Fortress of Rock: Alter Bridge, Nonpoint & Them Evils pack The Wiltern

By Andrew Bansal
(Live photos by Brad Worsham)

Marquee – photo by Andrew Bansal

February 19th 2017, The Wiltern, Los Angeles CA: In support of their recently released fifth full-length studio album ‘The Last Hero’, hard rock/alt metal group Alter Bridge embarked on a North American headline tour with opening act Nonpoint, and towards the end of the run, played in front of a packed house at The Wiltern in Los Angeles last Sunday February 19th, a gig that also featured Them Evils as the local opener. Presenting material new and old for the large gathering of their LA fans, Alter Bridge showed that there’s more to them than just another radio rock band.

Doors opened at 6:30, much to the relief of the long line of fans waiting outside in the rain, and The Wiltern was quickly filled with ticket holders. At 7:15, Orange County hard rock power trio Them Evils took the stage as the opening act. Their name was not advertised on any of the official show posters or event pages online, but it certainly should have been, because with their short, high-energy 25-minute set, Them Evils proved themselves more than worthy of the stage and the opening slot. They were playing the music they love, and did a mighty fine job at it, using the full width of the stage but still staying cohesive and tight-knit as a trio. Their musical talent flowed individually and collectively, and they won some new fans on the strength of this performance. Their next LA area appearance is opening for Steel Panther at The Roxy on Monday March 6th, and they will rock that stage as hard as they did this one.

Them Evils photos:

Next up at 8 o’ clock, Fort Lauderdale FL groove metal quintet Nonpoint, appearing like silhouettes in the foreground of the blinding white light panels they installed in the backdrop, began their 45-minute set. Nonpoint brought the grooves to this stage through their simplistic yet effective guitar work and solid rhythm section, and were the heaviest band of the night. They were excellently fronted by vocalist Elias Soriano, whose singing ability was there for everyone to be heard in full. More often than not, in the realm of modern metal it is far too easy to resort to growls and harsh vocals, but Soriano makes the effort to lend melody to his singing, while still maintaining the grit that goes along with the heaviness of his band’s musical style. Aside from giving his all to his vocal parts, he tried his best to get the crowd involved and succeeded to a large extent, although at times his pre-song buildups went on for far too long. On their past visits to LA, Nonpoint have played some great headline shows but at times have also served as good openers, and this was another such occasion.

At 9:15, Alter Bridge arrived in a very low-key manner, sans any contrived intro and pre-intro tapes, and opening with a new song called ‘Writing on the Wall’, they quickly settled on the stage for what would turn out to be an 18-song, nearly two-hour set. Bands with just five albums in their discography don’t often play sets this long, but such is the confidence Alter Bridge have in their music, and more so in their fan base. As the story goes, three-fourths of Creed, i.e. Mark Tremonti (guitar), Brian Marshall (bass) and Scott Phillips (vocals), formed Alter Bridge with vocalist/guitarist Myles Kennedy in 2004. But that is the only association they have with Creed, because musically Alter Bridge is far distant and much better. Mark Tremonti has increasingly proved himself over the years as a force to reckon with in the guitar world, and skillfully decorates this band’s music with his songwriting, as does Myles Kennedy, who has risen as a great vocalist of the modern times.

Alter Bridge proceeded through this performance with a no-frills, no-fuss approach, and purely focussed their efforts and energy into playing the music. It is almost like stating the obvious to say that they are a heavier band live than on their studio recordings. The set flowed excellently, starting strong with heavy, dynamic songs like ‘Writing on the Wall’, ‘Come to Life’ and ‘Farther Than the Sun’, continuing to present apt selections from all five albums, and injecting some variety when Myles Kennedy handed over lead vocal duties to Mark Tremonti for ‘Waters Rising’, following which Kennedy himself took center stage with an acoustic guitar, for a rendition of ‘Watch Over You’.

Alter Bridge

The latest album ‘The Last Hero’ was well-represented with as many as four songs, although some of the deeper cuts on the record, such as ‘Losing Patience’ and ‘This Side of Fate’ were missing from the set, and one hopes these songs will be included on the next tour because they truly showcase the growth of the Kennedy-Tremonti duo as songwriters. Not to say that the songs they played don’t do so, because the two main men, along with their highly competent rhythm section, were in their element throughout this set, giving fans much to cheer about and deeming the band more than worthy of the ticket price.

Readers of this site would agree that not much of what’s played on the radio is listenable, and certainly not all listenable music makes it to radio, but Alter Bridge is one band that succeeds in bridging the gap, and finding admiration amongst both radio-loving and radio-hating heavy music fans. The freshly announced tour with In Flames and Metal Church also proves that they are more metal than they ever were, and for any metalheads reading this, this is as good a time to catch an Alter Bridge show as any.

(Check out The Wiltern’s official website for upcoming shows)

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More Alter Bridge photos:

Alter Bridge set list:
01. The Writing on the Wall
02. Come to Life
03. Farther Than the Sun
04. Addicted to Pain
05. Ghost of Days Gone By
06. Cry of Achilles
07. Slip to the Void
08. My Champion
09. Ties That Bind
10. Island of Fools
11. Waters Rising
12. Watch Over You (acoustic)
13. Isolation
14. Blackbird
15. Open Your Eyes
16. Metalingus
17. Show Me a Leader
18. Rise Today

Alter Bridge w/ Nonpoint remaining tour dates:
02/22/2017 – Seattle, WA @ Moore Theatre

Alter Bridge spring 2017 tour dates:
04/21/2017 – Fort Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution
04/22/2017 – Orlando, FL @ WJRR Earth Day Birthday
04/29/2017 – Fort Myers, FL @ Monster Energy Fort Rock Festival
04/30/2017 – Jacksonville, FL @ Welcome To Rockville
05/02/2017 – Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom *#
05/03/2017 – Providence, RI @ Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel *#
05/05/2017 – Virginia Beach, VA @ Lunatic Luau Festival
05/06/2017 – Concord, NC @ Carolina Rebellion
05/10/2017 – Baltimore, MD @ The Hippodrome *#
05/11/2017 – Stroudsburg, PA @ Sherman Theater *#
05/14/2017 – Somerset, WI @ Northern Invasion
05/16/2017 – Saint Marie, MI @ Dream Makers Theatre Sault *
05/17/2017 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave *#
05/20/2017 – Columbus, OH @ Rock On The Range
* = w/ In Flames
# = w/ Metal Church