Monthly Archives: October 2014
Seeing five bands perform over Columbus Day weekend definitely made for a “Rocktober” to remember. The weekend began with the comically retro Steel Panther opening for the true gods of metal, Judas Priest. After a lot of driving, which included taking a ferry across state lines, the long-awaited opportunity to see Alter Bridge had finally arrived. California Breed (Glenn Hughes’ latest project) was featured as Alter Bridge’s opening act, but the band that made the biggest impression of all, was relative newcomers onto the hard rock music scene, Like A Storm.
When the brothers from New Zealand took the stage at The Paramount on Long Island, the room was less than half full, but those crowded towards the front were definitely there for Like A Storm. It’s safe to say that there isn’t another band around that can begin a show with an audience adrenalized by the sound of a didgeridoo, but the crowd was pumped as the band broke into “The End Of The Beginning.”
The advantage to having a band of brothers, is a unique chemistry that exists both personally and vocally. Both were noticeable as the band rocked the growing crowd with “Chemical Infatuation,” a song that showcased some kickass vocal harmonies.
Addressing the crowd (which was increasing with each song) after the energetic, melodic rocker “Never Surrender,” it was revealed that Kent Brooks (bass) was celebrating his birthday. After the announcement about Kent’s birthday, the band launched into “Just Save Me,” followed by the birthday boy’s favorite song to play, “Gangster’s Paradise” (an incredible cover of the song made famous by Coolio in the 90s).
Chris (lead vocals) and Matt (lead guitar) worked the crowd like headliners before kicking into “Enemy,” an anthemic rocker that had the crowd pumping their fists in unison. With the room electrified, the band launched into their latest single, “Wish You Hell” (see Hard Rock Daddy review), before closing out the show with their juggernaut first single, “Love The Way You Hate Me.”
The only disappointment with Like A Storm’s performance is that it was too short! While the band still has to pay their dues (for the time being) as an opening act, it won’t be long before they are headlining rooms like The Paramount.
Although their set was shorter than the crowd would have liked, there was still plenty of time left to enjoy Like A Storm. Shortly after leaving the stage (well before 8:00pm), the band appeared at the merch table to meet and greet any and all comers, taking pictures with anyone who asked, and signing autographs on the free posters that they were giving away.
Being that it was Kent’s birthday, the band certainly could have signed a few autographs and then left to go celebrate, but they stayed until 12:30am talking to their fans. They literally stayed as long as possible, leaving only after The Paramount staff asked everyone to exit the building.
On a “Rocktober” weekend that included live performances by Judas Priest, Alter Bridge, Steel Panther and California Breed, Like A Storm is the band that left the most lasting impression for their ability to connect with the fans, both on and off the stage!
Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown for the week of 10-25-14.
The 10-25-14 Big ‘Uns Countdown playlist can also be found on www.HardRockDaddyNetwork.com (the HRD YouTube channel), in addition to archived playlists dating back to 2013. Links to reviews of songs from the countdown are featured at the bottom of the page.
#15 – “Vultures Fly” – AVATAR
#14 – “Feels Like Forever” – OF MICE & MEN
#13 – “Mr. MTV” – NOTHING MORE
#12 – “Moth” – HELLYEAH
#11 – “Something Different” – GODSMACK
#10 – “I Am Machine” – THREE DAYS GRACE
# 9 – “Doc Holliday” – VOLBEAT
# 8 – “Sick Like Me” – IN THIS MOMENT
# 7 – “Same Damn Life” – SEETHER
# 6 – “Darker Side Of The Moon” – OTHERWISE
# 5 – “Hater” – KORN
# 4 – “Breaking Skin” – NONPOINT
# 3 – “Villainy Thrives” – TRIVIUM
# 2 – “Wrong Side Of Heaven” – FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH
# 1 – “The Devil In I” – SLIPKNOT
After several dates performing around the world, and a sold-out spring tour in support of their critically acclaimed album, Fortress, Alter Bridge is finishing up a final U.S. headlining stint with a 13-city tour in October. Although the band has been prominently featured on Hard Rock Daddy, this was the first time that I ever had the chance to see them perform live. It was also my first opportunity to see a show at The Paramount, an incredible, 1500+ capacity venue on Long Island.
The night began with a brief (but highly entertaining and engaging) set from New Zealand rockers, Like A Storm, followed by Glenn Hughes’ California Breed, before Alter Bridge took the stage by storm.
From the first note, it was abundantly clear that Alter Bridge is a band that caters to their diehard, almost cult-like fanbase. How else do you explain opening with “Addicted To Pain,” (the band’s biggest hit to date) instead of saving it to close the show? While it was a surprising opener, it was also a very effective one, setting a powerful tone of in-your-face intensity that lasted throughout the 18-song set.
Even though Fortress is the heaviest album of Alter Bridge’s decade-long career, the band that most would classify as hard rock feels like a metal band in a live setting. In fact, if Myles Kennedy was a screamer instead of a brilliant vocalist with superior range, Alter Bridge may very well be solely classified as a metal band.
Having seen Kennedy recently as the frontman of Slash’s band, it was interesting to see how different his dynamic was with Alter Bridge. With Slash, Kennedy is front and center, but rarely picks up the guitar, whereas with Alter Bridge, Kennedy and Mark Tremonti team up to create a dual-guitar tour de force. On the heavier songs, you notice Kennedy’s guitar playing more than his singing, but when the band pulls it back a bit, his incredible vocals definitely take center stage.
While all eyes are naturally drawn to Kennedy and Tremonti, Alter Bridge’s powerful rhythm section of Brian Marshall (bass) and Scott Phillips (drums) provide a rock solid foundation, allowing the duo to mesmerize the crowd with their dynamic virtuosity.
Throughout the evening, the Alter Bridge crowd proved to be anything but typical, with few (if any) casual fans in attendance. Normally, when a singer turns the microphone to the audience, the energy in the room drops drastically. However, with the Alter Bridge crowd singing in unison, it was like being in the midst of a “power choir” (a term that I’m pretty sure I just coined).
With most live performances by hard rock/metal artists, you can easily differentiate between the songs that the crowd came to hear and the ones where they go and get a beer. Although I’m sure that there was no shortage of beers sold at The Paramount on the evening of the Alter Bridge show, there was no mass exodus to the bar at any point during the set, which was heavily loaded with songs from Fortress and the band’s 2007 release, Blackbird.
There is no telling what heights Alter Bridge could reach if they ever decided to dedicate their sole attention to the band, but they believe that they have found a formula that works best for them. Based on the success of Fortress, and the tour in support of the album, it’s hard to argue with their way of thinking.
The good news for Alter Bridge fans is that they will be able to see the band members over the next few years with their respective side projects. The bad news is, based on their previous release schedule, there probably won’t be another Alter Bridge album or tour until around 2017. Let the countdown begin!