Feature: Why Alter Bridge Should Be One of the Biggest Bands in America
Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:19:48
Alter Bridge deserves to be one of the biggest bands in North America.
Typically by a fourth album and a decade together, an average hard rock group’s popularity will wane significantly. Just the opposite has happened in the case of Alter Bridge—and rightfully so. 2013’s Fortress has only fortified and expanded Alter Bridge Nation, leaving last night’s second tour show in Houston completely sold out. You could barely move within the venue.
It didn’t feel like the House of Blues though. Myles Kennedy, Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall, and Scott Phillips made it feel as if they were back in front of the packed house at Wembley Arena. That’s one of many reasons the band warrant massive recognition and super stardom over here.
“Addicted to Pain” ignited the onslaught with Tremonti’s precision shredding and riffing and Kennedy’s distinct wail. All four members captured the exact bombast of the recorded material, while infusing an extra kick live, impressively. "Find the Real" teetered between a shuddering pinch harmonic and a pounding rhythm. In the middle of "Come to Life", the sound subsided momentarily from the stage as the entire crowd sang on cue, “Don’t forget we’re here to stay”. The line held seriously weight as Alter Bridge have been through it all from multiple label changes and the proverbial "starting over" after Creed, and they’re still trudging along stronger than ever.
Kennedy smiled, "This is a real treat for us. We’ve all sold this out together, apparently. That’s good to see in the U.S. of A, rock ‘n’ roll alive and well".
That’s the point most people are missing though. The band gets it as do the countless rock fans out there. There’s a need for Alter Bridge.
In a day and age where fashion, social media, and culture subsume the actual music, it’s invigorating to watch an outfit like Alter Bridge thrive stateside. Coachella’s about being noticed for something other than music, as are most festivals in North America. It’s a party culture, and it doesn’t matter if you can rip like these guys. However, it should matter. It did in the seventies, eighties, and nineties.
Moreover, the rock market has become strictly "heritage", whether it’s Jane's Addiction and Alice in Chains touring together or any other classic pairing, Alter Bridge only has ten years under its belt as a brand. Their contemporaries often boast many more.
This quartet could lead a new guard. Keep in mind these guys sold out Wembley in the UK and will be a main stage act at Download. They’re gods over in the UK and they are here too, but more Americans need to recognize that fact too.
Speaking of divine, "Cry of Achilles" bobbed from a tribal drum beat by Phillips as Kennedy finger-picked the charging clean intro before Tremonti engaged full-on six-string destruction. "Brand New Start" sounded stadium-ready with Kennedy’s voice soaring all the way back to his native Washington from Texas. "Ties That Bind" remained just hypnotically heavy, while Tremonti took the mic for the apocalyptic "Waters Rising", another Fortress standout.
"Isolation" shook the venue with a flawless delivery and unanimous sing-a-long, and Kennedy conducted the audience during a bruising "White Knuckles" that left everybody gut-punched and begging for more. "Metalingus" saw Kennedy belt out a seismic refrain as Tremonti’s laser-like fretwork practically melted his guitar neck.
An emotional highpoint came during their very own "Stairway to Heaven", "Blackbird". The slow simmering build eventually took flight into an earth-shattering refrain wrapped in more guitar fireworks. Everybody sang each word, practically humming the chord changes as well. Kennedy took to the stage with just an acoustic guitar for the poignant ballad "Watch Over You", while "Open Your Eyes" had everybody watching.
The members took a short reprieve before returning with the dark falsetto of Fortress’s "Calm the Fire", which burned right into more elegantly tight soloing from Tremonti. Speaking of soloing, Kennedy and Tremonti both practically tore a hole in the sky from all of the fast shredding leading into "Rise Today", giving a fitting conclusion to a robust instrumental showing the entire night.
Given all of this, Alter Bridge deserve to be owning arenas across the United States. Their trajectory hints at it too. Fortress remains a genuine artistic milestone and a crucial rock record. It’s time for a revolution over here. It’s time for Alter Bridge to rule...
Do you agree? Do Alter Bridge deserve to be one of the biggest bands in America?
See our "Top 10 Alter Bridge Songs" feature here!