Concert Review: Saint Asonia & Artifas at Varsity Theater – Minneapolis, MN – August 18, 2015

Saint Asonia ©JoeStadelePhotography2015 (16)

Photography and review courtesy of Joe Stadele for TWTHS.  Published August 20th, 2015.

“It is so great to be here…not only do I now live here in Minneapolis with you all, but I always just loved this fucking city and you guys were like a second home to me…and now you are a first home to me and like to call Minneapolis my hometown.”~Adam Gontier of Saint Asonia

It was safe to say Saint Asonia felt right at home at the Varsity Theatre.  In fact, Gontier shared his first dance with his wife months earlier in the very Dinkytown venue.  With a mix of friends, family and rabid fans in the audience, the band came out with force; performing the hard hitting rocker “Better Place.”  The band played with a seasoned chemistry as they performed a host of songs from their debut album along with favorites from their former bands, Three Days Grace and Staind.

Saint Asonia ©JoeStadelePhotography2015 (23)From Mike Kushok’s hunched over precision guitar playing, Corey Lowler’s riding basslines to Rich Beddoe’s drums, the band was tight, energetic and fun to watch. Thanks to rock radio play, Gontier had the fans singing from the show opening “Better Place” and “Fairy Tale.”  Without missing a beat, Beddoe kept the kickdrum moving into their first “cover” of TDG’s “Animal I Have Become.”  The covers sounded as good, if not besting the originals. Mushok served up a crushing guitar “Mudshovel” and dare I say Gontier’s vocals surpassed Aaron Lewis.  Fists pumped unified for the Three Days Grace favorite, “I Hate Everything About You.”

With all of the testosterone pumping through the air, Gontier turned to the acoustic guitar to slow down the set the sentimental “Waste My Time” and “Leaving Minnesota.”  In fact, the band had saved “Leaving Minnesota” just for the venue, which served as a love letter to his wife.  Gontier explained, “The girl I’ve always loved and I always will love, I got married to, basically, in this room in March of this year, and this song that I wrote, years ago, ‘Leaving Minnesota’ is about her.”

As it goes with supergroups, there is always a question of quality and longevity.  Gontier made a point to reassure the audience; stating the band is based on friendships and their self-titled album is only the beginning.  For what it’s worth, Saint Asonia were excellent live and with the Minneapolis connection, hopefully we’ll be seeing more of them in the not-so-distant future.

Artifas ©JoeStadelePhotography2015 (14)On the other end of the spectrum, Artifas were a clear standout among the opening acts.  From the blistering “Inhuman” and “Blood 4 Blood” to the building acoustic ballad “When I’m Away” and hard-hitting “Coming Undone,” lead vocalist Scottie Somerville was all over the stage, amping up the crowd, screaming in faces and flipping an occasion bird.  Guitarist Cody Criswell was fun to watch as he headbanged and shredded with an almost Slash-like presence.  To cut to the chase, Artifas performed like they were the headliners.  With this kind of energy and some great songs, it will be interesting to see what’s instore for Artifas.  Check out Artifas now by clicking here.

Saint Asonia are just in the beginning dates of a massive tour, click here for the latest listings:

Saint Asonia Setlist:
Better Place
Fairy Tale
Animal I Have Become (Three Days Grace cover)
Happy Tragedy
Blow Me Wide Open
Waste My Time
Leaving Minnesota (Live Debut)
Mudshovel (Staind cover)
King of Nothing
Dying Slowly
I Hate Everything About You (Three Days Grace cover)
For You (Staind cover)
Trying to Catch Up With the World
Let Me Live My Life



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