Review: Myles Kennedy – Limelight, Belfast
It’s a full house in the Limelight tonight for Myles Kennedy’s solo acoustic show. The Alter Bridge frontman and Slash collaborator is currently on tour promoting his debut solo album Year of the Tiger released earlier this year. The album is easily his most personal chronicling the death of his father in 1974, i.e. the year of the tiger in the Chinese calendar, when Myles was four years old.
Myles saunters onto the stage kicking things off with ‘Devil on the Wall’. Rather than attempt to create an intimate atmosphere Myles displays an infectious energy with just an acoustic guitar and a stomp box accompanying him. From the start he has the crowd clapping and singing along. After a stripped down rendition of ‘Standing In The Sun’ by Slash & The Conspirators Myles takes a moment to absorb the warm welcome and cheering from the crowd. He then reveals he will be playing songs spanning his 20 year career from his early days as vocalist for The Mayfield Four, his breakthrough with Alter Bridge, his collaborative work with Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash as well as songs from Year of the Tiger.
With just an acoustic guitar Myles strips down the songs from his discography to blend in with the sonic direction of his solo album and puts a tasty spin on each of them. He puts a Southern Blues twist on ‘Addicted to Pain’ by Alter Bridge backed with some impressive acoustic guitar playing making for the first highlight of the night. He then leads the crowd into one of many singalongs during ‘Starlight’ from Slash’s debut self titled solo album while showing off his incredible vocal range. Myles has the crowd’s undivided attention throughout the whole gig.
The biggest surprise of the night comes in the form of a cover song. Myles promises the song will be “Iron Maiden but with a Johnny Cash twist”. Backed with some rapid sounding guitar chords Myles performs a country style version of ‘The Trooper’ by Iron Maiden much to everyone’s pleasant surprise, making for another highlight of the night. The crowd is more than keen to take the lead vocals in the chorus.
For a man with such an impressive back catalogue and a vocal range of four octaves and eight semitones Myles Kennedy is a pretty humble guy who doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously. Throughout the gig he pokes fun at his own lyrics from The Mayfield Four era, describing himself as a ‘worrier’ when he was a kid and even reveals that he feels like he’s “on a tightrope, not wanting to fuck up” when playing new songs live. It’s almost like he’s talking to you directly between each song when talking about his musical journey along with paying a heartfelt tribute to his mother with ‘Songbird’ and Alter Bridge’s ‘All Ends Well’.
The biggest sing-along of the night comes in the form of ‘Watch Over You’ from Alter Bridge’s second album Blackbird. With some beautiful open chords Myles lets the song carry him and his vocals simply soar throughout. Before the encore Myles breaks out a cover of Robert Johnson’s ‘Travelling Riverside Blues’ transitioning into a dirty rendition of ‘World On Fire’ by Slash & The Conspirators.
At this point Myles could have ended the show here and it would’ve been a great closer. But Myles returns to the stage for an encore treating everyone to two more solo tracks; ‘Love Can Only Heal’ making for the most intimate part of the whole gig and the title track ‘Year of the Tiger’ which goes down a storm.
After the final chord Myles ardently thanks everyone for coming out taking multiple bows from several parts of the stage. Myles Kennedy’s solo set tonight showcased a man of many talents and a likely reminder to his dedicated followers of just how many great songs he has under his belt. It makes you look forward to what the next twenty years of his illustrious career has to offer.