Saliva Praise Fans, Blast Al Qaeda, Rock Like Always

Band appeals to fans with hard-rocking set, down-to-earth attitude.

NEW YORK — Every band claims to be indebted to its fans, but
Saliva seem to bond with their listeners more than most. During Wednesday
night’s show at the World, singer Josey Scott made it clear that it’s all
about the kids, and reiterated his point no less than 10 times.

“We do this sh– for you and for ourselves,” shouted Scott after the band
finished playing its single “Always,” which is currently receiving strong
airplay. “F— the rest of ‘em.”

After experiencing Saliva live, it’s easy to see why they’re so enamored of
their audiences. The group’s no-frills brand of music is as populist as hard
rock gets, and while the bandmembers know how to put on a show, they avoid
acting like rock stars. Onstage, dressed in black T-shirts and black jeans,
Scott looked like three-quarters of the crowd. (Click here for photos from the show .)

The set was evenly split between songs from last year’s Every Six
Seconds
and the newly-released Back Into Your System
(see “Saliva Back With New Album, New Voice” ). Saliva began with “Click
Click Boom,” the second single from their major-label debut. The tune was
followed by two more songs from that disc, “Superstar” and “After Me,” which
effectively satisfied the audience’s cravings for stuff they knew before
Saliva exposed them to a string of five new songs.

Without Def Leppard-esque background harmonies and slick production, the
hip-hop-inflected “Raise Up,” the anthemic “Back Into Your System” and the
surging “Weight of the World” sounded rawer and more virulent than on album,
making the band seem tougher and more blue collar. And with fewer rap
passages, the songs had more of an old-school thug-rock vibe.

In addition to having the sound to shake stadiums, Saliva have the moves to
keep the crowd visually stimulated. Scott strode back and forth, pumped the
air with his fist and frequently clutched his sweaty, long locks as he sang.
Lead guitarist Wayne Swinny, rhythm guitarist Chris D’Abaldo and bassist Dave
Novotny repeatedly demonstrated how they’ve perfected the unison headbang.

At numerous points, Swinny stood still and played tasteful, hair-raising
solos that complemented the band’s songs without overpowering them, while
D’Abaldo provided visual flair, whether standing spread-eagle or leaning over
his guitar with his head down. Much of the time Novotny stood stiff and
still, his sheepdog hair obscuring almost his entire face.

Most of the show was devoid of serious content, but Scott put on his
political hat for a moment by prefacing “Pride” with a diatribe against al
Qaeda.

“This song’s a big fat f—in’ middle finger to all the terrorism. … We
thought what better place to play this song than New York f—in’ City.” The
clompin’, stompin’ rock-out was followed with chants of “USA, USA.”

Saliva ended their regular set with “Musta Been Wrong,” then praised the
crowd one final time (“It’s ‘cuz of cool-ass crowds like you that we get to
keep doing what we do”) before exiting the stage. They returned a few minutes
later for the new “Weight of the World,” which Scott called the band’s
favorite track from the record. The set-closer was “Your Disease,” the
pugnacious number that first put Saliva on the mainstream map.

Opening band Audiovent rocked the crowd with a pounding but melody-saturated
set. Though vocalist Jason Boyd is the brother of Incubus frontman Brandon
Boyd and guitarist Benjamin Einziger the sibling of Incubus axeman Mike
Einziger, Audiovent are their own energetic entity.

In concert, the band’s love for classic hard rock and post-grunge shone
through like a flashlight in a fog. Songs like “Energy,” “Rain” and “Stalker”
were delivered with the surge of Stone Temple Pilots, the groove of Led
Zeppelin and the propulsion of Grand Funk Railroad.

Boyd, in a black tank top and brown corduroys, looked like a ’70s stoner, and
handled the stage with confidence, wriggling like Jim Morrison of the Doors
and swinging the mic like Roger Daltrey of the Who.

Live, his voice is powerful and swollen with drama. Although it fit in well
with his bandmates’ sonic charge, it would be equally suitable for metal
bands like Judas Priest or even Whitesnake.

Highlights of their set included the full-throttle “Sweet Frustration” and
the more sedate “Beautiful Addiction,” which see-sawed between emotive ballad
and piledriving rocker.

For more sights and stories from concerts around the country, check out MTV News Tour Reports.