Published on October 2nd, 2012 | by Phoenix0
Fifteen Years Later
A couple months ago, I gave a rare glowing review to Mark Tremonti’s debut solo album on this very site. The album combined hard-rock sensibilities with great melodies. So when Tremonti and his solo band came to the Vinyl in Atlanta on September 29, my rock-obsessed self just had to check it out. I came back with still more appreciation for one of the most heralded guitar players of our day.
Despite the listed start time of 8 PM, the first opening band, a local act called UltraDrive, was already on stage when I got there. It’s a shame they started early, because I really enjoyed the few songs I caught from their set, including “Break and Bleed,” and a pretty cool cover of Alice in Chains’s “Them Bones.” They had a similar melodic hard-rock vibe along the same lines as Tremonti. Their lead singer was charismatic, too, and was able to work the crowd pretty well. He even had everybody shouting the title lyric to the song “Drive!” I really hope these guys get some more recognition.
Man the Mighty was the second band, and they were pretty good, though I enjoyed UltraDrive more. They struck me as more of a “one trick pony,” as their songs started sounding the same after awhile (loud guitar that drowned out the vocals). It’s little wonder, then, that the crowd didn’t seem as engaged in their set, which the lead singer seemed a bit irritated with. Their lead guitarist was rather talented, however, and ripped off some nice solos.
Then came the main event. To be honest, I liked this venue better than the Tabernacle, where I saw Slash and Myles Kennedy. The Vinyl was even smaller, and thus most of the crowd was right up on the bands. The sound mix, which I complained about a lot with Slash and Myles, was perfect at this show. The vocals were easy to hear above the instruments, and it made the whole experience that much better. All of the band members that helped record Tremonti’s solo record were there, save for bassist Brian Marshall, who was replaced by Wolfgang van Halen (son of Eddie).
The band played all of the songs from All I Was, though not in the same order. After running through the album many times, it was interesting to hear the songs presented differently. During the encore (getting off stage and then on was kind of pointless, given that their set was only about an hour and 15 minutes long), they played “Gone,” a song that was recorded for All I Was but didn’t make the final cut. It did have sort of a different vibe from the album songs, so I kind of understand why it didn’t make it. All of the songs translated well live, but the best were probably “Giving Up” (especially the three-chord guitar interlude), and “Decay.” The pulse-pounding vibe of those songs makes them tailor-made to be played live. I also, of course, enjoyed the single, “You Waste Your Time.”
Overall, it was a tight, energetic show, and the most fun I’ve had at a concert in a long time. Tremonti is not a born frontman, preferring to be behind the scenes a little more, but he did a good job interacting with the fans, who were some of the best I’ve ever seen at a rock show. They knew almost every word to every song on the album, and sang them along with Mark. This just added to the experience. There was also a meet and greet at the end, so fans got to shake hands and get their merchandise signed. Fifteen years after Creed’s breakout, Mark Tremonti still gives it his all every night for the fans. I’m giving this show a rare 10/10.