25 Sep 2018
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Like A Storm - Gig Review: Alter Bridge @ The Powerstation, Auckland 31/01/2017

01 Apr 2017 // A review by Alex Moulton

Waiting outside the venue, the crowd was in disarray. There was little communication from the venue staff, and general admission patrons were mingling with those that had purchased VIP tickets, and there was no clear system in place as to where people were to go. Opening act, Like A Storm had posted on their social media page that they may be on stage earlier than expected so to get in early, but the doors opened 10 minutes late, much to the initial dismay and frustration of the patrons waiting outside. 

Once doors were open, after some initial issues, the staff at the doors started communicating with the patrons (“Have your tickets and ID ready”, “Pull up your email ticket barcodes before you get to the front of the line”, “Have your bag open ready to be checked”) and everything started moving quickly. In less than 10 minutes, the mob outside had transitioned to an audience inside. The first spots filled were upstairs along the barrier, followed closely by the front row on the ground floor, up against the barricade. As had been mentioned in their interview with Muzic.net.nz earlier in the week, the 94 year old grandfather of the three Like A Storm Brooks brothers was in attendance this evening along with their mother; it was a heart-warming sight to see the family looking on proudly.  

The only opening act for the night, Like A Storm took to the stage for their second show in New Zealand, but more importantly their first hometown gig in a decade, (the other NZ show being Jim Beam Homegrown on March 5th, 2017). Making their appearance at 8pm (as was their original start time), it looked as though they would only be getting a short 30 minute set. Making the most of their time they played song after song, with very little time for chit-chat in between tracks. They still engaged the crowd by encouraging them to sing along, fists raised, with Become the Enemy, climbing off stage for high-fives with the fans, and allowing the audience to take over for Chris Brooks on vocals every once in a while. 

Vocalist Chris Brooks took triple duty donning the guitar, and homemade didgeridoo, while singing, but brother Matt alleviated some of that burden taking on the primary vocals for a while when they slowed the set down for Break Free. Musically, everything bonded very well. The guitars and drums felt very cohesive and professional, as if listening to a recording, and not a live performance. The vocals on the other hand were not quite on par. The volume and notes were on form, but Chris’ vocals lacked depth, when compared to Matt, which was unfortunate. More likely to do with the equipment used, than his voice. One thing his voice was definitely good for, however, was their version of AC/DC’s track TNT; less abrasive than the original, but really got the crowd engaged.

Having a small break before finishing their set, they decided to play their latest single Pure Evil, which had just broken into the Top 40 in the US Billboard rock charts. A track that spans over 7 minutes in length, and had never been played live, it was fitting that the hometown crowd was the first to be able to experience the heavier sound that will be unleashed in their upcoming album, Catacombs. They ended with a singalong encouraging the crowd to move about and join in as they sung their breakout hit Love the Way You Hate Me, before making way for the headliners.

Watching the crowd, it was obvious to see that most people were there primarily for Alter Bridge. They stood widely spaced, and were resistant to too much motion during the opening act, holding themselves back to occasional head banging and fist pumping. That being said, the crowd was fully engaged with the group, cheering at every opportunity, and were very perceptive as to what was going on onstage. It was clear that they were saving their energy to the headliner.

Having not personally seen them live since their support tour for Disturbed back in 2008, I was curious as to how their performance has changed over the last nine years. Alter Bridge took to the stage and it was clear that they were taking no prisoners. As soon as they started to play, it made it sound as if Like A Storm had performed with their amps set to half volume. Notched up in magnitude, the sheer volume of their performance was immense. Any communication was reduced to hand signals as my ears were no longer capable of picking up the quiet sound of someone yelling in my ear. Despite this increase in sound, the crowd surged forward into a dense pack towards frontman Myles Kennedy. 

Alter Bridge are one of the more consistent groups around at the moment, having released albums every three years like clockwork, their setlist was well balanced, touching on all five studio albums. Kennedy was definitely the focal point of the show, the crowd watching his every move, and he thrived on the attention, pushing through an enormous 18 song set over the span of two hours, playing nearly half of the tracks from their Blackbird, Fortress, and The Last Hero studio albums.

Personal favourite tracks of the night were the opening track of their Fortress album, Cry of Achilles, and the softer, stripped down, Watch Over You. Cry of Achilles has great hooks and really built up in pace as the song progresses, much in contrast to Watch Over You which was enjoyed mainly as it was the best showcase of Kennedy’s vocal talents, and provided respite from the barrage of hard rock tracks throughout the night. Much credit to the band, as they perform with ease, and muscle memory, that you can watch them wander around stage, and there is no thought, no exertion, no struggle at all to continue playing. It comes as natural to them as does breathing.

By the time the show came to an end, you could see that the crowd were struggling. Their minds were strong, but their bodies too weak to keep up with the energy that they were being exposed to onstage. Alter Bridge finished their encore off with Show Me A Leader, and their highest-ranking track in The RockFM’s 2016 Rock 1000 Countdown, Rise Today.

Like A Storm Photos

Alter Bridge Photos

 

About Like A Storm

With their record-breaking new single, Love the Way You Hate Me, smashing its way onto American airwaves, Kiwi hard rock act Like A Storm have now achieved more successful US Hard Rock singles than any other New Zealand band in history. Hard rock anthem Love the Way You Hate Me, which features singer Chris Brooks playing the didgeridoo, has made an impact with rock fans all over North America - hitting #1 on satellite giant SiriusXM Octane.

Since their debut album, The End of the Beginning, in 2009, Like A Storm have created a compelling musical catalogue and earned the reputation as one of rock's hardest working bands. Five years of relentless touring has seen them share American stages with rock giants Creed, Korn, Alter Bridge, Five Finger Death Punch, Shinedown and many others. As a result, the band of Kiwi brothers has developed one of the most loyal fan bases in the country, and are now a headline act in their own right. Like A Storm's diehard fans - many of whom are inked in the band's artwork and lyrics - are widely known to travel huge distances, and show up hours early, to see the band play at some of the most iconic rock venues in the US.

Originally formed a world away in Auckland, New Zealand, Like A Storm was born when musician brothers Chris, Kent and Matt Brooks first jammed together. Growing up playing in separate bands, the combined chemistry was apparent in an instant. "We just felt this amazing musical connection," remembers guitarist Matt Brooks, "We knew that we had to start a band together."

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Like A Storm

Releases

Catacombs
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Awaken The Fire
Year: 2015
Type: Album
Chaos Theory: Part 1
Year: 2014
Type: Album

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