening” and left the crowd wishing their set was not over.
Kiss the Curse, out of Raleigh, NC, (wow…three local bands in one night!) stepped up to the mic next to prove they have what it takes. They gave us a decidedly metal, acoustic set. Kiss the Curse with lead vocalist, Alyse Zavala, demonstrated that just because it’s acoustic it can still be heavy. You can’t confuse their genre of music with anything else because it’s aggressive. With songs such as “Mark My Words,” “Bad Luck,” and “Allura” they maintained an energy that was distinctively metal. It’s no wonder they have opened for headliners, such as Saliva and Puddle of Mudd.
How do you describe the headliner in one word? Oh yeah…AWESOME! Saliva took the stage for their first ever acoustic performance, minus drummer, Paul Crosby. It felt like a laid back jam session in the garage at your friend’s house. Snippets of cover songs, such as Rascal Flatt’s “What Hurts the Most,” Stone Sour’s “Bother,” and Guns & Roses’ “Patience” proved that lead vocalist, Bobby Amaru, has the vocal range to handle everything from country to metal. Combined with Saliva classics, such as “Always,” and new material from their latest album, Love Lies & Therapy and you have the quintessential Saliva performance. Wayne Swinny’s ( lead guitar) and Brad Stewart’s (bass) banter drew the crowd in, not only entertaining them but making them part of the show. Recognizing that they were in a military town and showing their support of the troops, Saliva had military members onstage to provide backup vocals for “Click, Click, Boom.” It was a show worth attending as they proved they are a band that can do acoustic and do it well.
There is only a few more tour days left. Be sure to go to their website and get your tickets for a venue near you.