I had a last-minute chance to catch Saul at the Waiting Room in Omaha Wednesday night (10/13) and it was killer!
Saul has been playing shows throughout the Midwest for a long time now. Being only a few hours away from Omaha there was a real home-town feel throughout the crowd and coming from the band. Before the show I talked to Shane from The Impulsive and he said they've played shows with Saul several times before and was really glad to see them getting all the well deserved success they've had lately.
I started getting into Saul a few years ago, just as their song "Brother" started hitting its peak. Unfortunately, any chance of seeing them live was quickly dashed once COVID started to shut things down. So I watched from afar as the band released a smash single "King Of Misery" co-written by David Draiman of Disturbed, followed by their major label debut Rise As Equals. If you haven't heard Rise As Equals yet, definitely give it a spin. Not only do you get "King of Misery" and "Brother" but both the opening track "Trial By Fire" and "Rise As Equals" have been featured prominently on YouTube with views in the upper hundreds of thousands. Saul just released another single from Rise As Equals, "Looking To Fight" and it's a banger too! The song is currently number six on the Sirius XM Big Uns chart.
Since discovering Saul via "Brother" I've really enjoyed getting to know their backstory. Take for instance the title track of their latest album. The term "Equals" is describing Saul's fans. When it came to shirts in the crowd, Saul had that place packed out! There were tons of "Equals" who came out to support.
As the song's lyrics state:
I will be there for you
You will be there for me
This is my time
These are my people
Sisters and brothers
You are my equals
Live til we die
Together we live those
Sisters and brothers
You are my equals
So from what I can gather the band is saying there's no barrier between themselves and their fans. At the end of the day we're all the same. We're all here to love and support each other. What an uplifting message, especially in these times when there is such division. Being able to come together and rock out and escape every day life is what it's all about! Looking around the Waiting Room there were tons of Saul shirts walking around. Any time Saul plays the Midwest, the Equals show up in full force.
I was on Facebook the other day and saw a post from Saul that said "A lot of people have asked about meet and greets for this upcoming tour. We're letting you know there will be no meet and greets". At first I was like "What? Don't you want to meet with the people supporting you at your shows?" Then I read on..... "This past year has been rough and we could all use a win. We'll be at the merch booth every night taking pictures and signing autographs, no VIP upgrades needed". I thought this was so cool.
I understand why bands sometimes charge for a VIP upgrade. With shows still struggling it can add revenue to a tour and help give the band and their crew a little more income. But to give your fans that extra time with nothing expected out of pocket is just a really classy move.
Sorry, I haven't even gotten to the music yet!
The first band up was Omaha's own The Impulsive. These guys are great. With a strong metal-core vibe they got the place rocking. I saw them at River Riot a couple years back, but the promoter was having trouble getting the photo pass list figured out so I missed most of their set since they were the first band up. I'm glad I got to catch a full set this time. They were told to cut it a bit short and we didn't get their ripping cover of "Rock You Like A Hurricane", but it was still a lot of fun.
After The Impulsive was Kingdom Collapse from Texas. This band is making some waves with their song "Unbreakable". It's also been featured on The Big Uns countdown and for several weeks it's been in the number one spot. Like The Impulsive, Kingdom Collapse has a bit of a metalcore vibe, mostly clean vocals with some screams mixed in here and there. Most of the songs were pretty straight-forward bops. I picked up on one song that lifted the riff from "One Step Closer" by Linkin Park. It was nearly identical. But what do they say? "Copying is the most sincere form of flattery"?
Next, after Kingdom Collapse, Saul took the stage to thunderous applause. The band had quite the setup with Saul logos behind them and tons of lights. So many in fact, it was a pretty tough shoot.
I was talking with one of Saul's regular photographers who lives really close to the band's hometown. He said it can be a challenging show to capture because they're really high energy and the light show is nuts. He said they only brought about half the stage show they normally have since the stage and ceiling were pretty small. At first I waived it off thinking "I've shot Seether with one pure dark red light while singer Shuan Morgan hid his face the whole time. I've shot Lucida Dark who would've been pitch black save for some glow sticks on the edge of the stage. I've shot Ministry in an arena where they turned off all the lights except for Al Jorgenson's crucifix podium. How bad could this be?
Once the light show started I thought "This dude was right!" haha. I did my best firing away as lead singer Blake and his brother Zack stepped on and off the risers while the lights darted around like lasers. If that was half the stage setup I can only imagine what a full setup looks like. You can probably see that thing from space!
Light show aside, Saul destroyed the stage with their raucous energy and feel-good vibes. Though the music sounds dark and heavy the lyrics present songs of hope and strength. Saul ripped through "King of Misery" and that got everyone in the crowd singing along. After about three or four songs lead singer Blake welcomed their main bass player "Willie Boy" to the stage. Willie had a baby about a month ago and had been spending some time at home before heading back out onto the road. The crowd was psyched to see him up there rocking again.
As Saul broke into their title track "Rise As Equals" everyone lifted their hands up showing the "equals" sign. If you watch the video for "Rise As Equals" you can see what I'm describing. Heck, let's just drop a link here, this song rips.
With all of our hands in the air, it was a special moment to be a part of. Saul played a few more songs during their shorter opener set finishing with the song that started their rise "Brother". Lead singer Blake mentioned that when they wrote the song it was for the band and their family, but now it's the people's song and everyone can share it. This got a huge reaction from the crowd and there were tons of people singing along.
I'm so glad I finally got to catch Saul and I can't wait to go back possibly for a headline set. Thanks so much to Saul for getting me on the show to take some photos. You can check out Saul on tour with Atreyu starting November 9.