The last time I saw Alter Bridge live was back in 2014 at Wembley Arena and I’ve been looking forward to seeing them live again ever since. Not only are they one of my favourite bands, but they are also undoubtedly a fantastic live act as well. Myles Kennedy is one of the best vocalists in the world and as for Mark Tremonti’s guitar playing…he’s pretty good. *ALERT understatement of the century ALERT*
Last night I finally got a chance to see them again. This time at the 02 Arena in London, which I have to say is a far nice venue than Wembley. Even if it’s just the simple fact that it’s curved so that all of the seats are pointing in the right direction.
Alter Bridge were supported by three bands. Like A Storm, Gojira and Volbeat. I’ll be honest with you, I’d never heard of any of them before. So they all got the chance to impress me with their first impressions. The friend I went with had heard some of their music before and said I was in for a treat however.
Let’s crack on with the gig review!
Like A Storm
New Zealand band, Like A Storm kick of the proceedings. Interestingly Like A Storm first began touring the US, way back in 2009, when they were invited to join Creed on their reunion tour. I guess they must have impressed Tremonti and the guys to be brought back again.
The music the band play is hard rock/heavy metal with the added twist of having a didgeridoo. Not going to lie, I absolutely loved it from the first time they cracked out digeridoo solo in place of the traditional guitar solo.
That instrument completely sets them apart, because in honesty without it they would just be a generic hard rock/heavy metal band. That said, they had enough about them to peak my curiosity and I will be checking them out again sometime down the line.
The second support act were the french band Gojira. I’m going to keep this section brief as they weren’t really my cup of tea. I will say though, that they seemed to have a fair amount of support in the crowd. Like I say, they just don’t play my sort of music.
Gojira blended a few genres of metal together. Death, progressive and thrash but there use of unusual rhythm patterns, and stop/start riffs made them sound almost experimental. Like I say, not my sort of music but they got a decent reaction.
The main support band of the evening were the Danish heavy metal/rock and roll band Volbeat. How cool is it by the way that we’ve had 3 different nationalities getting some of the spot light here? I love it.
Volbeat were by far my favourite support act at this show. They were a whole lot of fun. They were kind of like a more metal version of Nickleback. Only Danish and not a little bit rubbish. Instead, they were a little bit good!
I mean sure, I couldn’t really understand a word that vocalist Michael Poulsen was singing but I know he’s got a great voice and the songs are still incredibly catchy. I’ve actually just bought one of their albums so I can give it a full listen too, so that surely speaks wonders for my enjoyment.
And here we are, it’s time for your main event of the evening! The headlining act, Alter Bridge. Like I said at the start of this review, Alter Bridge are a phenomenal live act. Myles Kennedy’s vocals are as incredible in person as they are on any record. I both love and hate that he puts a little bit of a live twist on the lyrics, it sounds amazing don’t get me wrong, but it makes singing along really hard when he switches up the structure of a line.
Kennedy and Mark Tremonti are so good at what they do and so obviously the front men for this band that it’s sometimes easy to forget just how good Brian Marshal and Scott Phillips are on bass guitar and drums respectively. I’ve played the drums since I was 9 years old (I’m 26 now) and while all musicians have their favourites there’s always been something about Scott’s playing that I’ve loved. It’s simple, yet complex and everything he does is just perfect for the song. I’m a huge fan.
However speaking of the drums, it does lead me to a little bit of a complaint. When I saw Alter Bridge at Wembley Arena the sound was brilliant, they didn’t get that mix quite right at the 02 Arena. Again, being a drummer I’m specifically thinking about the drums. I wanted to here more from the overhead microphones! I’m watching Brian give all hell to his crash cymbals but I can barely hear them! Disaster.
My only over complaint from the show was that for a good portion of Alter Bridge’s set I had to utter morons standing behind me claiming that they weren’t playing their “good songs”.
I think by that they meant that they didn’t just play songs exclusively the album Blackbird. Which, I agree is a simply outstanding record but you’ve come to a show to see a band who have five albums. They’ve recently released a new one, in fact, it’s kind of what the tour is about. Are you stupid or just incredibly dumb?
I actually think they did a decent job in building the set list. Four songs from The Last Hero and four from Fortress, the two most recent records and both great albums. Blackbird itself had five songs, so I don’t get the problem. Personally I wish they’d played White Knuckles but whatever. Some people just want to complain about everything.
Minor complaints aside though. Fantastic show, I will definitely try and see these guys again at some point in the future. Hopefully that next time will be on a Friday or Saturday night as well, so I can enjoy a drink and not have to worry about work the next day though!
…and then I missed my train by 10 minutes and got home at 2am instead of midnight. Worth it though!