Six months after Tremonti’s guerrilla UK shows of Download and Glasgow, Mark Tremonti is back with his band in a full run of the UK and Europe. As with his previous tours, Scotland is represented, this time heading to the other side; Edinburgh.
Arriving just after 19:00, I thought I’d get straight in or have a short wait. An hour later I was finally in the venue but only after going through the most rigorous pat-down I’ve been subjected to. Almost to the point if it got more extensive, I’d have been asking the gentleman to buy me a drink first.
Because of this, I missed opening band The Raven Age but checking out a couple of songs on YouTube, they seem like a good fit for Tremonti, full of chunky, crunching riffs with distortion added in for good measure. However, I did manage to catch most of Man the Mighty. By the time I had seen three songs and the band asked if it was ok to do a few more, I had seen enough. They weren’t bad by any stretch, I saw what they were offering and it simply wasn’t for me. Although they did announce who they were a couple of times, I had to use the power of the internet to find their name as the vocals weren’t present enough in the mix. Admittedly, they got a warm reception from the crowd and some people seemed to be genuine fans but as I said, it wasn’t for me. I can’t fault the band’s performance; it was technically flawless besides the dodgy vocal levels.
Gracing the stage, Tremonti launch into the latest album’s title track, “Cauterize”. I’m well-versed in the latest album but the wall of sound assaulting the Liquid Room made the song’s intro unrecognisable. Thankfully by the time the main man’s gut-punching vocals kicked in, the sound blip dissipated and all was well for the rest of the night. Deftly balancing the night’s songs between first album All I Was and Cauterize, everything received a warm reception. Yet there were subtle differences depending on the album. The material from All I Was got the standard roars of approval as any old favourites would do. When it came to Cauterize, oddly enough it matched the album itself. It was more fervent, urgent. Some of these songs hadn’t been played during the Glasgow show and Mark Tremonti himself acknowledged “Sympathy” had only started being played during this tour.
With more of a focus on Cauterize as opposed to Glasgow which put those songs on the backburner, we were treated to heavyweights like “Dark Trip”, “New Way Out”, “Providence” and “Radical Change”. Its songs like this alongside the afore-mentioned “Cauterize” and “Sympathy” which underline how much of a step up the new material is on the older songs. Thrashier with more speed influences, Mark Tremonti is clearly having the time playing the new material. Although its clear to see he’s enjoying the sheer fact of getting to flex his guitar muscles and play much heavier material than usual with Alter Bridge. Even though he’s used to playing arenas, he’s obviously not fazed, relishing the idea of playing in a small, sweaty club show. Because let’s be honest, they’re the best live environment.
I had a feeling we’d be given a teaser of material from Dust but it wasn’t to be and I’m happy enough with waiting for the new album in the New Year. Even in the last six months since seeing Tremonti, it’s obvious to see the extensive touring they’ve done has tightened their already amazing live offerings. Eric Friedman is an exceptional guitarist, taking the lead in certain moments and during his quick guitar duel with Mark, impressing the crowd and Tremonti himself couldn’t hide it. Tanner Keegan may be providing bass lines which were composed by other people (Friedman and Wolfgang Van Halen) but he handles it with ease, showing off his own skills into the bargain. He fits in well with the band and I’d be interested in hearing what he could provide himself. Sadly due to my position, I couldn’t see much of drummer Garrett Whitlock but I could certainly hear it. Bashing his kit into submission, it often had the crowd headbanging in perfect sync.
With the fan-favourite “Decay” getting another outing, the end was on the horizon and with only a couple of songs left before closer “Wish You Well” opened a sizeable pit, it was over for another night and ignored the pretence of an encore. Given an uncharacteristically warm welcome from Edinburgh and a new album next year, I don’t think it will be long before Tremonti are back in the UK tearing it apart once again.