The last time we saw Myles Kennedy he was accompanying Slash for an unplugged set at the Houses of Parliament. Tonight’s affair, with his own band Alter Bridge, is very different in just about every way. Thousands of happy, if knackered, festival punters await their melodic hard rock charms; the sky above the (now slightly muddy) field is a rather ominous shade of grey; and the knowledge that Aerosmith’s headline set will follow them looms over the show like a very big neon sign.
Download 2014: Alter Bridge
Venue: Main Stage, Download 2014
Kennedy, Tremonti and co. warm up the pre-Aerosmith Crowd
Nevertheless, Kennedy, guitarist/vocalist Mark Tremonti and the other two (also extremely talented musicians, but it would be foolhardy to deny that Kennedy, followed by Tremonti, is the star of the show) are consummate professionals and all-round nice guys - not about to let this stop them from delivering a quality, enthusiastic set. With some incredibly devoted fans cheering them on.
They’ve had better live shows (big shows, too, even if they feel slightly swallowed here at times), but the likes of Cry Of Achilles are such storming, steely-eyed but rousing tracks they can’t fail to do excellent work tonight. Tremonti leads crunchingly metallic, machine gun riffery in the likes of Ties That Bind, and Myles (we’ve praised it before, but sweet lord he’s got a lovely voice; the kind you’d book a room with) is so unfailingly likeable as a frontman you can’t help but warm to them.
Fan favourite Blackbird is good, but its Myles’s acoustic solo Watch Over You that suddenly creates a rather magic atmosphere - sparkling and quite exquisite. It’s then falls to Rise Today to finish on a stirring, singalong note, leaving everyone primed for the headline mammoth to come. Which it does, and does very well. Well done AB. (7) (PG)