@ Newcastle O2 Academy, October 17 2010

Slaves To Gravity open for Alter Bridge and provide the rousing crowd with a warm-up reminiscent of a shot of whiskey on a Saturday night.

Tommy Gleeson, ever the charismatic front man, wooed the crowd as he strutted his stuff and belted out dirty rock vocals in front of Toshi and Mark who performed as if their lives depended on delivering pure, aural perfection.

Ex-Pitchshifter drummer, Jason Bowld, has found his place in the band and claims full responsibility for kicking out metal like it’s going out of fashion.  The audience erupted for perfectly executed tracks Heaven Is A Lie and Mr Regulator, from their debut album Scatter The Crow. And the animated crowd had further reason to cheer with Honesty, the band’s latest tune: as rock sets go this was about as honest and sincere as they come.

And so to the headliners. In all honesty the latest Alter Bridge album has not quite rocked as it should – maybe it’s the concept album feel to it or maybe it just needs another listen.

It was a worry when it came to the live package but any concerns were swiftly dispelled.

The audience was rowdy, raucous and crammed in like sardines: for those looking to be blown away, Alter Bridge provided the hard rock explosion.  The band opened with an electro-themed intro not far removed from Nine Inch Nails’ signature sound –  but then Myles Kennedy blasts up onto the stage and this guy was born to perform.

His vocal range is proven instantly with hits from the Blackbird album, Buried Alive and Rise Today, showcasing him as the extremely talented and versatile vocalist feted by guitar hero Slash.

New track All Hope Is Gone, from the ABIII album, is melodic, heavy and almost acoustic sounding – offering a stark contrast to Isolation with its dark and aggressive bite, chunky bass lines and sing-along hooks.

Mark Tremonti played with passion and the fret board frenzy the band’s fans have come to expect.  The axe slinger and Kennedy boast obvious chemistry and the Tyneside crowd seem more than impressed with the evolution of a multi-million selling band.  Dynamic and bold, they’ve finally shaken the Creed-influenced mantle of a middle of the road modern rock outfit. These guys have moved into the big leagues.

Louisa Kouzapas

Pic courtesy of Dave Masters