Concert Review: Alter Bridge at The Tabernacle (Jan. 22, 2017)

Alter Bridge’s The Last Hero tour made a stop in Atlanta, Georgia, this past Sunday. Coincidentally, this was the same night as the NFC Championship game. The Atlanta Falcons rose up in the Georgia Dome; Alter Bridge brought down The Tabernacle.

With an audience that consisted of many exhilarated Falcons fans, the atmosphere was electric. Monster Truck, who opened for Alter Bridge the last time they played The Tabernacle, was definitely on point. Energetic and insanely talented, these Canada natives set the bar high. They exited the stage and the room was literally buzzing with adrenaline and excitement.

When the lights dimmed, the roar of the crowd was astounding. Tension mounted with each passing second and then, Alter Bridge stepped into view: vocalist/guitarist Myles Kennedy, drummer Scott Phillips, bassist Brian Marshall, and guitarist Mark Tremonti. Before the noise had even begun to die down, the band ripped into the second track from The Last Hero, “Writing on the Wall.”

Each song was met with enthusiasm from a mass of fans who clearly adored Alter Bridge. The setlist included such songs as “Come to Life,” “Addicted to Pain,” “Blackbird,” and “Isolation.” They played my personal favorites, “Waters Rising” and “Watch Over You.” As an added bonus, they performed “The Last Hero” for the first time stateside.

The set ended with “Open Your Eyes” and the accompanying sing-along. This was followed by a marriage proposal (she said yes), and after congratulating the happy couple, Myles picked out the intro to “Show Me a Leader.” The final song of the evening was none other than “Rise Today.”

I have now seen Alter Bridge four times, and I can honestly say they get better with each show. Maybe it was the fans sharing the experience with me, maybe it was the fact that the music was so wonderful and my heart was filled with total joy, but this was one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended.

Of course, I close this review with my own personal story from the show. My brother and I once again circled the venue and waited by the buses. I can’t explain it; however, I knew this was the night I would finally meet Myles Kennedy.

And I did.

Myles was the first member of Alter Bridge to emerge from The Tabernacle. He came straight over to where I was standing, signed the band itinerary a security guard had given me, and posed for a picture. He hugged me and thanked us for being there before moving away to talk to the others gathered around us.

Mark was the next one out. I introduced myself this time, which made him chuckle. We then spoke to Brian and last, but certainly not least, Scott (who brought up college football in response to my Alabama Crimson Tide jacket).

I cannot stress enough how exceptional these four men are. Not only are they brilliant musicians, they are kind and sweet and appreciate their fans. I will never stop encouraging others to listen to them and, if possible, to go to an Alter Bridge concert. There is no way you will be disappointed.

Here are two of my favorite pictures from the night. The rest can be found HERE.

Alter Bridge in Atlanta (Photos)

Song of the Week: “Bounce”

Since I’m going to see them tomorrow, I decided to honor Almost Kings in this post. Although, actually, I don’t need an excuse to honor them…I love them so much that their songs are pretty much always a top pick ❤

Almost Kings — “Bounce,” from the album Filthy Nice (2009).

Song of the Week: “Alabama Love”

There are two main reasons this is my choice for song of the week, besides the fact that I just love it and despite the fact that it’s four years old.

First, the Velcro Pygmies were mentioned on “College Gameday” two weeks ago, right before the Alabama/Mississippi State game.

Second, the Iron Bowl was this weekend. The Alabama Crimson Tide brought home the victory, and they are now on their way to the SEC Championship game and potentially, another national title shot. So I thought this track, which is dedicated to the Tide, would be perfect. ❤

Velcro Pygmies – “Alabama Love” (2010).

Artist to Watch: Jude Buckingham

Artist: Jude Buckingham
Genre: Rap
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan

I first met Jude in May at one of Almost Kings’ hometown shows. That night, he joined the Atlanta natives onstage for a cover of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.” He joined them on the road following that night, and I have had the pleasure of watching him perform multiple times in the months since. I decided to check out his solo work and was quickly convinced I needed to spread the word about him.

Not being overly familiar with rap as a whole, and therefore unsure how exactly to describe what I was hearing, I asked for others’ input on Jude as an artist. Bryan Bozeman, vocalist for Almost Kings, had this to say:

“He has that Detroit grime with deeper meaning…”

And Adam Palka, a producer who has worked with Jude extensively, offered this description of his music:

“As far as I can describe, Jude has the kind of style that no matter what song you’re listening to, you’ll always have your head bobbing. He’s got a deep lyrical flow that can appeal to people that are looking for genuine hip hop. The kind of stuff that reminds you of hip hop back in the day, but also has a new style to it. Every song he makes is something new and he’s always trying to push the envelope further. Real hip hop fans love his music because they know he’s got a lot of talent and always delivers on every track…”

Neither Boze nor Adam were fully willing to compare Jude to any current rap/hip-hop artist, though when pushed, Boze answered with Eminem. It is easy to understand why that parallel was drawn; it has been repeatedly emphasized that Eminem raps about things that are relevant and real, things that the average person can easily relate to.

