It wouldn’t be June without Tremonti paying a visit to Glasgow (last year being the exception). There’s already a queue snaking round the venue when I get there and despite the intense heat of the evening, it doesn’t deter people from getting out their black t-shirts. Nicely, before the door opened, one of the security staff was handing out cups of water to keep people hydrated.
With A Dying Machine now out and Dust not been given much of a live outing due to its release shortly before Mark Tremonti returned to Alter Bridge, there’s another two albums worth of material for his self-titled band to work with. Opening proceedings are local favourites Anchor Lane. Clearly having the time of their lives and taking full advantage of the bigger stage, it’s proof that hard work pays off. Having had an incredible few weeks from selling out their home town, packing out the Dogtooth stage at Download and a venture to the Isle of Wight festival, this is just another of their well-earned achievements.
The modern hard rock lads batter through their set and from start to finish, they’ve got the crowd in the palm of their hand. With songs like “Eclipse” and “Rising Up” going down just as well as the newer songs of “Flatline” and “Found Out”. The latter is a monster of a song and ridiculously catchy. As ever, they’re tight and full of energy, a perfect representative of Glasgow’s best. As vocalist/guitarist Conor Gaffney make the “sales pitch” of social media/mailing lists and where to find their music, he asks for a round of applause for all the services who helped tackle the blaze of the Art School a few weeks ago. Perfectly warming up the crowd, the finale of “Finished for Twelve” goes down excellently and the entire set is a prime example of how they never fail to deliver.
The Fallen State take to the stage next and up the ante from Anchor Lane in terms of heaviness. With this being their first time in Glasgow, they’re excited and deliver the usual “We’ve heard so much about Glasgow crowds” lines. They bridge the gap excellently between the openers and Tremonti by adding in their own solid dose of melody. High-charged, the band are out to impress. The five-piece are as well-put together as they were at Wildfire last year but they have to work for the polite crowd. Sure enough, by the end, there’s a warmer reception than there was at the start and it’s undeniable that they put in a lot of effort to get the crowd going.
Tremonti take to the stage and waste no time in taking no prisoners with the opening assault of “Cauterize” and “Another Heart” before going all the way back to the debut album with “You Waste Your Time” and “All I Was” before finally delving into the new material. “As the Silence Becomes Me” leads the charge before “My Last Mistake” from Dust and then going back to “Take You With Me”.
Largely, this is how the rest of the set follows. The loudest cheers of the night are garnered from the All I Was material alongside the other Cauterize songs like “Flying Monkeys”, “Another Heart” and “Radical Change”. There’s also some canny choices with the A Dying Machine material, grabbing the strongest tracks from an album which was a bit of a mixed bag alongside only using a couple from Dust which stands to reason given how weak it was compared to its sister album Cauterize. As setlists go, it’s a very safe one but it’s also a case of picking the cream of the crop.
As they’ve been on the road for the past few weeks, the band are a well-oiled machine and despite the shaky acoustics (a norm for the Academy), everything is well-mixed. Meanwhile, Mark Tremonti himself is far more comfortable fronting his band than ever before, the difference from the first album to now is night and day. Naturally there’s a lot of attention on him but he’s more than happy to share the limelight as Eric Friedman delivers some effortless guitar solos. Elsewhere, bassist Tanner Keegan and drummer Garrett Whitlock also share a jam to showcase their own talents as they do throughout the night.
Foregoing the encore (as is the norm for Tremonti), the set ends with “Wish You Well”. Throughout the night, the man himself has taken time to lament the suspension of gigs at the O2 ABC (where this was originally meant to be held) due to the Art School fire with “Dust” dedicated to it. Whilst the band were, as always, on form, with the safe setlist and A Dying Machine’s songs not quite hitting the mark, it’s not their finest performance to date but it’s an enjoyable one nonetheless.
Photos by Exposing Shadows Photography