Alter Bridge / Black Stone Cherry / Theory of a Deadman – Glasgow SECC

Theory of a Deadman
Image by Iain Purdie via Flickr

What a line-up. Three cracking bands on one ticket, only a shame that it meant an early door-time and that we missed the first half of Theory of a Deadman. What little we caught – about five or six songs – was good stuff. I enjoyed it enough to want to get tickets for their upcoming headlining show in February anyway.

After a very brief set change, Black Stone Cherry arrived to huge applause and played their way through an excellent set. Their blues-influenced rock works well on CD and is just as catchy and enjoyable live, especially coming from a band with so much charisma. I’ve never even seen pictures of the band, and they really weren’t what any of us were expecting. The guitarist and bassist look like they walked right out of recording the next Status Quo album, the drummer could pass for The Muppets‘ Animal and lead singer Chris Roberston looks like a chunky sociology teacher.

Appearances are nothing to go by and Robertson has an incredible, and fairly unique, voice. You hear him sing and you know it’s BSC you’re listening to. For a band in a support slot they owned the stage as well as any headliner, playing tracks from all three of their albums. I would say there was a toal of about one-and-a-half songs which involved the crowd taking over vocal duties. Again, not something any old support act could get away with.

Black Stone Cherry
Image by Iain Purdie via Flickr

For a second time that night, I found myself looking forward to seeing an act live again – this time on their March tour.

A credit to the engineers and crew saw Alter Bridge themselves take to the stage after another remarkably short delay to begin their hour-and-45-minute set. They ploughed through the opening four songs without so much as a pause for breath, covering both old and new material. The band is very much Myles Kennedy‘s baby, but the rest of the band put in every bit as much as the lead.

It was, however, Myles’ birthday and he got the rousing chorus you’d expect from the crowd.

The set covered all aspects of the band’s three albums, from the heavier rock to the solo, acoustic ballads. Note perfect for the duration, there’s no doubting their abilities as performers but I would have to give them one piece of advice – drop the wanky alternating guitar solo crap. It went on for far too long and we could have had at least one, possibly two more songs in the time it ran on for.

Alter Bridge
Image by Iain Purdie via Flickr

Whinge over, another exhilarating performance from a top notch quartet which rounded off a superb evening of music. The three bands fit together well musically, in my ears. If you like one of the groups then the others are definitely at least worth having a listen to.

As I said earlier, the two supports have sold themselves a few more gig tickets by virtue of their performances. I can’t wait!

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Alter Bridge / Bowling For Soup

Alter Bridge - Glasgow 5
Alter Bridge – Glasgow

I’m a little short on time so I’m just going to cram these two reviews into the same blog post.

Alter Bridge – Glasgow O2 Academy, 16th Oct 2010

I just caught the tail end of Slaves To Gravity when I arrived and they had the crowd going, and seemed OK. The venue was pretty much packed, no surprise with it being a sell-out, but there was still a lot of room to walk around and find a good position.

The headliners hit the stage around 9:30 for a 90 minute set. They’re not a glamorous, special effects-heavy band instead relying on belting out some good songs to keep the crowd happy. The set list was quite heavy on new material from the album ABIII which had only been out for about a week at the time of the gig. Lunacy on the part of the record company, but – as Myles Kennedy stated towards the end – the crowd reacted well and enjoyed it nonetheless.

Of course, the most pleasing reaction was for the better known material and there was plenty of it. If I had to pick three highlights, they’d be Blackbird“, “Ties That Bind” and the acoustic version of “Watch Over You“. The latter raised the hairs on the back of my neck, just like the first time I heard Linkin Park‘s Chester Bennington singing “Pushing Me Away” accompanied only by keyboards.

However, it did raise one issue I’ve had with the O2 cademy before – the acoustic track was the only one where I could easily make out the vocals. Machine Head suffered the same issue a few months ago.

It’s not that the sound’s too loud – the bass, drums and guitar solos were all clear. For some reason, though, the vocals had been set at a level around the same as the music and so became buried. A hell of a shame as Kennedy’s got a great voice and part of the appeal of Alter Bridge are the excellent lyrics.

Not the band’s fault, I suppose, and it only took the gloss off an excellent performance. The new album is easily on a par with the first two, as well.

Bowling For Soup – Glasgow O2 Academy, 17th Oct 2010

Bowling For Soup - Glasgow 3
Bowling For Soup – Glasgow

Next night, same venue, different band! I was too late to see the Dollyrots, and only caught the end of Forever The Sickest Kids‘ set, which is a shame as they seemed to have got the crowd jumping. “A” followed and had about 25 fans. They’re not bad… but that’s about it.

On a night when Guns ‘n’ Roses were keeping fans waiting 85 minutes longer than they should before coming on stage in Birmingham, Bowling For Soup bounded on a little after 21:30 and launched into a great set.

Silly backdrops, music videos, jokes, banter with the crowd, improvisation… never a dull moment. Hell, they even took a photo-op break mid-song at one point. Standing and posing at each end and the centre of the stage before continuing where they left off.

Mexican waves were done. A death/thrash metal band called Haggis Farts were formed on stage, a song written, and the band broken up… all within five crazy minutes. The crowd were encourage to chant that the bassist, Eric, liked penis… and then chastised and told to chant that they were sorry. Which they did.

Bowling For Soup are all about having fun and not taking life too seriously. I don’t think I’ve seen a crowd grin throughout a show the way the mob did tonight. OK, except for the last time I saw Lawnmower Deth – and that’s a hell of a long time ago.

The other point of note is that the sound was a hell of a lot better than for Alter Bridge. I could make out Jaret’s vocals far more clearly than Myles’ the night before. Still, it could have been better. Maybe it’s the sound system there.

BFS were great fun and picked a nice selection of tracks for the set, including a novel cover of the utterly awful “That’s Not My Name”. I would definitely recommend them to anyone with a sense of humour and can’t wait for them to come round again.

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