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Saliva Live in NYC

By Tokemaster General, Contributor
Wednesday, November 20, 2002 @ 11:35 PM


Live at The World 11-13-2002 B

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Fucking finally.

As I get older, and the music scene changes, I find myself wondering if anyone will come along and really capture my attention, and blow me away. I haven’t been awed in quite some time.

I have seen plenty of rockers give their all, or as is too often the case, a pitiful performance where it becomes immediately clear how much digital prestidigitation took place in the studio that couldn’t be recalled live. I see a lot of shit, but I am only moved to write about the stuff I like. Still, for me, no one has earned the title of ‘rock star’ in about ten years. It is a category I judge with intense scrutiny and harsh criteria, having seen David Lee Roth so many times. I am not guilty of comparing anyone to Mr. Roth, however.

And that said, I feel a real ‘rock star’ embodies the following things live: excellent voice; some crowd engaging; high-energy; confidence in his or her performance enough to let the band shine as well, and acts like they care about what they are doing rather than going through the motions. Put that on top of some God-damn fine rock and roll, and you might have yourself a real rock star.

Plenty of bands have the recipe, but a lot of them can’t cook. (Detractors, take note: I could care less about how good-looking a person is, whether or not they drink or smoke or do drugs, and I am not really interested in how many groupies they bag after each performance. If a person can’t ‘deliver the goods’ live, they flat-out suck. Further, unlike Kurt Loder, I know the damn difference between a rock star and a pop star. The two phrases are often confused. David Lee Roth is a ‘rock star’; Madonna is is a pop.star. and Eminem…well, I don’t what the hell he is except terrible. Enough.

As I was saying: Fucking finally.

‘Nu-Metal’ isn’t exactly my bag, and most ‘rap/rock’ stuff leaves me bored and longing to hear ‘Rock Box’ by RUN-DMC. But I will take any of it over Eminem seven days a week. When ‘Every Six Seconds’ came out, I really liked, “Your Disease” enough to buy the cd. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the whole thing. I wanted to hear more. Strangely, when I received a copy of “The Blueprint” by Jay-Z (yes), I was dumbfounded to learn that Josey Scott, the singer from Saliva appeared singing backups on one song “Takeover “, though not to any great end. Suffice to say, when the song “Hero” from the Spiderman flick came out, (not a favorite) it was pretty obvious that somebody somewhere at this guy’s label was giving him a huge push.

While crossovers and duets happen all the time, it takes a lot more than label promotion to ‘deliver the goods’ live. So, I went to see Saliva at The World. The crowd was thick, but not so overwhelming that I couldn’t move to the floor and get a good spot to have a smoke and a drink and not feel so trapped that someone could knock into me and spill my beer if they sneezed. A respectable sized crowd, Rockers all.

The lights came up and Saliva took the stage at The World at 10PM, opening with Marshall amps blaring the opening chords to ‘Click, Click, Boom’. The band performs in front of their logo, blown-up huge behind them from the new CD, “Back Into Your System”. Lights are everywhere, and flash the space out into darkness after each song. “Click, Click” rages hard live. The crowd bounced along to the bands’ pogo-ing and Josey Scott’s bulldog strut. So hard was it not to get caught up in the bounce and crunch of the tune, that even my date started banging her head enough to unleash her long braids and dance. Funny, I didn’t know she liked metal that much, but I digress. Right away, I see the guy you always see at rock shows standing in the front. He’s a little taller than everyone else, and maybe a little older, but he faces THE CROWD and not the band, and kind of tries to ‘direct’ the crowd by gesturing as the singer does. This guy is a like a cheerleader, and though I will never understand this, I am always amused. “Look! It’s THAT GUY!”. Cool. Well, if he’s here, it MUST be a great show. THAT GUY wouldn’t go see just anyone. Josey Scott bumps fists with the front row die-hards, and never overdoes it with the “C’mon, C’mon!”. He has this thing where he sort of makes a gun with his fingers and punctuates every verse with…”Click, Click, Boom!”…it’s kind of funny, and not annoying and suits the song. He seems genuinely glad to be there.

The band continues the onslaught of rock with "Superstar" and "After Me”, both from the first disc. Heavy and powerful, the rap parts are handled well and seem to fit with the git-bass-drum slam of the music. Josey Scott has the Cookie Monster Rap thing down cold, but he has got some pipes when it comes to singing. This is really what wins me over. He works the crowd, but not TOO much. “NEW YORK FUCKIN’ CITY!!!”. Right on.

I didn’t bring my notebook tonight, as it was lost during a melee at Jerry Cantrell, and I stupidly forgot to buy a new one on my down. The songs that followed, as I recall them are: "Raise Up," (new song- heavy, crunchy, music to mosh by) "Back Into Your System" (a moment about this one- this song is great- I think it’s better than the first single they released, but I have a feeling it will see it’s day in the sun…it’s a mid-tempo song with a nice catchy melody and actual LEADS…yes, leads- does anyone remember those? This is cool.) “Superstar” “Doperide” (terrific) “Pride (In America)” – (which is directed against terrorists and dedicated to NYC, and has a very Ted Nugent PRO USA feel, but not so overwhelming you wish you were from another country…) “Always” (the new single, pretty cool…) “Superstar II” “Must Have Been Wrong”

The band leaves after thanking New York, and admonishing that “if you keep acting this way, we are going to have to come back again and again and again!” to the delight of the audience. After about five minutes, the band returns to break out the new song “Weight Of The World”, and closes With “Your Disease”. Sticks are thrown, guitar picks tossed. Josey throws his towels…

At no time during this performance did the band lose energy. There are two guitarists – Chris D’Abaldo, who jumps and smiles and makes faces at the crowd (and the super-busty horse-faced woman who stands gawking from the mezzanine rail…can’t say I blame him, but once you get closer, dude, be careful…ugh!); and Wayne Swinny, who hardly moves, but wails on leads like he wants to be in an 80’s metal band. The bassist looks like he got kicked out of Type O, but seems right at home pounding away behind Wayne; and the dreadlocked drummer uses John Bonham sticks to beat the shit out of his kit. With Josey Scott pacing side to side and bouncing around like a caffeinated kitten, Saliva rocks out - (in their words) “We do this shit for you and for ourselves! Fuck the rest of them!" I am unclear who “they” are, but I hope he means Eminem.

Right on. As the crowd disperses, my date and I check out the merch and see what’s what. Audiovent and Theory Of A Deadman shirts, (opening acts) as well as Saliva swag. No baby dolls, or none left I guess. But if you buy a cd, you get to stick around for the ‘meet and greet’. Don’t know if they are doing this in every city- but we stayed. Sweaty and exhausted, the band signed everything for everyone and spent time listening to everyone’s stories, taking pictures, whatever. Nice guys. Can’t imagine not wanting to drink or sleep after a performance like that, but they hung out for quite a while.

Maybe Saliva/Josey Scott will break out of the Nu-Metal thing and really get down with just singing in the future. He’s got a great voice and a lot of presence for a guy who’s only 26 or 27. No kidding. He’s got ‘rock star’ written all over him, but without any perceptible ego. Given the history of so many before him, let’s hope he doesn’t fuck it up. Saliva rocks.



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