Myles Kennedy And Company

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Myles Kennedy is a class act

Manchester : Academy - 9th December 2021

Myles Kennedy is a very busy man. As if being part of Alter Bridge and Slash & The Conspirators wasn't enough, the last few years has seen him strike out in a solo capacity, with continued success. I saw him twice in 2018 when he was promoting his debut solo album 'The Year Of The Tiger' and the shows were "solo" in every sense. He is now promoting the sophomore 'The Ides Of March' and is going full electric, backed this time by a bass player and drummer, namely Tim Tournier and Zia Uddin.

Even though the Academy in Manchester is not as packed as I have known it to be for some shows it is still a healthy turnout for a cold December night. It is a big stage for just three people, but the sound is expansive and perfectly balanced. The set focuses, as expected, on the two solo albums. During the first tour in 2018 the set was a mix of Alter Bridge, Slash, Mayfield Four and 'Year Of The Tiger' material. Now it is as if Myles is trying to reinforce the quality of his own songs by eschewing more recognised and established ones.

Two 'Ides Of March' songs get us under way, 'Wake Me When It's Over' and 'A Thousand Words', followed by a well-received 'Devil On The Wall', 'Turning Stones' and 'Haunted By Design'. The 'Ides....' material takes on a different identity in the live setting and probably impacts a little more. I know that some people have reservations about Myles as a singer, but I have been a fan since the Mayfield Four days; an opinion cemented when I saw him perform live with Alter Bridge for the first time (also in Manchester). Tonight his vocals are as impressive as ever. Equally impressive is his guitar work. It is both soulful and expressive and not just an ego trip. He works well with Tournier and Uddin and as a three-piece they generate a lot of power. There is no photo pit tonight so I take in most of the show from the rear balcony, briefly visiting the main arena for a different perspective. The show is all about the music and the performances. In fact you could close your eyes and still take everything in.

Myles has never been the most commanding of frontmen and he still seems a little unsure and nervous when addressing the crowd between songs. He is, first and foremost, the singer and guitarist in a band and that works for me. A stripped back version of Alter Bridge's 'All Ends Well' receives one of the biggest cheers of the night, as does a re-worked rendition of 'World On Fire', by Slash & The Conspirators, later in the set. If I had to pick highlights then clear winners would be the jaw-dropping epic 'The Ides Of March' and mesmerising 'Love Can Only Heal' which gave me goose-bumps and was an emotional tour-de-force vocally. I think if I have a criticism, and this is only slight, it would be aimed at the set pacing and song choices. I was happy enough but one or two more AB or Slash songs, maybe with tweaked arrangements, would have generated more energy and probably pleased more of the crowd. 'Worried Mind' was something of a low-key encore choice. Leaving the crowd with a rousing closing song would have been a more prudent move. At the end of the day Myles has proved he can get by on his own (with two for company).

Walking out into the fresh Manchester air once more it amused me to see that the bootleg shirt sellers were now taking both card and cash payments. Some things change but one thing doesn't... Myles Kennedy is a class act.

Dave Bott

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