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Review: Avenged Sevenfold and Alexisonfire unleash the metal at SaskTel Centre (Aug.2/2023)

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

by Scott Roos

A7X and Alexisonfire photos by Deanna Roos of Contingent Colours Photography

Kim Dracula cell phone capture by Scott Roos

Avenged Sevenfold delivered a proper rock show to a capacity crowd at SaskTel Centre this past Wednesday, August 2nd (photo by Deanna Roos/Contingent Colours Photography)

This past Wednesday, August 2nd saw the Sasktel Centre play host to Kim Dracula, Alexisonfire, and Avenged Sevenfold. The trio of bands were on the Canadian leg of Avenged Sevenfold’s North American tour which is in support of the band’s latest full length Life is But a Dream. It was a near capacity crowd that was primed to take in some heavy music.

Kim Dracula put on quite the show. This is a cell phone capture from our seats in SaskTel Centre. Thanks to Livenation for having us!

Opener Kim Dracula kicked off the evening with a short set that was part Korn (his Johnathan Davis-esque scatting confirmed this), Marilyn Manson industrial, rando hip hop, extreme metal, Saturday morning cartoons and... Bossa Nova??? Dracula had an abundance of energy as he truculently prowled back and forth across the stage. The dude even took out a Godamn chainsaw. In total, he played for about 30 mins - a nice warm up for what was to come. Hopefully he won over a few new fans in the process. He was great.

Silhouette of Alexisonfire bassist Chris Steele (photo by Deanna Roos/Contingent Colours Photography)

*Dallas Green (left) and George Pettit (right) were an incredible tandem on vocals for Alexisonfire (photo by Deanna Roos/Contingent Colours Photography)

A little rock and/or roll posing from Green, Steele and Pettit (photo by Deanna Roos/Contingent Colours Photography)

*Ladies and gentlemen Mr. George Pettit! (photo by Deanna Roos/Contingent Colours Photography

Next up was much beloved Canadian metallers Alexisonfire.(editor’s note: At this point I will say with full disclosure that I’ve never really explored this band’s catalog in any way shape or form up until this point and am now immediately regretting that fact.) The incredible one two punch of Dallas Green and George Pettit is a sight to behold. This band takes the listener on an emotional journey. There’s highs and lows throughout their entire performance punctuated by Green’s angelic voice and Pettit’s razor gargling shrieks. Big shoutouts to Chris Steel (bass), lead guitarist Wade MacNeil and drummer Jordan Hastings. Collectively, this band put on a top notch show.

Highlights were set closers “Dog’s Blood” and “This Could Be Anywhere in the World” which is where everything seemed to reach a fever pitch. They also did a pretty cool cover of the Tragically Hip’s “Full Completely” after Pettit extolled the virtues of supporting local music scenes. Alexisonfire are Canadian hard rock royalty and they proved it at SaskTel Centre on this night.

One of the most recognizable voices in metal: Mr. M. Shadows (photo by Deanna Roos/Contingent Colours Photography)

As enthusiastic as the crowd in attendance was for Alexisonfire, though, when Avenged Sevenfold came out, the electricity in the air went up a notch as they opened up with the songs “Game Over” and “Mattel” off of the recently released full length Life is But a Dream. Sporting a black balaclava, and sitting on a lounge chair, vocalist M. Shadows trademark rasping, scooping, barbaric yawp sounded out over the crowd charming them all as if from hemlock they had drunk. Eventually rising to his feet and ditching his mask shortly before the band launched into the iconic “Afterlife”, Shadows and company were already in top form.

*A7X bassist Johnny Christ! (photo by Deanna Roos

The virtuosic guitar playing of Synyster Gates was equally impressive as Shadows' ability to take control of the crowd. If Shadows is the frontman, Gates is definitely the guitarist with mystique. He showed his versatility with an all too brief classical guitar piece. The band's Maiden-esque, trademark, harmonized leads in tandem with guitarist Zacky Vengeance were also on full display. The synchronicity between the pair was very impressive. Filling things out were bassist Johnny Christ and drummer Brooks Wackerman. They are a very capable rhythm section and held things down admirably.

The amazing guitarwork of Gates (left) and Vengeance (Right) was a sight to behold. Drummer Brooks Wackerman in the background (photo by Deanna Roos/Contingent Colours Photography)

As Avenged Sevenfold’s performance wore on it was also quite incredible how many memorable and iconic songs the band has in its arsenal. In Saskatoon they played “The Stage”, “Hail to the King”, “Nightmare” and “A Little Piece of Heaven” to name a few. The crowd marked hard for “Unholy Confessions”. The band had been playing for almost an hour when they unleashed this banger. They had sweated it out in the pit, and headbanged their hearts out but did so tenfold when the classic track from Waking the Fallen came their way full bore. Shadows waxed philosophical about the importance of tribe in the metal world and showed his appreciation for the audience throughout the evening.

*it had been a few years since A7X has done a tour of this magnitude. Shadows was greatful for the reception he got from the Saskatoon crowd. (photo by Deanna Roos/Contingent Colours photography

This was a 10/10 show collectively from all the bands involved on this night. Kudos to event staff at SaskTel Centre for making this happen and making sure everyone had a kickass, safe time. Hopefully there will be more opportunities for heavy music of this ilk in the future. The next big heavy show on its way to this venue is Godsmack on October 15th. Something to look forward to.

The Canadian leg of the tour continues in these stops:

Aug. 4th Rogers Place Edmonton, Alberta

Aug. 5th Scotiabank Saddledome Calgary, Alberta

Aug. 7th Rogers Arena Vancouver, BC

Note: All the remaining Canadian shows will feature Kim Dracula and Alexisonfire as direct support.

A7X will take a break after Vancouver before heading back out on the road on September 16th.

Zacky Vengeance concetrates as he riffs his way through another classic A7X tune (photo by Deanna Roos/Contingent Colours Photography)

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