Seeing your favourite band on tour is still somehow a privilege. Some bands are just not touring that frequently or all the dreamy line ups are happening across the big pond and not on the oldest continent. But when they do, it so damn worth it. Travelling across Europe to see my own favourite bands has become a tradition of mine in the recent years. It’s a passion that one just does not want to think about twice to give into. And I am super glad that it did not happen last week when Tremonti took along Disconnected and The Raven Age and hit UK and the rest of Europe with full force.
The beautiful O2 Forum venue in Kentish Town, London on the 4th of December started to swarm with people in band’s shirts pretty quickly and soon welcomed up on the stage the first band of the evening, Disconnected. We all know some great metal names from the beautiful France, with Gojira on the top of the list, even though the country of freedom, equality and fraternity is not the first country to think of metal music wise. But the guys from Disconnected did really give it justice. From the first song the voice of the band, Ivan Pavlakovic, took us on a heavy ride, as was promised. The setlist might have been short, but the guys made up for it with an intense show. Nice balancing between clean and harsh vocals with catchy melodies and heavy riffs was the best combination for opening of the night.
However, their show ended too soon and after them The Raven Age came up on the stage. And to say honestly, I would pretty much prefer if those two bands switched places and Disconnected rather came second than to open the night. The energy flow and the intensity went kinda down since the first song till the last one of the Londoners. Even though their hometown fans obviously enjoyed it, for me it seemed just too boring compared with the energy that Disconnected brought.
That all could easily be a result of nearly no interaction of the vocalist Matt James with the audience and it seemed he would rather stand facing the drummer with his back to the crowd than the other way around. At least during the beginning and end of the songs. The overall sound in the venue was not so great either. One could not hear anything else besides drums and bass. Guitars were really heard only during the few solos and the vocals were too much in the background. Have to say though that the rest of the guys were obviously having fun on the stage. It really showed when the bassist Matt Cox and guitarist Tony Maue, who joined the band just last year, had a nice interaction, playing riffs and poking strings on each other’s instruments. Still I was kinda glad when the last song ended and the main act of the evening was about to come up on the stage.
Mark Tremonti has a very inspiring and successful year behind him. With the new album out and book of the same name, A Dying Machine, he and the rest of the gentlemen hit the road really hard. They have been touring pretty much nonstop ever since the album came out and they will continue to do so from beginning of next year joining Sevendust on the US tour.
But even though they come to Europe pretty often and they obviously love it here, one can never get tired or bored during their shows. After The Raven Age they rose the energy bar back up on the level of Disconnected and even way above already with the first song of the set Cauterize. They started to play aggressively from the very first notes which quite showed during third song of the set, Another Heart, when the Tremonster snapped a string on his guitar. And then again during the first single of the first album, Take You With Me, a real energy burst. Broken record of broken strings, as he nicely put it… But that dude does not really know what to do with his hands when he does not hold a guitar and has to sing, but man, even without guitar his voice did not tremble once. There is just no doubt that he has grown as a singer. Maybe he stood a bit awkwardly in front of the mic for a few seconds, but everyone in the crowd was still having fantastic time. Grinning and banging their heads, clapping and chanting.
The set continued with other well-known songs, a true cut through their musical carrier, like My Last Mistake or Catching Fire, during which Tanner Keegan required a mosh pit and he certainly got one. The crowd just went wild and the guys on the stage as well. I was a bit wondering if Eric Friedman will be already able to pull that perfect backing vocals in Trust since he broke few ribs at the beginning of the tour. But he was just living and the broken ribs were long forgotten. His energy was just contagious as well as Tanner’s, who was jumping around the stage for the whole set.
So You’re Afraid, Flying Monkeys or Radical Change together with songs from the fourth Tremonti album like Bringer of War or Throw Them to the Lions were the ones which got the best response from the fans. But then again, even though Tremonti are a well-oiled machine going above and beyond with their heavy and catchy riffs each time during their concerts, they can bring also somewhat softer melodies. This tour they started to play The First the Last from their last album as well as Unable to See, which was the most requested song by the fans. They heard, they responded and that’s what I love about bands like these.
But not just Mark and his singing together with his amazing guitar shredding or Eric and his backing vocal and amazing solos was what caught my attention. Just after the first EU tour with Iron Maiden and some festivals Garrett Whitlock took a bit time off for personal reasons and in his stead Ryan Bennett sat on the stool behind drums. I really wanted to see how this will work and whether anyone could spot any difference. But even though Garrett’s energy is one that cannot be replaced that easily, Ryan is doing an amazing job and obviously having wonderful time. Maybe he was not shouting from behind the drums to the crowd “You’re so fucking quiet!” as Garrett used to, but for that we will have to wait again after Garrett will feel like scolding us like this again.
And so, when Mark asked whether London will come back next time when they will, the response was pretty obvious. Also judging by the number of fans buying merchandise by the end of the show. There is no way anyone, who was there, would let it slide and not be a part of such an amazing evening as this was. I for sure will travel next time to see them and who knows where it might take me. If London again, I’ll gladly say hell yes.
Text: Zuzi Tomkova, Photos: Niwy Kovacova