That was the thing I immediately zeroed in on when listening to Jude–the fact that his lyrical content had that same kind of meaning. He writes about everyday subjects that have or will affect most people at some point in their lives. Take this excerpt from the track “My Mind” as an example.

“…Yeah, dig deep within yourself, I know what you’ll find/It’s not what you have, but what you leave behind/A memory, a chain of events/So where you stand, which side of the fence?/You wanna make an impact on your people?/Then do it now, your life has no sequel…”

For a better grasp of what Jude is all about, I did a very brief interview with him.

Me: When did you first know that you wanted to be a rapper? I mean…who or what did you see/hear that made you say to yourself “I want to do that”?

Jude: I learned early that writing was something I was passionate about, around 10 or 11 years old. I wrote poems, entered contests and things like that. My brother put me on to music early as well, Nirvana, The Offspring, Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, Dr. Dre, etc. I grew up well rounded in different genres and different styles. In high school one of my closest friends began to rap quite a bit. He was extremely talented, and pushed me to really focus on hip hop and that writing process.

Me: Who are your biggest influences?

J: My influences come from people in my life and my experiences. Being able to express my opinion the way I’d like to. As far as artists go, Eminem has always been an influence. I’m fortunate enough to have a mentor who is, in my opinion, one of the best to ever do it, Boze [Almost Kings]. One of the most underrated artists, the guy is a machine. His work ethic and skill in his craft are unbelievable. The experience I get from working with him on a daily basis is priceless, couldn’t ask for better.

Me: From where do you draw most of your inspiration for lyrics?

J: Inspiration for lyrics come from my day to day life. The people around me. My ups and downs. Music for me is my outlet. I can express any emotion, any way I choose. It’s truly a blessing to have this outlet.

Me:
What do you hope to do with your music? (Be a millionaire, help people, etc.?)

J: With my music I truly hope to inspire people. Help people get through things. Of course the normal rapper answer is “I want to make a ton of money” and all that, but money to me isn’t important. It comes and goes. I have the ability to live forever by giving people a piece of me in the studio. That’s something money can’t buy.

I fully encourage you to head on over to YouTube and listen to these tracks.

My Mind
Your Fault
What You Got? (ft. Ryan Mac and Swainoh the Kidd)

If you like what you hear–and you will–go to iTunes and buy his EP! I was given the opportunity for a sneak peek into what’s next for Jude and I’ve gotta tell you…he’s only getting better.

News: Almost Kings

I was fortunate enough to see Almost Kings on both September 26th and 27th. Needless to say, those Atlanta natives killed it and I still haven’t come down from that concert high. I have pictures to share, of course, but first, I have some very important, very exciting, news:

For anyone following this blog who has had your interest piqued by my constant posts about Almost Kings, it is possible you will get your chance to see them soon. The band is joining Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (among others) for the Monster Energy Get Loud Tour. Below are a list of dates and cities.

Nov 5: Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave / Eagles Club
Nov 6: Chicago, IL @ Portage Theater (SOLD OUT)
Nov 7: East St. Louis, IL @ Pop’s Concert Venue
Nov 9: St. Paul, MN @ Myth
Nov 13: Grand Rapids, MI @ The Intersection
Nov 14: Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theatre
Nov 15: Cleveland, OH @ Cleveland Agora
Nov 19: San Diego, CA @ House of Blues San Diego
Nov 20: Los Angeles, CA @ House of Blues Sunset Strip
Nov 21: Riverside, CA @ Riverside Municipal Auditorium
Nov 22: Phoenix, AZ @ Celebrity Theatre
Nov 25: Dallas, TX @ Trees Dallas
Nov 26: Laredo, TX @ Club Annex
Nov 28: San Antonio, TX @ Sunken Garden Theater 2014
Nov 29: Corpus Christi, TX @ Concrete Street Amphitheater

I hope you are able to make it out to one of the shows. Seriously, AK’s performance will blow your mind.

And now, for my photo madness…

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Shallow Side front man Eric Boatright

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AK vocalist Bryan Bozeman

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AK guitarist Ryan Yunker

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AK bassist Danny Helms

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Ryan

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Boze

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Jude Buckingham & Boze

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Jude

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Ryan & Danny

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Me & Boze

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Me & Eric

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Me & AK drummer Kevin Compton

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Me & Jude

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Me & Boze

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Me & Danny

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Me & Ryan

Review: Azrael, From Ashes to New, Offbeat Hooligans, & Almost Kings @ Wild Bill’s

On Saturday, May 3rd, Atlanta natives Almost Kings played their hometown for the first time in roughly nine months. In celebration of this hometown event/Cinco de Mayo bash, the band gave away free tickets to all who requested them prior to the show. Three opening acts–Azrael, From Ashes to New, and Offbeat Hooligans–were booked, and anticipation built by the day.

