TVD Live Shots: Alter Bridge, Halestorm, and Mammoth WVH at Sentrum Scene, 11/5

OSLO, NORWAYI don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve seen some incredible shows this year. Musicians of all genres have put the pent up energy accumulated over the last few years into some amazing live performances. Saturday night, in Oslo, Norway, I added another great show to my list: Alter Bridge, with Halestorm and Mammoth WVH, at the sold out Sentrum Scene, an early date on the Pawns and Kings European tour.

When the this tour was announced it got my attention as I saw it would provide me with a few things: the opportunity to witness the devoted European Alter Bridge fan base first hand and to see both Mammoth WVH and Halestorm for the first time. I knew then I needed to catch this tour and I’m so grateful I had the the opportunity to fly over and cover the show (thanks to AB management for the hook up!).

The festivities kicked off at 7PM with a tight 30 minute set from Mammoth WVH. Mammoth was the original name of Van Halen and, from a young age, Wolf Van Halen knew he wanted to use that same name for a band when he grew up. After spending years playing with rock luminaries (I remember being impressed with him way back in 2011 when he first toured with Van Halen), Wolf released his first album last year, which featured him playing all of the instruments and singing every note.

The reviews ranged from good to effusive and the single “Distance” was nominated for a Grammy. For his touring band, Van Halen assembled Frank Sidoris, Garrett Whitlock, Jon Jourdan, and Ronnie Ficarro. I’ll get to the point here: they’re really good. Mammoth WVH gets added to the list of young bands carrying the torch of rock music further into the 21st century. We look forward to the next album.

Why it’s taken me so long to catch Halestorm, a band that tours constantly, I’ll never know. In any event, it finally happened Saturday night and boy was it fantastic. Like many bands, Halestorm (Lzzy Hale, Arjay Hale, Joe Hottinger, and Josh Smith) used the pandemic as an opportunity to make new music and released their latest album, Back from the Dead, earlier this year.

Roughly half of the ten song set was taken from the new album; all songs showcased the frontwoman Lzzy Hale’s intense charisma and vocal power. Watching her, I kept being reminded of Pat Benatar; however, a Pat Benatar with all dials turned to 11. One has to wonder how she manages to go from clean vocals to full body wails night after night. It’s amazing to witness.

The Pawns and Kings tour is named for Alter Bridge’s latest album, released just in October. It’s been hailed as possibly their very best to date, a “checkmate,” propelling the men into some of their heaviest sounds ever, while maintaining the anthemic songwriting the band is known for.

Powered by the metal sensibilities of guitar beast Mark Tremonti, with Scott Phillips and Brian Marshall holding down the rhythm section, Alter Bridge tore through a 16-song set list with selections taken from throughout the band’s career. While my personal favorite from the new album, “Dead Among the Living,” didn’t make it in, “Sin After Sin” did, somehow sounding even darker and heavier live. It was a real standout of the night. “Blackbird” brought down the house, as it always does. It was all great.

The persistent problem I face when discussing Myles Kennedy in any way is my desire to sound like a balanced music fan and avoid coming across like some weirdo because I do think he’s the greatest. After seeing and covering him many times, in various forms and venues, in the US and now Europe, I’ve finally given up trying to solve my problem and have decided to just publicly lean into being a Kennedy fangirl. I can’t be stopped.

My trip to Sweden and Norway revolved around shooting concerts and the Alter Bridge show was sandwiched between two dates on the Arch Enemy/Behemoth tour. My metal guitarist pal and I peppered our chats with mentions of our mutual admiration for Myles Kennedy pretty much all weekend and, at an after party in Oslo Sunday night, I bonded with a woman over Kennedy as well. She swooned as much as I did. So at least I’m not alone here. Myles Kennedy is simply rock’s greatest vocalist and an accomplished guitarist. He couples mature, interesting songwriting with an otherworldly voice and the combination rocks hard. I don’t know how he does it. He’s incredible. I can’t wait for the 2023 U.S. tour.

As for the fans, they sang along and head banged in unison in the tight confines of the venue. Kennedy had us eating out of his hand, even getting everyone to crouch on the floor at one point. Shout out to the venue employees who ran around the somewhat claustrophobic room delivering beer to the very thirsty fans all night. I salute you.

If you’re in Europe, do catch the Pawns and Kings tour between now and the first half of December. US fans can join the party at the end of January.

MAMMOTH WVH

HALESTORM

ALTER BRIDGE

ALTER BRIDGE SETLIST
Silver Tongue
Addicted to Pain
Before Tomorrow Comes
This is War
Broken Wings
Isolation
Wouldn’t You Rather
Waters Rising
Sin After Sin
Metalingus
In Loving Memory
Blackbird
Rise Today
Cry of Achilles

Slip to the Void
Open Your Eyes

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