Last visiting on June 14th 2016 legendary metal band Tremonti returned to Limelight 1 on 2nd July in support of their new concept record A Dying Machine taking with them their friends from UK born band The Fallen State.
Not long after the first few handfuls of gig-goers were ushered into the room, The Fallen State took hastily to the stage to play a number of tracks from their four EP collection with songs like “Burn It To The Ground” and “You Want It”. Throughout the night they displayed excellent stage chemistry with each member of the band singing along with drummer Rich Walker being kept in the loop thanks to his Britney Spears styled microphone.
If this wasn’t enough to display the charisma of the drummer, at one point in the performance he even sent his cymbal into an aggressive spin as he continued to play it masterfully. It was very fitting that vocalist Ben Stenning mentioned to the crowd that they were huge fans of the trinity of Creed, Alter Bridge, and Tremonti as he moved about the stage during the performance with that very familiar Scott Stapp swagger and body language. Not only that but during their performance he also invited the audience to crouch down and then erratically spring up onto their feet again as the song hit its peak perhaps acting as a homage to Alter Bridge with Myles Kennedy doing the exact same thing for their performance at the Ulster Hall.
My personal highlight song for their performance would have to be “Nova”, a powerful ballad song which had seen a collaboration from Black Stone Cherry’s Chris Robertson. Although he wasn’t there for this particular performance, it was still delivered with the same gusto and it was met with great reception from the crowd.
After a short delay which allowed everyone to discuss the performance they had just witnessed, music rose from the stage. The song that was cast out across the floor was “Found”; a three-minute instrumental track and quite ironically the outro to their new album A Dying Machine. Thankfully this didn’t signify the end of the night, and after a short tease of the track, the quartet entered onto the stage for what would be an unforgettable performance.
First from the setlist that would include some of my all-time favourite Tremonti tracks was “Cauterise” from the 2015 album of the same name. It was a wise choice for the band as it was just the right song to ease the crowd into the night of headbanging and moshing ahead. It isn’t the heaviest or fastest song the band has released but it still has a tempo with a high enough pace and riffs distorted enough to act as a nice warm-up for the songs to come.
This was followed by another song off the Cauterise CD “Another Heart”. Again this followed the same philosophy of being a slower and more easy going track to help ease the crowd into the night perhaps in an attempt to avoid immediate exhaustion from the audience especially in the summer heat. This is a track I recall being played back in Limelight back in 2016 and being a bit hit then. This time was yet another vastly successful rendition of the track but with this time Mark Tremonti seeming to take a leaf out of Kirk Hammett’s book with the addition of a lot more Wah effect than usual on his guitar.
The first new song to be played for the evening was “Traipse” a song that is easily my favourite song off of the new CD but is slowly becoming one of my favourite Tremonti tunes of all time. The eerie, sadist sounding clean guitar build up is the main characteristic I take away from the song which was nailed beautifully on the night. If it is a track that you haven’t gotten round to listening I’d give it a try as it’s a perfect example to show that Mark Tremonti is far from slowing down with age.
The first track to be played from Dust which quite fittingly is also the first song from the record was “My Last Mistake”. In my opinion, I love everything that A Dying Machine brings to the table, I love the diversity it shows from the bands previous works and the diversity even between the songs on the record but as far as I’m concerned Dust is still the strongest album the group has released and has stood the test of time with two years of almost uninterrupted listening by myself. That’s to take nothing away from A Dying Machine I still believe it is a very unique and well planned out album but because of my love of Dust when the singer announced that this song was introduced to kick things up it also kicked me up too with my already energetic flailing becoming even more frantic.
“Take You With Me” The very first single to be released from A Dying Machine was the next to be played from the album. This song is a bit of a different one, and I feel it falls outside the usual Tremonti formula as it just doesn’t quite feel like a regular Tremonti song. Not to pigeon hole a specific band or genre but it feels more like a feel good, younger era of sound with guitars that would sound at home in any modern punk band. It may have been those energetic vibes to thank but it went down well with the audience and saw the younger members of the crowd uping their game.
With the next track, the band slowed and mellowed things down a notch dipping back into their debut album with “The Things I’ve Seen”. This was a great testament of the abilities of Eric Friedman and his ability to rival Mark Tremonti where necessary leading us into the song with a cobbled together jazzy guitar solo with a similar solo on the outro.
A few more new songs in with “Bringer Of War” “Throw Them To The Lions” and “A Dying Machine” came the magical ballad that is “Dust”. It was this song that the singer requested everyone in the room to take out their cellphones to bask the room in a glorious artificial glow from the various lights and phone screens. It served as a great nod back to the first Tremonti gig back in 2016 with the crowd belting back the song with the same gritty determination as they did that very night. Now for many bands, this would have served as their ‘final’ song before disappearing behind a curtain for 5 minutes and then creeping back on stage for one last hurrah. Although in Dave Grohl-esque fashion Mark announced that they were not a band to do encores and would play to the very end of the set with no interruptions. Bringing us home in a thrash was “Radical Change” and the popular ending track “Wish You Well” with the singer extending safe journeys home to the crowd before strumming his way to conclusion.
All things considered, despite the heat radiating off all the sweaty huddled music lovers and that of what was a pretty warm Northern Irish night, the crowd was still up for moving about as best they could to show appreciation for the two bands that had performed in front of them. With that said, I would like to extend my gratitude towards The Fallen State and Tremonti for the killer show and hope for a speedy return to the Belfast stage. To the bands, staff and everyone there I wish you well.