Saliva / 9th Planet Out – Apollo Theater – Belvidere IL – August 21st 2021

Saliva with 9th Planet Out

Review and photos by Kate Klaus

Memphis-based rockers Saliva were joined on a weekend run by Minnesota band 9th Planet Out as a part of their “Every Twenty Years” tour.  The first show of the weekend (August 21st, 2021) took place at the Apollo Theatre in Belvidere, IL, a beautiful timeworn theater that first opened in 1922 as a venue for vaudeville and road shows.

9th Planet Out emerged onto the stage after an introductory light display complete with crowd “alien scan” and instructions from android-like character Allison on how best to enjoy the upcoming performance.  Opening with the heavy-hitting “Don’t Let it Fall”, the thrilling light display, lasers, and fog were paired with high energy performance intensity.  That intensity was apparent throughout their entire set, energizing the crowd and drawing them into their performance.  Lead singer James Robinson shifted effortlessly between beautiful melodic tones and deep rock screams, while lead guitarist Josh Kulack shredded through intricate solos that captivated the crowd.  Guitarist Dylan Bennett carried that same intensity with high energy stage presence, wild hair flips, and extreme vocal techniques and screams.  Brothers Cole, on bass and backing vocals, and Clay Ebertowski, on drums, brought a solid, heavy-hitting rhythm to 9th Planet’s intense set.  The band’s set included recently released singles “Trapped” and a cover of Sia’s hit “Chandelier” which had the crowd wildly joining in singing along.  Closing their set with “Before I Go”, 9th Planet Out firmly established themselves as a high caliber band, and one to watch for as rising stars on the hard rock scene.

Headliners Saliva are in the midst of a lengthy spring/summer tour in support of their “Every 20 Years” effort, which includes re-recorded versions of their classic hits with current vocalist Bobby Amaru.  Saliva opened their set with “Black Sheep”, continuing the hard-hitting energy that had been established by openers 9th Planet Out.  Their set was filled with heavy hits, including “Ladies and Gentlemen”, “Always”, and “Your Disease”. Amaru’s alternating soulful and grinding heavy southern-rock vocals were strikingly complimented by the classic guitar stylings of Wayne Swinny, heavy beats of drummer Paul Crosby, and high energy rhythm of guest bassist Josh Kulack of 9th Planet Out (covering for an ill Brad Stewart).  During a mid-set instrumental break-down during “Doperide”, Amaru had the crowd loudly singing along to a mashup including Phil Collins “In the Air Tonight” and Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”.  Saliva closed out the night with crowd favorite “Click Click Boom”, a fitting finale for night of intense, flawlessly performed, high energy rock.