Tremonti Live Gig Review Glasgow
Tremonti Live Gig Review
June 13, 2016
O2 ABC Glasgow
By ~MaggieUk @FullMetalRock
Exactly one year ago since Tremonti took to the stage at the O2 ABC Glasgow supporting the “Cauterize” album, the Orlando based hard rock band returned to deliver more of their unique style of music from the companion album “Dust”. A daring decision to record two albums simultaneously and release them a year apart has given the band not only an additional catalogue of music for their sets, but an exponential build up of interest that has had fans clambering for tickets, merchandise and more.
Since the release of “All I Was” in 2012, the fan base for Mark Tremonti’s solo project has been growing fast. Since the 2014 announcement of the Listening Party in Orlando, Tremonti has established a level of momentum that is unprecedented. The band has managed to not only maintain a demand for their music but sustain a level of anticipation and excitement from before the “Cauterize” tour and beyond the release of “Dust” in late April, 2016.
Supporting the “Dust” album, Tremonti has been touring European festivals and interspersing headline gigs wherever possible, including Download Festival on June 12 and a headline gig in Glasgow on June 13 (a repeat of last summer, with the addition of a first ever date in Belfast, Northern Ireland). The excitement for the Glasgow gig was absolutely electric, as fans queued up early for that all important barrier position.
For the first time, Full Metal Rock was given backstage access, and the perspective this allowed was incredible. A sea of Tremonti shirts was ebbing forward towards the stage, like the calm before a massive storm. Tremonti fans know how to bring the energy, and there was about to be a storm surge indoors. Having only ever experienced gigs from the audience, knowing the set list made me feel a little like having inside information as to who was going to win the European football championship. Like knowing every member of the audience was about to win the lottery!
Tremonti took the stage to deafening cheers from the crowd, and opened with Another Heart, a regular song on their set list since the first public performance of “Cauterize” songs on ShipRocked 2015. Starting heavy, with an emphatic rhythm, the crowd needed no encouragement to start head banging from the first notes, and sing along spontaneously. A real sight to see! The facial expressions ranged from completely mesmerized, to hypnotized, to pure euphoric. With the musicians they are watching, it is no wonder. Each of them are as exciting to watch as the next, and at times it can be difficult to choose where to focus your attention.
Eric Friedman (rhythm guitar, vocals) is an absolute artist. His free flowing style of playing shows him channeling energy from the ends of his fingers to his toes. He epitomizes artistry and makes you want to break out your air guitar and play along. Tanner Keegan (touring bassist) has a real funk/soul groove with the moves to prove it, and has been an exceptional addition to the band since they started touring with “Cauterize”. The combination of Friedman and Keegan has been a huge success both musically and performance-wise. Everything about this band has balance, and offers something completely unique to themselves. A balance of power and melody, of speed metal and three part harmonies, of thrash and subdued vocals. These combinations, and the skill of those delivering it, make this band an iconic force to be reckoned with.
Although I can honestly say that there isn’t a Tremonti song that I don’t like (double negative I know!), this set list made me feel like all my birthdays had come at once. After the title track from “Cauterize”, the band delivered a blistering version of You Waste Your Time, my favorite song from their debut album, “All I Was”, followed by my favorite “Cauterize” track, Flying Monkeys, another heavy, monster of a song.
Catching a quick breather, Garret Whitlock (drums), stood and shouted some expletives to the crowd, which was greeted with whistles and cheers. A real character, Whitlock is loved as much for his personality as for his skills as a drummer. Standing within feet of his drum set, I was able to gain an even greater appreciation for what is involved in each of the Tremonti songs. Whitlock’s ability to play with finesse when it’s called for and to, as he puts it, “hit shit hard”, and everything in between, is most impressive. He immerses himself completely when he plays, and the syncopated and complicated rhythms he delivers are so exciting to watch!
When Mark Tremonti (lead guitar, vocals) introduced the next song, he asked the crowd if they knew the name of the latest album, to which everyone screamed “Dust!” leaving no doubt of the popularity of the latest release. The new songs, being heard live for the first time in Europe this month, have been received extremely well by fans and critics alike. To look at peoples faces as they sang along to Catching Fire, it is obvious that this band’s music reaches the very core of their fans. Now, as for Mark, not only is he the obvious initial draw for the band, with his experience and history, he is a real guitar hero for many. Having watched him with the artist session, and the sound check, and the meet and greet, and his genuine desire to allow his fans as much time as possible to meet him and take photographs and so on… and then having watched him up close, performing for those fans… this man is not a star, not a hero, he is a true musician. It oozes out of him like most people sweat through their pores. Everything is about the music. And there is no bigger proof than watching him play.
From his Creed days, I have always liked his voice. Hearing him develop it with Alter Bridge, I was ecstatic when he’d started his solo project. From then until now, his voice has been improving to the point that fans are asking if he will do more singing on the next Alter Bridge album. Frankly, I am more than happy if he keeps his lead singing to Tremonti, because it’s a different style, a rawer energy, a different sound. What boggles my mind is how he didn’t make the move to be a front man sooner. Now that he has, there is no looking back!
The set list was surprising, in that the songs were evenly distributed between the albums, where usually the newest album gets the majority of play. This showed that the older songs are as popular now as they were in 2012, if not more, and also that Tremonti have confidence in the strength of both parts of the double album to enable them an equal share in the set list. The middle of the set had the only concentration of songs from “Dust”. Betray Me, Once Dead, and the title track where at the heart of the order. Betray Me and Once Dead complimented each other brilliantly, providing the fans with some of the fastest guitar work and rhythms; while Dust slowed the tempo right down, giving the fans who had never experienced Tremonti to catch their breath!
Choosing to play through, rather than stop for an encore, was well received by the fans, who just couldn’t seem to get enough. The set came to an end with a song from each album. Sympathy, a song that starts upbeat and seams to build with each measure, has some of the most powerful vocals. Whatever voices the fans had left were pushed to their limits as they tried to match the vocals note for note! My Last Mistake, the opening track from “Dust”, gave the crowd that now trademark combination of speed metal, guitar shredding and powerful vocals; a wicked song and I was so glad it made the set list! To end, the tempo was ramped up another notch for the much loved “Wish You Well”, with an outstanding performance from each band member: the powerful triple bass drum with an insane snare rhythm, the face melting guitar solo… there wasn’t a dry shirt in the house!
There just aren’t words to describe what it’s like to see a set from back stage. Looking out on to what Tremonti must experience in city after city… it is certainly the fuel that the band feed off. The electricity is contagious, and the passion the fans feel from the music is given back to the band tenfold when they’re on stage. If you were there, you know the energy I mean. If you haven’t been to their gigs before, you need to catch them, even if you have to drive five hours to do so, as I did! Being at a Tremonti gig is not an experience, it is a phenomenon!
Mark Tremonti – lead vocals, lead guitar
Eric Friedman – guitar, backing vocals
Wolfgang Van Halen – bass, backing vocals
Garrett Whitlock – drums
(Touring bassist is Tanner Keegan)
You Waste Your Time
The Things I’ve Seen
My Last Mistake
Wish You Well
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