Doors opened at 7:30 that night. Rockers Azrael were the first to hit the stage, going on around 8:30. The best way to describe them is a mix of Creed and Seether. Their originals were great, and their versions of Bush’s “Come Down” and Alex Clare’s “Too Close” really sparked the crowd’s enthusiasm. It was the perfect way to kick off the night. Before the energy could fade even one iota, it was time for From Ashes to New.

Hailing from Lancaster, PA, From Ashes to New is reminiscent of Hollywood Undead, only much heavier. They had Wild Bill’s jumping by the end of their first song. They were energetic and interactive, vocalist Matt Brandyberry hopped down into the cluster of people gathered in front of the stage more than once, singing and shaking hands and creating more of a sense of camaraderie between fans and band. The atmosphere was electric at the end of their set and it remained that way throughout the entirety of Offbeat Hooligans‘ performance.

The best way to describe Offbeat Hooligans is “funky.” The members are extremely talented. Bassist Ben Rickard, in particular, tore it up. Akin to 311 and Authority Zero, they left the room with a positive vibe. Finally, right after 11, it was the moment we’d all been waiting for–Almost Kings. Drummer Kevin Compton, guitarist Ryan Yunker, bassist Danny Helms, and front man Bryan Bozeman walked out to a packed house. A roar rose from the audience as the band ripped straight into “Shakin’ ‘Em Up.”

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I can’t even find the words to explain their performance. It was non-stop enthusiasm, the guys bouncing all over the expansive stage and Bozeman repeatedly encouraging the audience to help him out, something that every person in that building was more than willing to do. AK played all of their most popular tracks, including “Bounce,” “Five Foot Hurricane,” “Shadows,” and “Hold On Me,” while also breaking out a few songs that aren’t usual on their set lists, such as “Lose Control” and “Never Quite the Same.” A few covers were slipped in: the medley that includes a portion of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back,” Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby,” and House of Pain’s “Jump Around,” as well as their always popular version of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.” Throughout their set, Almost Kings was joined onstage by multiple guests, other musicians who they have collaborated with over the years.

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The night was truly an unforgettable one. Without a doubt, Almost Kings gave their all and made their hometown incredibly proud.

Review: Monster Truck & Alter Bridge @ The Tabernacle

This past Saturday–April 19th–I was in Atlanta, Georgia, for the Alter Bridge show. I was accompanied by two of my favorite people, my brother Rick and my friend Jesse. I was fortunate enough to make my way through the mob to the front. Two very kind Alter Bridge fans let me squeeze in beside them, right on the barrier. Needless to say, I refused to move for the rest of the evening.

The opening act, a band that hailed from Canada called Monster Truck, was really good. They were a mix of rock and blues. All I could think was “If Led Zeppelin and all the Southern rock bands had a baby, this would be it.” Ha! Seriously, though, their guitarist was super enthusiastic and the band was a lot of fun. They set the tone for the evening–high energy rock & roll–and the fans showed them a ton of respect as they filed off the stage.

When Alter Bridge came out roughly thirty minutes later, the noise was tremendous! They tore straight into “Addicted to Pain” and from that moment, it was a case of nonstop greatness. My favorite thing about it was the fact that the crowd was made up mostly of hardcore Alter Bridge fans, the kind that sing every single word. There is nothing more magical than hearing a crowd of 2000+ belting out “Broken Wings,” “Open Your Eyes,” and “Rise Today.” It was obvious that vocalist/guitarist Myles Kennedy, guitarist Mark Tremonti, bassist Brian Marshall, and drummer Scott Phillips were feeding off the audience’s energy and adoration. It is also apparent that the four of them truly love what they do, and that always adds to the experience for the fans. Alter Bridge put on one hell of a show, and Myles stopped to give the fans a heartfelt thanks more than once, saying that if it wasn’t for us, the band wouldn’t be celebrating its ten-year anniversary.

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From L to R: bassist Brian Marshall, vocalist/guitarist Myles Kennedy, and guitarist Mark Tremonti

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Myles Kennedy grinning at me during “Rise Today.”

Highlights from the show were “Blackbird,” Myles instructing the audience to sing “Happy Birthday” to Tremonti, who had turned 40 the previous day, and the guitar dual between Myles and Tremonti, which led straight into the final song of the evening, “Rise Today.” A personal highlight was receiving a pick from Myles…that pretty much made my night.

Alter Bridge is easily one of the best bands I’ve ever seen in concert. If you haven’t made it out for a show yet, you should seriously remedy that immediately. I guarantee that you will have the time of your life.