Saving Able Lincoln Theater (Photo Gallery)
My first memory of bands like Mississippi’s, Saving Able goes back to the late 1990’s when the bellowing “yeah” of Eddie Vedder made its way into the pipes of so many front men. In fact, I jokingly referred to these bands and this genre of music as “Yeah music”. Take Scott Sapp of Creed, Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger, Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit and the obvious influence or perhaps the shared trait of these bands is that low pitch vocal which may not be used constantly, but has its place when necessary.
Sunday night at The Lincoln Theater usually isn’t Grand Central Station no matter what the act, and this was no exception. The lineup included sets by Fall From Grace, Red Light King and Aranda, all bands of the same buzz rock genre. All musicans donned a healthy dose of piercings, tats, plenty of hair product, jangling jewelry usually adorned with crosses and other religious symbols. All part of an esthetic which screams “we rock, but we’re down with Jesus which doesn’t make us pussies or anything, because we wear leather.” I want to say the look doesn’t affect the music, but in this particular formula of rock , dress is of the highest importance.
The openers each played around thirty minutes of buzz rock, heavily laden with the best from their latest albums while getting the slowly increasing crowd pumped for Saving Abel. Each band was, in their own way, a reincarnation of 80’s metal (Motley Crew, Poison, etc) sans the makeup with an extra dash of patriotism. Fall From Grace possessed a comforting ability to take their sound from full throttle rock to lighter- lifting ballads without struggle. The audience dug it all, but clearly were all awaiting their heroes: Saving Abel.
This being my first experience seeing this sort of music live I was fascinated by the demographic of men and women ages 25 and up, mostly clad in black and all drinking heavily. As the five piece stars for the took the stage at 10:40 the mystified audience stood at full attention awaiting the first growling note from Mississippi’s Saving Abel. Front man and lead vocalist, Jared Weeks tore into “Bringing Down the Giant”, the first single from the new album of the same name, the energy within the walls of the Lincoln theater took shape. Raucousness arose as lead guitarist Jason Null’s distorted metal riffs radiated from his Old Glory painted Les Paul recalling tastes of Jimi Hendrix’ “Purple Haze”. Keeping in line with Weeks vocal climbs and physical gyrations about the stage, bassist and back up vocalist Eric Taylor thudded along precisely through the first 4 or five tunes, all of which carried their own message of light hearted anti establishment / pop culture gab with underlying messages about the importance of friends and family. Here lies the first embedded trait some might find hypocritical or even paradoxical of Saving Abel: although dressed in leather and rocking out hard, these guys are family types who watch TV and go to church. Launching into “Stupid Girl – Only in Hollywood”, a screeching rock number dedicated to Snooky, a mindless female character from reality sensation Jersey Shore, Saving Abel were now an American band, or at least for the moment, using a relatable topical whipping boy ( girl in this case) from pop culture with whom everyone who watches TV is familiar. Between songs, the audience was hyped repeatedly with “Raleigh are you ready to rock” and “Who’s feelin’ good out here tonight” which added that extra hint of, for lack of a better word, cheesiness to the whole production. Comments and calls like this were just as commonly tossed forth as ramblings about tattoos, moonshine and even inquiries about Church attendance. Again, the mixture of hardcore metal and hometown wholesomeness crashed together.
As the four front members took a seat, the vibe took a welcome turn as Saving Abel played a rousing rendition of Credence Clearwater Revivals lovable hit “Have you ever seen the Rain” and, as a dedication to his daughter, Weeks soulfully delivered a heart wrenching cover of Lynard Skynards “Simple Man”. It was during this section of the performance that the true talent of the group as a cohesive, well oiled machine came to light. Effortless fret play from Null impressed and wowed with razor sharp accurate hammer-ons, pull offs and arpeggios aplenty. Guitarist Scott Bartlett flipped his acoustic over to create an impromptu lap steal using a beer bottle as a slide giving the group its own identity set apart from the hoards of other bands belonging to this buzz rock genre.
The evening continued with singles from their previous records, all of which shared many of the same rock – metal ingredients. Saving Abel has found their place in the world of modern rock as patriotic good ole boys possessing the skill and drive to rock, but not hard enough to scare your parents. They remain favorites overseas as regular performers for our troops stationed in the Middle East and beyond. And, like so many others will continue to top the charts and sell out festivals like The Warped Tour and Oz Fest. Although not my cup of tea, I understand and appreciate Saving Abel’s place in American society [cincopa A0CAN4626e8C]
Daniel Reeves/ Columbus Wired
Photos by Lizzy Davis/Columbus Wired