Chicago Drive-In
Pavement Entertainment

Alter Bridge live!

| May 5, 2011 | 9 Comments

Myles Kennedy is a rock star, but doesn’t seem to know it yet. Alter Bridge rose from the ashes of Creed in 2004 after the embattled Scott Stapp nearly self-destructed and turned the band from one of the most-loved to most-hated acts around. Mark Tremonti and bandmates were committed to keep making music, and ended up making a wiser move than anyone anticipated by choosing the relatively unknown Kennedy to front the band. But Kennedy’s work with Alter Bridge has quickly elevated him to superstar status — at least in the eyes of his peers. Slash chose him to be the lead vocalist on his recent tour, and he was up to the challenge of leading songs originally recorded by other legendary vocalists. Then Led Zeppelin tapped him as their lead singer in their near-reunion-tour. But even better than Kennedy’s phenomenal rock star talents, is that he simply doesn’t act like one.

As Alter Bridge invaded the House Of Blues Monday night in Chicago, Kennedy played and sang through the entire set like a laid-back guy just having fun playing in a local band. He laughed when facing sound challenges, chatted personally with the crowd, and never strutted around stage like an attention-hungry rock god. Instead, Kennedy captivated the fans with his stratosphere-soaring vocals that never touched the ground through the 100-minute set. That, combined with Tremonti’s ear-splitting riffs, enveloped the standing-room-only crowd with pure unadulterated hard rock.

The quartet rocked through songs from all three of its LP’s, including 2010’s ABIII. The crowd sang along to all the big hits (“Before Tomorrow Comes,” “Ties That Bind,” “Buried Alive”), and enjoyed deeper cuts like “Metalingus” and “One by One,” which Kennedy dedicated to “all our soldiers serving overseas for our freedom,” which provoked the crowd to chant “U-S-A” (it was the day after the announcement of Osama Bin Laden’s death). The show closed with Kennedy plucking out The Beatles’ “Blackbird” on guitar, followed by their early career hit “Open Your Eyes.” The encore included new hit single “Isolation” and the inspirational “Rise Today,” along with a “guitar duel” between Tremonti and Kennedy, in which Kennedy surprisingly held his own, showing his talents go beyond mere vocals.

Openers Like A Storm brought plenty of energy with their in-your-face Brit-rock, but their whole persona seemed a bit too premeditated, like a rock band out of a movie. Each band member was dressed nearly identically in a generic “uniform” (all black, leather jacket, wallet chain, etc.), each had a different color hair, and the crowd-interaction consisted merely of shouts of “Chicago!” and “Who’s excited to see Alter Bridge?” But musically, the band held its own.

Second openers Black Stone Cherry provided much more entertainment and maturity with their Lynyrd Skynyrd-meets-Korn rock. Lead singer Chris Robertson is a dead-ringer for Jack Black in look, persona, and even musicality, and he knew how to work the crowd, including leading them through a few choruses of Tom Petty’s “You Don’t Know How It Feels.”

— Carter Moss

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Category: Featured, Live Reviews, Weekly

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  1. Josh Smith says:

    That is one very cool guy and if it wasn’t for him Alter Bridge might not have been in my top 5 favorite bands. They made the right decision choosing him for front man. I would love to see them play in concert if I could get the money and if they could come down to Texas.

  2. Amy says:

    Love Myles, so talented and yet really humble.

    Like A Storm are from New Zealand and Canada. Last tour they were all wearing different outfits from each other, so that hasn’t been some formula for them. Part of the reason they look alike is three of them are brothers!

  3. Nate says:

    Fail! That’s not a Beatles cover of “Blackbird”. Its an original and was just named to have the greatest guitar solo ever!

  4. Mel says:

    Myles does a brief intro to AB’s Blackbird using a bit of The Beatles’ Blackbird, so he’s not entirely wrong (it has significance in the meaning of AB’s Blackbird). Wrong to give the impression they played the whole Beatles’ song, yes, but not entirely wrong.

  5. The KC Eye says:

    I wasn’t at the show, but to defend the writer, I do know Alter Bridge will play a sample of The Beatles’ “Blackbird” at their shows as a lead-in to their own “Blackbird” tune. And there is a connection between the two songs as Alter Bridge’s version was inspired by a friend of Myles’ who taught him to play The Beatles’ “Blackbird” and had passed away. Just to help clear things up. Great band.

  6. Matt says:

    But Myles does play a little bit of the Blackbird intro by the Beatles before they play Blackbird everytime live, that might be what he was referring to.

  7. Nick says:

    I was at the show, about a 1/4 of the song was interspersed with The Beatles “Blackbird.”

  8. Chris says:

    I couldBT agree more with this review. Alter Bridge as a whole is by far one of the best bands today and one of my personal fav’s for the last 6-7 years and Myles is a stand out as one of best voices in music. AMAZING! Music is outstanding, musicianship outstanding and lyrics and medies always great even in the most driving riff heavy songs. Nkt something many bands accomplish. All if the guys are very humble and clearly thrilled to be doing what they do. No egos and no signs of slowing down (they are seemingly constantly working between AB and the re-born Creed as well as Tremonti’s solo album currently in the works).
    I also totally agree with your assessment of both openers. Like a Storm is a good band full of energy but do seem premeditated. Still good but time will tell. We saw them open twice for AB this year. Black Stone Cherry was GREAT and clearly a seasoned band. Chris is a great frontman, singer and guitarist.

  9. Rob Rackham says:

    Scott Stapp unknowingly at the time did us all a musical favor,leaving Creed to allow Alter Bridge to come to fruition.Between Myles stellar voice and Marks amazing guitar we have all been given a musical gift. Your songs not only rock, but give us the listener something to think about.You guys inspire me and motivate me to do the next right thing! Thanks again.

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