GIG REVIEW: Alter Bridge & Like A Storm Live At The Eatons Hill Hotel, Brisbane
Rock is dead has long been a cry that has been used a lot lately. “Rock is unsustainable”, “Rock is dying”, “Rock won’t last” are all common phrases that I am certain you’ve all heard. Well regardless of your opinions on the genre I can tell you one thing following Monday night’s Alter Bridge show at Eatons Hill Hotel in Brisbane – and that is that anybody that thinks Rock is dead couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Opening the night were Like a Storm, who took the stage, well, like a storm (pun intended). From the opening of their set with frontman Chris Brooks playing the didgeridoo, the quartet absolutely blasted their way into the endearment of fans with their catchy hooks and shared vocal duties that flirted the border of somewhere between hard rock and alt-metal.
Perhaps one of the best assets of their show was the presence of the didgeridoo. Folk metal bands have always seamlessly found ways to incorporate obscure or rare instruments into their music to create a differing sound, but I’m still surprised that nobody has been able to incorporate this unique instrument into heavy rock like these guys (In fact the only band that I can think of which comes close is Yothu Yindi). The primal reverberations of the didgeridoo complement this sort of heavy music, and its introduction at the start made sure that the venue was paying attention to the band from the very beginning. While it was only used in small intervals with Brooks opting to play guitar for a majority of the set, it strangely worked wonders. Even the re-emergence of the didgeridoo during the song “I Love the Way You Hate Me”, did not feel out of place and further reinforced that it could be a viable instrument in more heavy bands than it appears in.
Their set was over as quick as it began and as the band climbing down to get a photo with the fans you got the sense from the crowd that if these guys came back to tour on their own, that they would probably have a decent crowd in attendance.
Like A Storm definitely hit the stage with the intensity you would expect from a top-tier headliner and after watching their performance it wasn’t difficul
While it might have taken three years for the band to return to Australia, the fans flocked to the front of stage the second that the lights dimmed. After emerging on stage to rapturous cheers and applause, the band bust straight into “The Writing on The Wall”, and never looked back for a second.
Before I dive too deep into the performance, I want to highlight that I have been an avid fan of Mark Tremonti’s since the late 90’s when as a kid I had heard Creed’s ‘Human Clay’ album for the first time. Following his musical journey has been an adventure which I dip in and out of in different phases, but I can honestly say that he is one of the best guitar players in the world and his performance in Brisbane (the first one I have seen in around seven years) reinforced this belief. There was just something about the flair in which he played live, whether it be a main riff, an intrinsic solo where he looked like he was forcing every ounce of energy into his fingers that screamed an energy which is unparalleled in a live or recorded setting. It seemed like most fans agreed with this sentiment as they often cheered each time he went into guitar God mode.
Myles Kennedy however was something else during this performance. The ease at which this man can carry his voice while also playing guitar, while also interacting with the crowd is simply astounding. There wasn’t a tremble in his voice and from the second that he appeared on stage he, rightly so, had the crowd within the palm of his hand.
This was always going to be a two person performance, with all eyes on Tremonti and Kennedy, but I must say that I did feel a bit bad for Brian Marshall. Playing Bass is always a thankless role, and unluckily for him the stage setup meant that his designated area was in the back left corner of stage behind Myles. The man did a great job of moving about and engaging the crowd pretty well (even throwing some of Tremonti’s picks out to fans), but I do feel for him. Even drummer Scott Phillips had a better view of the crowd with his drum throne resting atop a giant riser that sat firmly at the back of the stage.
In terms of song spread, the band struck an even chord between fan favourite album ‘Blackbird’, and their latest offering ‘The Last Hero’, and to a lesser extent ‘Fortress’, while managing to hit all the other albums as well. There really was something on offer for every fan of the band, as they ensured a mix of ballads and absolute belters were played.
Probably the only part of the night which felt lacking for me personally was the performance of Metalingus. While musically it sounded fine, I feel like Myles was a bit spent by this time, and without the guitar to aid him, his vocal delivery felt a tad lackluster (but hey, the band was 16 songs in by this point). In saying that, the crowd was more than accommodating as backup vocalists, and it was could have even been the intensity of the crowd’s vocals that might have distorted my perception of Myles’ performance.
As the lights came up at the end of their set, the crowd burst into the typical cheers and applause you would expect – but somehow it felt more compelling than normal and highlighted that Alter Bridge are one of the better bands doing the rounds at the moment. While it may have taken three years for them to return to Australia, bringing their headlining show to our country for the first time in many years; the turnout, and the performance proved to all the naysayers that rock isn’t dead. And as long as bands like Alter Bridge and Like A Storm perform the way they are, it isn’t going anywhere for some time yet.