As one of the busiest musicians in the world, Myles Kennedy has returned to the UK for another run of solo acoustic dates for the first half of this month before he flips it on its head and tours with a full band as Myles Kennedy and Co. As such, for a stripped-back acoustic gig, Edinburgh’s intimate Liquid Rooms is a perfect venue for Kennedy to take to the stage on his own.
First up, however, is Dorian Sorriaux. Looking more like an outlaw country star than his 60s vibe with Blues Pills, he takes to the stage, tunes his guitar and begins. What follows is something far different than his usual efforts. Blending Americana with acoustic folk, it’s a perfect fit for the main event. By the time the first song has finished, he’s got the crowd enraptured and they respond in kind with thunderous applause.
Sorriaux apologises for the wait between songs as each song is in a different tuning and also remarks that being the first night of the tour, he’s nervous, never playing to a crowd as big as the one assembled in the small club. “I’m used to playing for my friends and my mum,” he quips. Whilst the music may be different to his plugged-in blues, he still plays with the same level of virtuosity, the songs are haunting in places and it turns out, he’s been hiding a powerful voice all these years. By the time he reaches the end of his set, the applause is even louder as the packed room is ready for the main event.
The haunting intro to “Devil on the Wall” filters through the PA and Myles Kennedy appears with his guitar in hand to kick off his own set before launching into Apocalyptic Love’s “Standing in the Sun”. Just like last time, Kennedy explains how Mayfield Four’s “Mars Hotel” isn’t a very good song from a songwriting perspective and how he rushed it when usually he can take months to tweak lyrics to get them just right. Halfway through, he loses composure and laughs at the clichéd lyrics but you have to admit, it’s a great song. “Addicted to Pain” is given an outing before going back to the Slash material with “Starlight”. Kennedy explains that there’s no fancy stage tech like pyro or Stonehenge dropping from the ceiling but does use his steel resonator guitar against the lights to reflect back at the crowd the first time he straps it on as his “only prop”.
Kennedy’s recent solo album is given some time by adding in “Turning Stones” which had only been played on the US dates before “Blind Faith”. Then, the most surreal moment of the night comes. Kennedy asks who in the room likes Iron Maiden and a massive roar from the crowd is the answer. What follows is an acoustic rendition of Maiden’s best song (or as they named it, “The Trooper”) complete with the crowd joining in for all the “woah-oh” moments.
Much like last time, there’s a sense emanating from Kennedy that he’s enjoying the chance to revisit most corners of his extensive career and he’s thoroughly relishing in stripping the songs back and playing to an intimate crowd. He’s got the chance to use more humour than usual and as ever, whether it’s fronting Slash featuring himself and the Conspirators or Alter Bridge, he’s got the crowd under his command. Using his Logjam Stomper in lieu of a drumkit, it encourages the crowd to clap along at several points throughout the night and there’s an incredible atmosphere from start to finish.
The glaring omission from Year of the Tiger at Glasgow was “Songbird” and with its more optimistic tone, slots in nicely between “All Ends Well” and “Watch Over You”. The resonator guitar makes its return and with his slide in place, runs through a rendition of “Travellin’ Riverside Blues”. “World on Fire” with liberal use of slide is an excellent closer to the night and its slower pace makes the song about hedonistic lifestyles all that much darker.
The encore brings “Love Can Only Heal” before “Cry of Achilles”. The latter sees Tim Tournier (as he was introduced earlier in the night: “The man who takes care of the business and keeps my head straight”) re-join Kennedy onstage for one of Alter Bridge’s most complex songs before they rattle through the final song of the night – “Year of the Tiger”. As the crowd refuse to stop applauding until Kennedy is gone from the crowd’s sight, it’s another riveting night from one of rock’s hardest working musicians.
Photos by Exposing Shadows Photography