You could be forgiven for entering Monday night's Tremonti concert with some trepidation. With only one album's worth of material, plus a few songs the Mark Tremonti-led project has shared in the run-up to the June release of a new album, source material for a live show is a bit limited. Further, you might have wondered if those in attendance were completely sold on the concept of Tremonti, known for his guitar work in Alter Bridge and Creed, fronting a group, as he does with his namesake band.
These concerns were quickly laid to rest, however, when the band hit the stage of the Highline Ballroom in New York City and launched into a high-energy set that was equal parts brutality and melody, and, most important, enthusiastically received by a fist-pumping crowd, many of whom sang along to every word; underestimate the Tremonti fanbase at your own peril.
(Read HNGN's recent exclusive interview with Mark Tremonti here.)
The band - Tremonti (vocals, guitar), Eric Friedman (guitar), Garret Whitlock (drums) and Tanner Keegan on bass, filling in for Wolfgang Van Halen - kicked off the show with "Leave It Alone," from the group's 2013 debut album "All I Was," and "All That I Got," a B-side from the "All I Was" period. The latter song's chugging guitars courtesy of Tremonti and Friedman underscored the true heavy metal roots of this band, which has a much heavier bent than Creed and even Alter Bridge. Up next was the triumphant "Cauterize," the title track of the upcoming Tremonti record; the song's introduction, replete with double bass drums and lightning-fast guitars, recalls the thrash metal glory years of the 1980s, but that heaviness was shot through with a melodic approach, especially evident on the anthemic chorus, that has become one of Tremonti's career calling cards.
Other highlights from the first half of the set included the "All I Was" title track; "You Waste Your Time," which found Tremonti displaying his Slayer influences during a guitar solo; and his impassioned take on a cover of the Big Wreck song "Prayer."
It was the "Cauterize" material that seemed to win the day. "Flying Monkeys," with Tremonti declaring "But I'm afraid I'm inclined to fight this one alone" over sludgy Alice In Chains-esque guitars, was particularly strong. The third "Cauterize" track played Monday night, "Another Heart," which closed the main portion of the show before the encores, beautifully contrasted the light vs. dark shading, both musically and lyrically, that is often at play in Tremonti's songs.
The band returned for an encore consisting of two songs, "Decay" and "Wish You Well," both from the debut album. The second was infused with punk rock energy and thrash metal breakdowns.
Monday night's well-received concert was a success in its own right, but it can also be seen as a teaser for "Cauterize," out June 9, and a table-setter for a full-blown album tour, when, hopefully, more tracks from the new record will be featured on stage.
"Leave It Alone"
"All That I Got"
"All I Was"
"You Waste Your Time"
"Prayer" (Big Wreck cover)
"So You're Afraid"
"The Things I've Seen"
"Wish You Well"