There was a buzz in the crowd. It’s Metropolis, so that’s nothing new, but in this case it was palpable. Thirteen years after being born from the ashes of Creed, after criss-crossing the globe countless times, this was the very first time Alter Bridge treated their Montreal fans to a headlining show. They stopped by here to give fans a taste at least year’s Heavy Montreal, and I guess they finally realized that Montreal rocks!
Well, after waiting all those years, what’s waiting through two opening sets, right? First up was the awkwardly named Weapons of Anew. Seriously though, it’s a bad name. It’s also ironic since they’re a group of older guys playing crotch rock that comes straight out of the eighties.
Next up was the also awkwardly named Nonpoint. Why would you name your band a negative version onpoint? Or a synonym of pointless? Well, these twenty year veterans did nonetheless have a decent following. Their sound was a relic of 90s nu-metal, to be filed right next to Powerman 5000, but did get the crowd jumping. Their cover of the Phil Collins classic “In the Air Tonight” was a standout, although messing up the drums on that track is a musical sin.
Finally Myles Kennedy and company were ready to hit the stage, opening up with hard rocking “The Writing on the Wall” and “Come to Life.” There was an immediate connection between the band and the crowd. Kennedy is understated but powerful. He engages the crowd without being boisterous. His presence, like his voice reminds me of Geoff Tate in the golden days of Queensryche.
Their set was high octane and a great balance between all their albums, which is considerate to a crowd that you never treated to your old material. The fan favorites were all covered. Mid set highlights included “Addicted to Pain” and “Cry of Achilles” and “Waters Rising.” It was a no nonsense, straight rock set, not much for chatting. They moved from song to song with consistent intensity.
Nearing the end of the first set, things got upped a notch. The crowd chanted with every word to “Blackbird,” a more vulnerable moment in the set. It was an emotional juggernaut. They wasted no time following it up with “Metalingus” and its anthemic chorus. This was the wildest and loudest the crowd got all night.
There was a very short pause before the encore. The band came back out with “Show Me a Leader”, the lead single from their latest album The Last Hero. Kennedy and lead guitarist Mike Tremonti then proceeded to give the crowd a dueling banjos style series of solos. This, honestly, could’ve done better. They are obviously much better with thick chunky riffs than they are with shredding. “Rise Today” signalled the end of the evening with a huge ovation from a very appreciative crowd.
I’m not sure what took Alter Bridge so long to come to Montreal, but if the crowd’s reaction to this show is a factor, it won’t take them over a decade to come back.
Review – Richard Brunette
Photos – Steve Gerrard