Words & Visuals By: Fridae Mattas
Additional Photography By: Anna Sklavos
Tuesday Sept 1st was the 94.9 Next Generation concert featuring headliners Saint Asonia with three Toronto bands warming the stage. They were; Breached, The Rathburns and The Joy Arson. Most people are probably wondering who Saint Asonia is. A new musical power team considered a "Super Group", the members are; Adam Gonatier former Three Days Grace frontman, Mike Mushok Staind's Axemaster, Rich Beddoe former Finger Eleven stick handler and on the Bass, Corey Lowery of Eye Empire. More about the superband later, let's chat about the local talent kicking off the show.
The first band to bravely grace the stage was The Rathburns, a stellar local indie band who has recently won the Breaking bands competiton at this years Big Music Fest in Kitchener. I first saw the Rathburns at Indie week last year and have not had the chance to check them since. Wanted to do an interview with the band but was on the other side of Ontario earlier in the day. Did not make it into the city in a timely enough fashion to do the interview, we will reschedule, Indie Week is coming!
THE RATHBURNS - VOX; FRANCES ROSE
THE RATHBURNS - BASS; ERIK KOLOMAY
THE RATHBURNS - GUITAR; JOEY V
THE RATHBURNS - VOX; FRANCES ROSE
The bands performance was exactly what the crowd needed to get hyped up for the headliners. Vocals were not perfect, yet they were full of heart and soul. That is what makes the Rathburns different, the raw bluesy talent vocalist Frances Rose embodies makes your ears happy. She grabs your attention immediately, her stage presence plays a big part in the vibe, she performs the music as she feels it, rare to see such genuine passion in an indie band vocalist. The Guitarist and Brother to vox Frances, Joey Virgilio has solid skills as well. His axe handling abilities are quickly improving, slowly coming out of his shell and finding his performance groove. The only thing that needs some tweaking is the music and a little refining of the image. To make it big you must have a decent look and catchy sounds, but their image and music doesn't need too much of an overhaul. No wonder the two siblings decided to rock together, they both have serious talent and with Bassist Erik Kolomayz and can smasher Matt Burdon this band can reach epic heights. Go check The Rathburns live when you can, you will not be disappointed.
Next up on the stage was Toronto's Breached, 94.9 The RockFM kept it real for this Generation Next show. Breached are no strangers to the stage but the only original member at last nights set was frontman Bobby Noakes. New line up included Guitarist - Kyle Ray, Bassist - Chris Simpson and filling in for Neil Uppal while he was on Vacation was Darryl Siegmund on the Drums. The music was on point right out the gate but vocals seemed a little on edge for the first track. Once the second track was played, Bobby pulled his vocals together and he rocked out hard for the continually growing crowd. I would advise Bassist Simpson to get a little more into the songs, it will help relax the nerves if you're focused on the music more than the crowd. He looked terrified majority of the night as opposed to his counter parts Noakes and Ray. It has been a while since I have seen Breached live nevermind with the new additions. Also has been some time since I saw Siegmund play the drums, he's known on the scene as the Drummer for indie Toronto rock band All But Over. Darryl held the beat down, it's like he already knew the songs even though this was a last minute fill in. He's definitely developing into his talent. Tried to film at least one tune from each band...Epic fail, my mic wasn't working properly I filmed a Rathburns tune and there was no sound in playback, so I tried without the mic for Breached, it sounded okay but its up to Bobby if he wants it to be published. Go see a Breached set if you can, melodic rock infused with metal, can't go wrong there!
BREACHED - VOX; BOBBY NOAKES
The final band to hit the stage before Saint Asonia threw it down was another Toronto indie band, The Joy Arson. It has been a few years since I have personally seen a set of theirs. Either missed the set or could not reach. The Joy Arson has come a long way since I first heard them rehearsing before they even performed live and still nameless. From what I heard and saw last night they have most definitely improved. The band is sounding more cohesive, the stage is being worked a lot more and the vocals are stronger. TJA is; Matt Moffit - Vocals, Anthony Dell'Orso - Drums, Tyson Froese - Guitar, Kyle Smith - Guitar and Rick Paolucci on the Bass. The crowd was getting into the set and actually vibing the tunes. Dell'Orso was smashing those cans like his life depended on it, everyone on the stage was feeding off of the energy the crowd had.
As I was trying to film a tune my mic died, don't know why these technical difficulties were sprouting up. The batteries were brand new and I even tried to put the mic on high, still nada. Clearly, my equipment was having an off day. The band played a few familiar songs, and from what I can recall a new tune but forget the title. Overall, I would recommend seeing a TJA set, they still have work to do on their music and performance but are heading in the right direction. As I was observing the sets I heard a few people complaining that there were too many openers...Why are you there so early then? Others were looking for good selfie light to keep taking selfie after selfie instead of watching the bands. Some of the crowd was filming and taking pictures of the bands with their phones, that is one of the most annoying things about shooting from the audience. Dear concert goers, take a few photos for memories and let the professionals take the good pictures and shoot the videos. Put your phones down and watch the fucking show while you're there.
