Alter Bridge, with special guests Like A Storm, Gojira and Volbeat, performing at The Motorpoint Arena Nottingham on Saturday 26th November 2016

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

American band Alter Bridge has been steadily rising in the music world since their inception in 2004, having previously headlined The Nottingham Motorpoint Arena twice. They are now back in the UK in support of their latest album, The Last Hero, and last night it was Nottingham’s turn to host them.

Like A Storm, a hard rock band from Aukland, kicked off the evening, opening with Chaos, a track from their album, Awaken The Fire, released last year. With lead vocals from brother Chris Brooks (there are three siblings in the band) they nicely warmed up this near capacity crowd. Become The Enemy, the highest charting song by a New Zealand rock band in American history, was very well received as was Wish You Hell. But it was finisher, Love The Way You Hate Me that was the highlight with the wild use of a didgeridoo. You don’t see that instrument played very often at the Arena, but last night its use looked effortlessly simple, bringing something new to the table. They are definitely a group to watch out for.

Up next was French metal group, Gojira who are best known for their environmentally themed lyrics. With their precise syncopated way of delivering their set, it would have been easy for them to have just played songs from their sixth album, Magma. But instead they opened with a brilliant Toxic Garbage Island which had the audience in the palm of their hands from the off.

With their incredible sound, the cerebral L’Enfant Sauvage sounded absolutely colossal and when new tracks, Silvera and The Cell were given an outing, they did not disappoint. With Joe Duplantier’s throaty harsh vocals, his and Christian Andreu’s chugging guitars, Jean-Michel Labadie flying around with his bass and of course, the insanity that is Mario Duplantier on drums, this is a band who will be headlining very soon. With a mind blowing riff on Stranded they finished a show stealing set with Vacuity, bringing their set to a close far too soon.

With the audience nicely warmed up, it was the turn of Danish rockers Volbeat to show what they were all about. A very experienced band whose set includes a blend of thrash, metal, hillbilly and punk, they got things off to a great start with the Devil’s Bleeding Crown from their latest album released earlier this year; Seal The Deal & Let’s Boogie. Without missing a beat the band went straight into their next song, Lola Montez which was a true highlight.

Playing their set with gusto, Michael Poulsen showed that he does have a commanding stage presence, whilst Roc Caggiano really shone on Sad Man’s Tongue. The crowd appreciated 16 Dollars and Evelyn from their Beyond Hell Above Heaven album, and there were some really great new songs, For Evigt, and Black Rose before they finished an exceptional performance with Still Counting.

The Arena was then handed over to headliners, Alter Bridge, who are fronted by arguably the finest rock singer currently performing, Myles Kennedy. They then proceeded to do what they do best, belting out high octane hard rock with a formidable degree of skill and passion.

Opening with new track, The Writing On The Wall, it was classic Alter Bridge at their very best. With their decent melodic hooks and infectious grooves, they are very adept at writing arena ready choruses. There was Come To Life, the thunderous Addicted To Pain and a huge sing along for Ghosts Of Days Gone By. With a fabulous bass break from Brian Marshall, Cry Of Achilles really cranked up the head banging.

With Mark Tremonti’s riffs being instantly recognisable, The Other Side from latest album, The Last Hero saw him parade across the stage doing what he does best. Crows On A Wire went down well, and Waters Rising showed confident vocals from Tremonti. There was also a tearjerker solo acoustic version of Watch Over You from Kennedy.

Their epic rendition of Blackbird was absolutely majestic as it soared around the arena, whilst a very distinctive and familiar drum intro signalled the always awesome Metalingus. Open Your Eyes closed the main set but it was an encore of Show Me A Leader and an anthemic Rise Today that stole the show.

With Myles Kennedy as front man, and the rest of the band hailing from the original line up of Creed, they were bound to impress. Headlining a show of great music, Alter Bridge thrashed, bashed and thrilled and sent home a very happy crowd.