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Saint Asonia - Hotter Than Hell in Oshawa, Ontario




Saint Asonia performs live at Biltmore Theatre in Oshawa, ON. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

By: Jay Broderick


Oshawa, ON - It's the hottest week of the year, and the summer has not yet officially started. As I park my vehicle in downtown Oshawa, I have immediate thoughts of "Holy shit! I hope there is air conditioning at Biltmore Theatre". I have been to some venues around the Greater Toronto Area, that seemingly do not have this luxury. Or perhaps they choose not to flip the power switch. If we don't have the luxury here tonight, we're going to be in for an unpleasant evening.

As I park my car, a few fans are trying to figure out the parking payment machine. As I happily try to help, I insert my payment card, and it seemingly won't take it. And then we smartly read the sign. Tonight (as well as every night) is free after 6:00 pm. How sweet is that? In the big city, you're looking at $10 and greater. Some places are even going for $32 now, depending on proximity. But not here in great old Oshawa. The fans who were gathered around here have never been to tonight's venue, and they are pretty pumped for the show.


As I line up at the doors, I meet a young fellow, and we get to chatting. He tells me he is from India and has only been here a year. He has never seen a concert, and is also very excited to see the band on display, Saint Asonia. A band, he says, he's been following since the beginning. As the lineup outside grows, the chatter leaves a buzz in the air. My gut now tells me that the night is going to get a lot hotter, even as the doors open and I feel the blast of cool air hit my body.


Judgement

Evangelos Aivaliotis of Judgement performs live in Oshawa. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

Tonight's opening act is a local Oshawa band called Judgment. They are a post-hardcore band that formed in 2016, originally as Poor Judgement. In 2018, the band was named "Best Emerging Artist" at the Oshawa Music Awards.


Right out of the gate, lead singer Evangelos Aivaliotis and the band's newest guitarist are absolute money with their energy. The power from the stage matches the band's raw speed along with the lead singer's growls and screams. With tons of crowd interaction, the band got their job done in flying fashion, and the crowd was completely engaged, with even some slight mosh pit action that would not typically be a part of a bill such as Saint Asonia.



Charlie Edward

Charlie Edward performs live at Biltmore Theatre. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

Next up on this 3-bill night would be an artist from London, Ontario named Charlie Edward. After being hired to play for another band during the 2022 Canadian Music Week, Edward caught the eye of the festival's director, and eventually Andrew Valle signed on to be the guitarist's manager.


I won't bore you with the mundane chatter here though. As soon as Edward and his band hit the stage, I immediately thought "DAMN!" These guys had the style, the look, and the attitude of rock and roll. Once the music started, I was completely blown away with their groove, and MAJOR stage presence.


By the end of their set, the band's bassist was dripping sweat as Charlie Edward shares that it's his first solo tour, and that he'll be on the Crew Fest bill to take place in Brantford, Ontario on July 19 and 20. The venue was electric after this act. Believe me... if you have not heard of this young man, you will! He is on a steep trajectory upwards.


Saint Asonia

Saint Asonia perform live in Oshawa, Ontario. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

Saint Asonia is a supergroup, fronted by ex-Three Days Grace singer Adam Gontier. At the band's formation in 2015, members of American hard rock band Staind were also onboard, but changes have seen some members go, with Gontier's cousin Cale now on board, along with Art of Dying drummer Cody Watkins.


The band kicked off their Canadian tour on June 13 in Waterloo, Ontario, and the following week, on June 20, the band rolled through Oshawa. I will admit to not being the biggest Saint Asonia fan, although their music I have always enjoyed. But as soon as the band hit the stage, my impression quickly changed. These guys were on fire right off the hop. Bassist Cale Gontier was full of energy, and was a concert photographer's dream! He was completely engaged, as was the lead singer and touring guitarist Travis Stanley. They were loud as hell, and sounded amazing as they opened the show with 2015's "Better Place".

Adam Gontier performs live in Oshawa. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

With Adam's first interaction with the crowd, he tells them that he kind of considers this a hometown show, as he is originally from Peterborough, a city 80km north-east of Oshawa. He tells the crowd to get ready for a night of a lot of old shit and some really old. But there is also definitely some new music too. From he band's most recent EP, 2022's Extrovert, they play the track "Wolf" as the 6th song of their set. Adam removes his jacket and tells the crowd "I wanna see everybody up!!"


Three Days Grace had become a very popular Canadian band over the years, so it was with little doubt that Gontier and the rest of his mates from Saint Asonia would be playing some tracks from the singer's days with that band. "By now, you know who I am. I am Adam and I was in a band called Three Days Grace;. You guys wanna help us sing a song?" But with this, the band exits the stage, leaving the singer by himself, with his guitar, and he starts into the much mellower "Never Too Late". The crowd goes wild, and immediately make sure the singer is not alone, as they take over the vocals, singing to the top of their lungs. By the track's last stanza, the band reappears, and at the song's conclusion, go right into "I Hate Everything About You", another Three Days Grace song. The fans continue to run the vocals, hands in the air. The band sounds amazing!! "Wow! That was fucking fun! How about one more? This isn't a song I did with Three Days Grace, but a song I did with a band called Apocalyptica. The band then goes right into the track "I Don't Care".


The band's set list contained a fantastic mix of Saint Asonia tracks, in addition to other music that the vocalist had been a part of thorughout his career. The band even covered The Weeknd's track "Blinding Lights" which brought another round of cheers and smiles from the crowd.


Cale Gontier performs live in Oshawa. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

Set List


Better Place

Beast

Bite the Bullet

The Hunted

Chew Me Up

Wolf

Never Too Late (Three Days Grace cover)

I Hate Everything About You (Three Days Grace cover)

I Don't Care (Apocalyptica cover)

So What

Say Goodbye

Blinding Lights (The Weeknd cover)

Riot (Three Days Grace cover)

Devastate


Encore

Just Like You (Three Days Grace cover)

Let Me Live My Life


By the end of this show, I was completely blown away by the band, and it brought a completely different perspective. Saint Asonia isn't just a Three Days Grace knockoff, and Adam Gontier isn't just rehashing his glory days. No, these are the glory days. There is a lot of power here. This is rock and roll!!


Ahead of the band's last track of the evening, Gionter thanks the crowd for being so great, and promises that they will be back soon. And I for one will be on the lookout for the next date. I enjoyed this show so much, that it is certain to be among the best shows of 2024. While we still have half a year to go, I trust in that. That's how good this one was!!


Travis Stanley performs live in Oshawa. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

I saw the young man from India again after the show. He is standing outside by himself, leaning against the wall. I asked him how it was, and he immediately said "It was great, but that was loud! I have never been subjected to such loud noise before." I smile and tell him that ear plugs should be on his list for next time. After 40 years of going to concerts, it becomes a must!! But LOUD is how we love it!!!



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show date: June 20, 2024

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