I’ve had a mental weekend. There was pain, rain, a lot of mud and a crap-ton (that’s a precise unit of measurement, ask anyone) of great bands. I’ve hauled a load of stuff onto a bus and then a train before a glorious shower and dashing back into Glasgow to meet a man who I saw perform only the day before to thousands of people. Who? Mark Tremonti. Where? Download, of course!
However, on this night, fresh from the fields of Castle Donington, Mark Tremonti and his band are playing his only UK headline date (thus far) in support of new album, Cauterize. Given he tore apart the main stage the day before and he’s playing arguably the best venue Glasgow has to offer, this was going to be a good night.
Before Tremonti took their turn on stage, tonight’s opener Halo Tora showed their hometown what they have to offer. With a debut album due in September and a heavy sound, they were a perfect fit for Mark Tremonti’s more metal offerings in his solo efforts. I managed to witness the majority of their set and it was enough to form an opinion.
They cite their sound as “alt/post-rock”, whatever that is. Variation is good when the first track is different from the second which is also different from the third. But when you try to do that all in one song, sorry, but you’ve lost me. In one track, I could hear grunge, hard rock, thrash metal and prog. It could be I had been awake for forty hours at this point. It could just be the simple fact I was exicted to see Tremonti. That said, if Halo Tora are opening for another band I’m seeing, I’ll give them another shot. All bands deserve so.
After catching up with some people, old and new, including our photographer, Lara who provided the pictures of the night in question, it was time for Mark Tremonti and his band. With horns raised high, cheering and hands pounding together, it was nothing short of a warm welcome for the band.
Launching with “Brains” from 2012’s All I Was, we were eased in gently with a familiar tune alongside “All That I Got” and “You Waste Your Time”. Then it was into the deep end. With an album that’s only been out for a week, new songs like “Cauterize”, “Flying Monkeys” and “Another Heart” were met with equal vigour as older material like “Decay” and “The Things I’ve Seen”. However, the set was weighed heavily in favour of the debut album.
It was a short but brilliant set, bursting with enthusiasm from both the band and crowd. It showed how Mark Tremonti has grown as a frontman and vocalist. Chatting with the crowd, he was much more relaxed, leading them in a call and response for “Decay” and having the crowd in the palm of his hand as he declared Glasgow the highlight of the tour.
With his brothers in arms, Eric Friedman on guitar, Garrett Whitlock drumming and Tanner Keegan on bass duties (as Wolfgang Van Halen is touring with Van Halen), Tremonti has a solid band. Eric Friedman is as accomplished as Tremonti himself, taking the lead on some songs. It also speaks volumes about Mark Tremonti as a person; he doesn’t make the band and the music all about himself, even if people are there to see him.
Despite not featuring on either album, Keegan proved himself a capable bass player, working with some solid rhythms without seeming to challenge himself too much. If anything, I’d like to see what he could bring to the band in terms of his own work and style for new material.
Drummer Garrett Whitlock helps to flesh out the speed and thrash metal sound the band is striving for alongside the impressive solos of Mark Tremonti. Between Keegan and Whitlock, they lock in together to create a sturdy rhythm section. It’s not all speed and thrash though as there are more melodic moments with some songs from All I Was having a vibe of AB III radiating from them.
An early finish after the encore of “Wish You Well”, complete with an insane pit and it was back out into daylight. With the knowledge that Dust is due to come later this year with a full UK tour, perhaps we’ll been treated to a longer set with a nice balance of songs from all three albums.