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Friday, 25 October 2013

View From The Back Of The Room: Alter Bridge

Alter Bridge, Shinedown, Halestorm Motorpoint Arena Cardiff

Into Cardiff's major venue (apparently) for a night of modern American metal, this was as well attended gig especially by members of the Musipedia who were out in force. After a small wait it was time to get going:


First out were Halestorm who immediately burst into their feminist anthem Love Bites (But So Do I) which is all power riffage and snarled vocals from the very visually appealing Ms Lzzy Hale, (leather hot pants is a look many singers can't pull off) who has a more raw voice live than usual especially on Mz. Hyde and Freak Like Me, next was a drum solo which went into a cover of Priest's Dissident Aggressor which to be honest was not needed but then the set finished strongly with I Miss The Misery and the mega ballad Here's To Us. The set was over quickly with five tracks of the bands greatest hits getting everyone ready for what was to come. 7/10


So Shinedown were up next and things started well with their big rocker Devour which started things off in muscular style and then...a break...the band went off stage and a intro tape played which totally killed any momentum and led into Sound Of Madness which I will admit is a great song and was then followed by...another intro tape...this started to get worrying as it seemed to be a running theme, the next two songs both had long taped intros which did nothing for the set at all, neither by the way did the long rambling speeches about faith and humanity, the only things they did do was annoy me to hell as they took up the space for more (rockier) songs. Still weirdly the crowd seemed to go nuts for every song, maybe it’s just me then. The band came back with Diamond Eyes (Boom Lay Boom Lay Boom) which again is a great song but was followed by too much faffing about and every song was marred by frontman Brent's use of backing tapes to increase the range of his voice, in some places it did sound like listening to a CD rather than a live show. Another two ballads including the massively over played Second Chance came in quick succession and then the part where I physically left the venue, this was during their cover of Skynryd's Simple Man which is awful mainly due to the fact that I've seen the same song done 100 times better by the band that wrote it in the same venue. Finally came Bully which ended the disjointed set, yes the songs are good in places and if they had had a similar set to Halestorm where they just came out and played we could have forgiven the taped vocal help but with the breaks and their reliance on ballads it meant that for me it was a very frustrating set to watch. 4/10

Alter Bridge

After the dejection I had after Shinedown Alter Bridge needed to blow me away, luckily they are fucking Alter Bridge and all doom and gloom disappeared with the opening thrash riffage of Addicted To Pain which was quickly followed by White Knuckles this was one-two punch that managed to stagger the crowd before Come To Life and Before Tomorrow Comes brought the uplifting euphoria. These first four songs show everything that Alter bridge is about with Scott Phillips and Brian Marshall holding down the bottom end, the guitar god Tremonti riffed like hell and soloed like a demon and was backed ably by the rhythm guitar of Myles Kennedy who also shone on the mic with his velvet voice. The set was drawn mainly from the last three albums with Brand New StartCry Of Achilles (which is modern classic in the making) and then the haunting Ghost Of Days Gone By which moved into one of my favourites Ties That Bind and then Tremonti took the lead vocals on the heavy Waters Rising which had its live debut tonight. The band have little crowd interaction they just shut up and play something that Shinedown failed to realise. The band took a small break where they told us that the next song was put back in the set due to fan demand and with that the opening blast of Metalingus filled the arena and was met with a roar from the members of the WWE Universe that were in attendance! With the metal blast out of the way next it was time to open up and feel with the majestic Blackbird causing a mass sing along which moved into an acoustic version of Watch Over You which was a duet between Myles and Lzzy and signalled the end of the main set with the euphoric Rise Today and Open Your Eyes. The lights went down and we waited the band arrived again and the trippy Slip Into The Void kicked off the encore which was brought to a close with Isolation which is probably the best track on ABIII. This was a great set filled with the right amount of light and shade and it showed why Alter Bridge are one of the best bands around. It's just a shame so many left after Shinedown's woeful performance; I do sometimes think it may be me...9/10   

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