Tuesday Night Was A Trip Down Memory Lane With Saliva and Drowning Pool at First Avenue


I’m back on my grind. Trying to get in as much live music as possible. I blame the slight feeling of my life falling apart but, in all honesty, I’m just hopelessly addicted to the feeling that I get from a live concert. That being said, I decided to check out two separate shows on Tuesday night. The styles in the two rooms couldn’t have been more different but that’s what made the night so fun. One of my choices for Tuesday night was the Saliva and Drowning Pool co-headlining tour in the First Avenue mainroom.

Let’s call out the elephant in the room first. Saliva and Drowning Pool is not the style of music I get hot and bothered about these days. I find it a bit redundant and quite honestly don’t get it but, that being said, there was a time in my life when I thought bands like this were amazing. I won’t dig a hole here or anything but just want to acknowledge that my being at this show on Tuesday night was definitely more for the nostalgia factor but, by the end of the night, it became so much more than that.

Any Given Sin took the stage about 45 minutes before the advertised time on First Avenue’s website. It was just fifteen minutes after the doors had opened. Unfortunately, this led to a lack of audience for the Maryland-bred act. Even with the mostly empty room, Any Given Sin did their thing for the short time they were given and had those in attendance hanging onto their every word. Formed in late 2012, I was impressed but their almost cult-like following that was singing along to every word as if their lives depended on it. This would be a theme of the night but there was just something about such an intimate crowd having this moment. Sonically, Any Given Sin had that classic radio-pseudo-metal sound with hard rock and heavy metal elements blending to create one. Think Shinedown meets Disturbed.

Adelitas Way is another band that is keeping that radio-pseudo-metal scene alive. The crowd had finally started showing up by the time Adelitas Way kicked into their quick opening set. With more of a focus on something a little bit grungier, their sound felt a bit generic to me but the way they performed it was anything but generic. Vocalist Rick DeJesus had something almost tender about his aura while absolutely blasting through song after song. It was a weird vibe but I loved it and feel like that heart and soul that came with every word really sets this band apart from all of the other bands trying to do this same style.

As mentioned, this show was a co-headlining tour featuring Drowning Pool and Saliva. I honestly never would have called either of these bands relevant prior to the performance on Tuesday night but, as soon as Drowning Pool kicked into their set, I realized that, although I may not have stuck with this sound or style, they have and they are still absolutely killing it even with the tragic death of their original singer, Dave Williams, back in 2002. Since then, the band has gone through a rotating cast of vocalists over the years but, even with that, they have stuck true to their 90s/ early 2000s hard rock sound.

I feel like it goes without saying but the most exciting moment of Drowning Pool’s set was when they closed out with “Bodies”. This is one of those iconic songs from an era gone by and one of the few songs that I actually recognized from the group. The amount of nostalgia that I felt as they powered through this final track was immeasurable. At the same time, there were many other moments that really struck me throughout their eleven-song set. The band never stopped. Each song came with the same amount of power and ferocity as the last one even when the band would dig for their more sensitive side with a more ballad-like song here and there. On top of that, their cover of “Rebel Yell” from Billy Idol was truly solid. They did a great job balancing the original integrity of that iconic track while adding their own spin to it. Long story short, I thought Drowning Pools’ set was going to be just me waiting around for “Bodies” but I quickly fell for their sound and energy making the set so much more than that.

I feel like the final act, Saliva, was in the same boat. I figured I would just spend their set waiting for their final song, “Click Click Boom”, for the nostalgia factor but it ended up being so much more than that. Another band that seems to have been plagued with line-up changes, Saliva took the stage right around 10:40 PM and instantly had the audience in a tizzy. It honestly wasn’t a huge audience on Tuesday night but those who were there were clearly ready and excited to celebrate this iconic band.

Saliva’s sound focuses a bit more on the nu-metal side of things while still being that standard radio-pseudo-metal-hard-rock. Again, not my thing but, like Drowning Pool, Saliva somehow had me sold within just a couple of notes. Even though the band has a dozen albums dating back to 1997, they somehow curated the perfect twelve-song set for the audience. Again, I felt like I was just hanging on to hear “Click Click Boom” from the band but it was clear that every other song they were playing was every song the audience around me had been hoping to hear. Sure, the band could have played a lot longer and the cult-like following of fans would have stuck around but I liked how their set was direct and to the point. It laid out their sound while showing different sides of the band from the more serious and tender side to the party-rock vibe that they ended the set with.

If I’m being honest, I kind of went into First Avenue’s mainroom as a bit of a joke. I ran into a buddy who was working and he shamefully admitted that he knew all of the songs being played. We both laughed about it but, in retrospect, there was no shame in that. Although I don’t listen to bands like Saliva and Drowning Pool anymore, they were all I knew as I started to really dig into music in general. They had their time in my life and I will always be thankful for that. I will also always be thankful for Tuesday night and the chance to relive those years while realizing that, although I have changed, these bands have not and they are still holding it down… flawlessly I might add.