THE JOY ARSON
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What happened to enjoying the moment, I would rather not take photos or film but when I'm working a show that's what FridaeTV is, visuals. So glad that photographer Anna was helping me shoot the bands, it was a challenging situation. We did amazingly well considering there was no media pit, the worst shooting atmosphere is shooting from the crowd. Good thing I brought the semi-zoom lens, otherwise the only videos good enough to show people would not exist. Ran into many familiar faces at the show, some of them I haven't seen in years and others I missed! Wish we could all just be friends and have a giant reunion party. Pretty crazy how time flies when you're trying to take over the world *Muahahah*.
There was a slight time delay before Saint Asonia migrated to the stage, according to vocalist Adam Gontier there was something wrong with the soundboard. Gontier apologized for taking so long, "Did not mean to keep everyone waiting, I was back there wanting to come out and play music." That was very polite...However, it was unexpected coming from a dude who in the past jibbered to himself on stage like a padded room escapee. There was so much controversy when Gontier left his former band, whatever the deal, its over. Everyone has moved on, for the fans still feeling some type of way they have the option of listening to 3DG new and old plus now you can enjoy Saint Asonia the superband. First time I heard the record I had mixed feelings about the production, the mastering could have been done better, some of mixing sounded a little too basement studio. Anyway, to my ears it reminded me of a ghetto version of Three Days Grace with a Finger eleven twist, nonetheless they do have catchy songs. Tunes like their debut single Better Place, Blow Me Wide Open, Fairy Tale and Happy Tragedy to name a few.
The band kicked off the thirteen track set with debut single, Better Place. The crowd was roaring and ready to go! Trying to shoot the bands amidst an ocean of hyper bodies with cell phones is always an obstacle. I am surprised that good shots were actually taken and the videos don't sound or look that bad. Initially, I wasn't going to film any of Saint Asonia's tracks due to the earlier tech issues my mic was having. The stubborn Greek that I am could not hold back so I tried filming a big tune, Fairy Tale but...The sound was shoddy and the filming looked as if I was in an earthquake. Technically, I would say that is what it feels like when you're trying to take photos or film in the crowd, like a fucking earthquake! Of course yes, the stubborn Greek refuses to give up, so I gave it one more try...
Turns out, 90th time's a charm! If you harass it enough, it will work. Hopefully, everyone reading this understand my sarcastic undertones. We all know that these days people can't read any type of text messages without jumping to conclusions and becoming flooded with emotions...Surprise surprise! The mic actually stayed on for the entire song, I was glad, guess the mic liked the vocals it was recording. Once they wrapped the tune Happy Tragedy I was going to stop filming and then I heard a familiar beat, so I kept rolling. Good thing I did, the audience went wild when Saint Asonia unleashed the Three Days Grace tune Animal I Have Become. The crowd took it to a whole other level and that wasn't even the last 3DG cover. Near the end of the set they tore it up when they killed I Hate Everything About You; the tune that launched Gontier's old band to stardom. An all time favorite of many people, me being one of those people, the guitars and vocals are what draw you in...
The band came out strong, the first to hit the stage was drummer Rich Beddoe, he was a force to be reckoned with! His previous band Finger Eleven dropped their new album the same day as Saint Asonia, July 31st. Listened to both records and would say they are different musical works. Both albums I recommend for your listening pleasure. So happy that Saint Asonia was better live than on record, the album does not do the bands sound justice. Mike Mushok of Staind killed it on the axe, it looked like he had a few technical struggles near the beginning but managed to rock the shit out of the Phoenix. Bassist Corey Lowrey had a Green Bass, that was a first, have not seen a Green Bass before, not to mention he was seriously killing it the whole set, his energy is incredible.
Growing up I listened to Finger Eleven and Three Days Grace, not so much Staind I don't like the vocals. Adam's vocals are still to this day one of my favorite male rock pipes and coming very close to Gontier in the vocal department is Jonny Hetherington of Art Of Dying. It was good to hear Gontier rocking out again and he actually looked legitimately happy. Vocals last night, were the best I have heard from him in a long time. Even his performance was genuine, it was like he found that love spark for music again. Speaking of Art Of Dying, after giving second home Peterborough a shout out, Gontier talked about his whole family being at the show, including two of his cousins who are more like brothers to him. Adam invited one of his cousin's, Cale Gontier to join the party on stage and assist with backing vocals for the tune "Trying To Catch Up With The World". Cale is Bassist and backup vox for Art Of Dying, Adam has joined the band on stage many times in the past to sing "Raining" a song of theirs he was featured on.
The show was fantastic, I had a fabulicious time. Wish I could have hung around longer to party with everyone but the boyfriend needed some Fridae time too. Huge thanks to 94.9 THE ROCK FM, the hottest promoter/booker in the city Miss Redd for the link and seamless musical entertainment. Also thank you to The bands for not sucking and awesome Anna for shooting the madness with me. Until next time, keep that musical goodness fresh by supporting the talented, check out a show and grab or download all of the mentioned bands records. Watch the Saint Asonia videos here.