Monday, May 11, 2015

Tremonti at the Highline Ballroom

Mark Tremonti
Mark Tremonti, originally from Detroit, Michigan, as a youth relocated to several states with his family, but it was in a Florida high school that he met vocalist Scott Stapp. They started Naked Toddler in 1993, which became Creed in 1995. Creed's 1997 debut album sold six million copies, and a 1999 follow up sold more than 11 million copies. The band disbanded in 2004, with Stapp starting a solo career and the rest of the band becoming another successful hard rock band, Alter Bridge. Creed reunited in 2009, so Tremonti presently plays guitar in three bands, including Tremonti, a heavy metal band he formed in 2012. The band Tremonti will release its second album, Cauterize, on June 9, 2015.

Tremonti would have had a platinum catalogue to choose from if it wanted to play the older songs live, but at the Highline Ballroom tonight, the show was about distinguishing this band from Creed and Alter Bridge. This band was comprised of Tremonti, guitarist Eric Friedman, drummer Garret Whitlock and bassist Tanner Keegan, filling in for Wolfgang Van Halen, who is on tour with the band Van Halen. After years of in the background of Stapp in Creed and Myles Kennedy in Alter Bridge, Tremonti was now the front man, singing and playing lead guitar in his new band. Perhaps he should continue leaving the singing to others, as his vocals were adequate but had very little range and often seemed forced. His guitar work, however, was masterful. The set was comprised of songs from the band's 2013 debut album, three songs from the forthcoming album and a cover of Big Wreck's "Prayer." Tremonti presented variety, in that some songs were melody-driven with anthemic choruses like they were designed for commercial radio, while others were an incendiary thrash assault meant exclusively for mega-metalheads. The focus always came back to Tremonti's lightning fast licks, enhanced by the band's thrusting, chugging backing. The show's main feature ultimately was that Tremonti's many extended guitar solos were now far heavier and more crunching than in his other bands. The band Tremonti may never win the popular acclaim of Creed and Alter Bridge, but it gives rock fans another place to witness guitar wizardry.

Visit Tremonti at