ALTER BRIDGE w/ MAMMOTH WVH
@ HISTORY, TORONTO
FEBRUARY 11, 2023
Hot on the release of their seventh full-length album, Pawns & Kings, and following their trek throughout Europe, Alter Bridge are in the midst of their North American tour. With support from Mammoth WVH, one of the most promising up and coming rock artists currently making waves, Alter Bridge brought the Pawns & Kings tour to Toronto’s History for a sold-out performance.
Opening the show was Mammoth WVH, a band fronted by Wolfgang Van Halen – yes, Eddie Van Halen’s son – on lead guitar, vocals, and keys, along with a cast of touring veterans, including Frank Sidoris of Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators on guitar. Let it be known that Wolfgang refuses to ride on the coattails of his father’s legacy, as he humbly referenced his dad, omitting his name, and referred to himself as “Wolfie” when introducing the band. The appeal of Mammoth WVH is not found in the continuation of the Van Halen name, rather it comes from Wolfgang’s ability to write modern rock tracks that teeter between rock and metal, along with his virtuosic musicianship. It was refreshing to hear Van Halen-inspired guitar solos in modern rock. With tracks like “Stone”, “You’re To Blame”, and “Don’t Back Down” stealing the show, the future looks bright for Mammoth WVH.
Taking the stage to a full house, without warning, Alter Bridge dove headfirst into one of the earliest singles from their latest album, “Silver Tongue”. The blistering track served as a ruthless opener that captured the band’s strengths at their strongest: the tight rhythmic foundation of drummer Scott Phillips and bassist Brian Marshall, the intricately symbiotic guitar playing of Mark Tremonti and Myles Kennedy, and, of course, the jaw dropping voice that is Kennedy. I dare anyone to doubt that Kennedy is the greatest vocalist in modern rock after seeing Alter Bridge live. “Silver Tongue” was followed by “Addicted To Pain”, a true knock out of an opening combination.
“Whenever it’s this good, I’m always worried that you have us mistaken for someone else” a Kennedy states before going into the solo acoustic “Watch Over You”. With Tremonti joining him for “In Loving Memory”, this middle pair of acoustic songs acts as the emotional centre of their set. It is this, their rich use of melody and softer textures, in conjunction with their relentless riffs, shredding solos, and unfiltered musicianship, that separates Alter Bridge from their peers within the last two decades. In addition to this, the band’s sound was perfectly balanced and armed with incredibly curated tones. Performing nearly half of Pawns & Kings – “This Means War”, “Stay”, and the title track – their set was full of fan favourites. From “Ghost Of Days Gone By” to the Tremonti sung “Burn It Down”, along with the quintessential “Blackbird”, “Metalingus” and the closing “Open Your Eyes”, Alter Bridge’s set was a masterclass in modern rock performance.
With a proficiency for delivering album after album of hard-hitting anthems that pack a relentless sense of momentum while showcasing their musicianship without sacrificing catchiness, Alter Bridge are among the greatest bands of our time. To see their songs meticulously brought to life with deadly precision in flawless fashion is a musical spectacle. With absolutely no frills associated with concerts of today – no flashy visuals or gimmicks – Alter Bridge let their music do all the talking, proving once again that they remain undisputed masters at their craft.