Alter Bridge

support Shinedown + The Raven Age
author PP date 12/11/19 venue KB Hallen, Copenhagen, DEN

It's my first time back at K.B. Hallen since its reconstruction that finished December last year after a fire burned down the building back in 2011. The difference between old and new is striking: nothing aside from the tubular ceiling resembles the original, with all new modern interiors replacing the old school gym look, balconies resembling the seated areas and bars moved all the way back to the entrance. Think I liked the old one better, despite much better sound at this edition. Anyway, we're back here for Alter Bridge who have upgraded their set from Store Vega last time to the 4,500 capacity venue, and although we're not sold out, it looks like we're not far from it either. It helps bringing along veterans Shinedown as main support, of course, who are no strangers to playing Copenhagen themselves.

The Raven Age

The Raven Age

First up is The Raven Age, who is best known for featuring Iron Maiden guitarist Steven Harris' son, George Harris. They've been around for a good decade or so and been on a number of high profile tours, but have failed to bring anything interesting on board with their recorded material thus far. That shows glaringly today, as their melodic metalcore is just about as generic and derivative as metalcore comes in 2019. Forgettable riffs, anonymous if not outright mediocre vocals, and totally static, crab-style wide-open stance on stage means we're mostly counting minutes 'til they disappear from the stage. I've seen them perform before a couple of years ago and virtually nothing has changed. The same bland guitars and soundscape never introduce anything that would induce you to go check them out after the fact. It's time to call it quits, boys because without the Harris name you'd still be playing pub shows across the UK.

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Shinedown

What a breath of fresh air Shinedown is after the snoozefest that was The Raven Age. An extravagant introduction features an announcer welcoming us all to the best rock show, fantastic lights and general ooze of overconfidence, which the band builds on right away as they appear wearing all-yellow suits with only singer Brent Smith dressed in black-and-yellow for contrast. They immediately kick off with "Devil" off the new album and show off a particularly pompous, full-of-themselves vibe that contrary to those derogatory terms actually works in their favour. This is a big style rock show, and Smith isn't afraid to say it, as he takes every possible moment to call out the seated peeps on the balconies, asking them if we're at a library or a rock show, demanding that we stand up stat.

Shinedown

The band energetically bounces up-and-down, until a point where Smith calls the crowd to open a line straight through the middle to the sound desk only so he can use it as a catwalk and go back-and-forth in it during a crowd control gimmick. It works: the subsequent view of a couple of thousand people jumping up and down is a magnificent sight, and yours truly is ready to forgive the cliché "now left side say ooooh.... ok now right side say ooooh" moments. This is hard rock extravaganza with proper rock star vibes, allowing the band to entertain us with their mainstream style for a good hour's worth of songs, including even a Lynyrd Skynyrd cover of "Simple Man". What a breath of fresh air and showmanship, this is how it's done!

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Alter Bridge

Alter Bridge

Alter Bridge, on the other hand, is pretty measured and professional compared to the fun and games of Shinedown just before. They have a vertical video screen setup on stage and a couple of interesting lasers here and there, but other than that, their production isn't particularly noteworthy so it is up to the songs and the band to keep us entertained for the duration of the 90-minute set.

Alter Bridge

Turns out, it is more difficult than anticipated. To start out with, the band deal with sound difficulty as Myles' vocals are even more echo-laden than they usually are on record, meaning some of the nuances of classics like "Isolation" and newer songs like "Wouldn't You Rather" are sorely missed in the audience. In fact, we have to go all the way to the ninth song, "Rise Today", before we get the evening's first sing-along and crowd movement of any sort. Up until this point, there's a difference like a day and night between the high-energy crowd entertainment of Shinedown just before and Alter Bridge's stand-still performance. Usually, this isn't such a problem as they do have an ability to hypnotize the audience through the sheer quality and complexity of their song, creating trance-like experiences where you're just in awe over how good the songs are.

Alter Bridge

Tonight, that connection between the band and the crowd never materializes. Instead, it is the second half of the set that rescues the performance with "Take The Crown" and "Blackbird" standing as some of the highlights of the night. Otherwise, it is surprising to be jotting down notes almost an hour and twenty minutes to the set along the lines of "good songs but not much else is happening"...which is made no better by the cliché, Slipknot style now everyone sits down moment towards the end. A short encore - the crowd is notably silent without shouting for more songs - and the band is back to finish off with "Godspeed" and "Open Your Eyes" to complete the set, but in all honesty, Shinedown takes this one hands down if it were a competition.

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Setlist:

  • 1. Wouldn't You Rather
  • 2. Isolation
  • 3. Come to Life
  • 4. Pay No Mind
  • 5. White Knuckles
  • 6. Ghost of Days Gone By
  • 7. Native Son
  • 8. Addicted to Pain
  • 9. Rise Today
  • 10. Waters Rising
  • 11. Take the Crown
  • 12. In Loving Memory (acoustic)
  • 13. Cry of Achilles
  • 14. Blackbird
  • 15. Metalingus
  • --Encore--
  • 16. Godspeed
  • 17. Open Your Eyes

Photos by: Lykke Nielsen

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