Review Anita Bergamin
Alter Bridge are no strangers to Australian shores, and the growing anticipation in the lead up to the Australian leg of The Last Hero tour only solidified the fact that this band has a dedicated fan base down under. Bringing previous tour mates, US-based Kiwi foursome, Like A Storm to fill the supporting slot on their respective first ever Australian tour and the first hometown shows across the ditch in a decade, their presence was certainly well received by the near sell-out crowd.
The self-proclaimed didgeridoo metallers, made up of multi-talented vocalist, rhythm guitarist and didgeridoo player Chris Brooks, his brothers Kent and Matt Brooks on the bass and lead guitar respectively, and rounded out by drummer Zach Wood, Quickly won the crowd over with their one of a kind stage presence and unmistakable passion for performing live. Performing a range of songs off both of their studio releases, including Chaos, Never Surrender and Become The Enemy, before Chris stepped back allowing Matt to showcase his impressive vocal talents on somber track Break Free.
If there was anybody in the room not yet convinced of Like A Storm’s extensive abilities, they were very quickly sold when they powered into a cover of AC/DC’s T.N.T, before rounding out their nine-track set with Pure Evil and Love The Way You Hate Me.
Before long, streams of lights began sweeping over the crowd for what felt like minutes, as if headliners Alter Bridge were cautiously attempting to scope out what kind of crowd they would be up against… before saying ‘eff it’ and diving in head first, straight into The Writing On The Wall, Come To Life and Farther Than The Sun, much to the delight of everybody in the room, who had the entire floor bouncing – as if being on a trampoline with a couple of thousand other people.
By Addicted To Pain it was clear that Alter Bridge are nothing if not a well-oiled machine, playing together as one collective unit with ease, almost as if by muscle memory, making even the guitar solos from both main axeman Mark Tremonti and frontman Myles Kennedy appear effortless. Myles, who has in the past admitted to ‘hiding behind his guitar,’ seeming to have grown as a performer in recent years, now interacting with the crowd and letting his quirks and on-stage antics shine through more than ever. Bassist Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips on the drums held down the rhythm section faultlessly. These boys were having a blast and they weren’t afraid to show it, with Myles, Mark and Brian spending the majority of the set up close and personal with their fans.
Rounding out the first half of their impressive 20 song set, Cry Of Achilles, Crows On A Wire and Ties That Bind certainly proved that the crowd was well and truly warmed up, easily surpassing Myles in the volume stakes. My Champion was received enthusiastically, despite the crowd seemingly hitting a wall halfway through, most likely worn out after giving their all in the predeceasing tracks.
Stopping to talk to the crowd properly for the first time, a heartfelt moment quickly falling to the gutter when Myles, explaining why he shouldn’t be allowed to talk because he “says a lot of stupid shit,” seconds later proves his point telling a story about how much long black he’d had. (Coffee, people! He was talking about coffee!) Before cutting off the laughter by launching into acoustic renditions of Wonderful Life and Watch Over You, these tracks couldn’t have come at a better time.
The last fee songs of the set saw the crowd much more mellow appearing to be feeling the groove of the guitars, a stark contrast to earlier on in the set, although clearly not deterring the band who were rocking as hard as ever. The night ending on a high with fan favourites Show Me A Leader and Rise Today, with the highlight of the encore without a doubt being the duelling guitar solos between Mark and Myles from opposite sides of the stage, Myles standing back watching Mark shred away with a grin on his face that can only be described as the look of a proud father.
Alter Bridge proving once again that they are at the top of their game and still loving every second of what they do. They are as tight as ever and show no signs of slowing down, with Myles Kennedy clearly enjoying being able to nurture his main band again for a while. These guys are in a place where they can only push their own boundaries and just keep getting better and better. And better.