CONCERT COVERAGE: ALTER BRIDGE | REBEL Nightclub

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Adam R. Harrison | The Heavy Press | February 1, 2017 | REBEL, Toronto | Do not crop or modify these images | Do not use without permission

Photography By: Adam R. Harrison

Words By: Gerrod Harris

On Wednesday, February 1st, Alter Bridge took Rebel Nightclub by storm, along with show openers Nonpoint and Weapons Of Anew. Alter Bridge are currently on tour to support their fiery 2016 release, The Last Hero, a record which was certainly among the ranks of many modern rockers best of the year lists!

Opening the night were Weapons Of Anew, a band who’s hard rock style teetered into metal territory on numerous occasions, making them the perfect sonic stepping stone between Nonpoint and Alter Bridge. They started their set to a crowd who seemed to have never heard of them, but as the songs went by, they were able to get much more people into it, and by the very end, they had won over a significant chunk of the audience. Vocalist Ray West proved to be just as powerful singing gravelly melodic lines as he was when he let out his bellowing screams. All in all, Weapons Of Anew performed a solid set of straight up rock ‘n’ roll. The band currently has “Killshot”, a digital single available on iTunes, but promised the crowd that their debut full length album would be out by the end of April.

From the moment Nonpoint walked onto the stage, they displayed a performance that can only be described in a manner which one would describe a bar fight; they were volatile, they were loud, and they were ferocious. Early on, vocalist Elias Soriano joked by saying “we don’t have dreadlocks because we like weed. We have them because, for those who don’t know, we are Korn”. While there are definitely influences from Korn in their performance- along with a healthy dose of Black album era MetallicaNonpoint put on a far greater show than Korn does. Last year, the band had released their ninth studio record, The Poison Red, which they played a handful of tracks from, including “My Last Dying Breath” and “Divide… Conquer Them”, both which demonstrated a more melodic side of the band while also featuring excellent three-part vocal harmonies. Another highlight from their set was an unrecognizable cover of Phil Collins’ classic, “In The Air Tonight”, giving the song a hard hitting facelift. To close their set, Nonpoint played their blistering 2005 hit, “Bullet With A Name”, ending their set with a bang.

Alter Bridge dove into “The Writing On The Wall” upon walking on stage to the audience chanting their name. Right away, Alter Bridge sounded powerful; delivering a full sound that- in case you came specifically for one of the supporting acts- let you know that they were the headliners. In short, it was immediately apparent that this was balls to the wall rock ‘n’ roll that demanded your attention and reminded you that you should expect nothing less from a band of this caliber. Aside from “The Writing On The Wall”, the band performed a number of tracks from last year’s The Last Hero, including “My Champion”, the explosive “Crowes On A Wire”, and the album’s opening track, “Show Me A Leader”, which they played during their encore (but sadly, skipped over “Poison In Your Veins”). All of the songs from the new record fit in perfectly with their set, giving a sense of freshness to their career spanning performance.

It is beyond redundant to praise Myles Kennedy’s voice, as by now that should simply be common knowledge among rock fans, but for those who have still yet to catch on, Kennedy has one of the greatest voices in the genre, on par with legends like Robert Plant, Freddie Mercury, Axl Rose and Chris Cornell, and in comparison to modern rock, I would claim that he is unchallenged. The vocal range and power he emits through his voice left the entire venue captivated. He finds a perfect partner in guitarist Mark Tremonti, who sports a voice which complements Kennedy’s nicely when adding backing harmonies. Tremonti and Kennedy also prove to be an excellent guitar duo as they seamlessly trade lead and rhythm roles back and forth within the same song. This not only allows for Alter Bridge to perform all of their intricate guitar parts, it also creates a dynamic of community between the band as there is no lead or rhythm guitar players rather, Alter Bridge has two guitarists, both of whom are nothing short of phenomenal. The rhythm section of bassist Brian Marshal and drummer Scott Phillips hold the band down with their tight performance, which further enables for the ease in which the guitar parts flow freely between Kennedy and Tremonti. Of their nineteen song set, Alter Bridge also performed their classics of the likes of “Blackbird”, “Isolation”, “Open Your Eyes”, “Metalingus”, and closed with “Rise Today”.

My first impression of seeing Alter Bridge in concert is how underrated they are among the modern rock scene. Their collective musicianship and ability exceeds most of today’s bands and their style is highly distinctive, giving them a sense of individuality which can sometimes be absent among much of the rock music to emerge in the 2000’s and the 2010’s. It is a shame that they are such an underappreciated band considering that I would consider their Toronto show of The Last Hero Tour to be technically flawless and an incredibly exciting affair. Song after song, their energy was relentless and Kennedy’s command of the stage was the level of a rock veteran who’s been there and done it all from the 70’s onward. Without a doubt, Alter Bridge is absolutely a band worth watching again and again.

 

Alter Bridge set list:

1: The Writing On The Wall

2: Come To Life

3: Farther Than The Sun

4: Before Tomorrow Comes

5: Addicted To Pain

6: Ghost Of Days Gone By

7: Cry Of Achilles

8: Brand New Start

9: My Champion

10: Ties That Bind

11: Water’s Rising

12: Watch Over You

13: Isolation

14: Crowes On A Wire

15: Blackbird

16: Metalingus

17: Open Your Eyes

18: Show Me A Leader

19: Rise Today

Alter Bridge

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