This gig has been on my radar from the day and hour it was announced, one of the finest voices in modern day Rock on a stripped back acoustic solo tour. I was fortunate to catch the late Chris Cornell in Dublin at The Olympia Theatre a few years back, I remembered on my journey down talking with friends saying that even though I wasn’t the biggest Soundgarden fan that I knew it would be a unique experience, I wasn’t wrong. It was one of the most memorable gigs of my life and I left with chills down my spine in awe of a man and musician that was simply, on another level. I rate Kennedy in the same league as Cornell, tonight would tell is this giant of the Rock and Metal world would be equally at home on a more intimate setting among friends.
Tonights support was in the form of Frenchman Dorian Sorriaux, guitarist from the highly regarded Blues Pills. Tonights second departure, as Sorriaux who normally stays in the shadows behind the highly enigmatic Elin Larsson on vocals. I’ve been fortunate to catch these guys live and Dorian is an amazing guitarist in his natural enviroment, running licks as far as the eye can see fused with huge sounding psychedelic riffs, but tonight would tell a different story. Sorriaux is dovetailing the release of his first solo EP The Hungry Ghost, a beautiful and haunting release that is a total departure from what we have known from the man thus far. As he quietly takes to the stage, a cheer rises from the crowd and for the next 45 minutes the room falls silent as Sorriaux transfixes his audience in melancholic wonder.
With a voice reminiscent of the likes of Neil Young, Sorriaux flowed through his set only breaking to praise the Belfast crowd for their support and his love of the Emerald Isle. No stranger to Ireland with the Blues Pills he spoke of his fondness of Ireland and the people he met on his travels. Check out our review of The Hungry Ghost below:
The room by now was heaving at the seams, the long queue outside spoke volumes as I approached the venue earlier. Now it was at capacity and hot, frigging hot! Anticipation was building in the crowd as we (press) started getting swamped by eager punters moving in to catch any glimpse they could of Kennedy’s performance on stage. At 9:30 pm the lights dropped and a roar erupted from the crowd, Myles Kennedy was in the room.
As he swaggered on stage he broke into his first number and the room went wild, using a Logjam as a bass drum, he added a little “je ne sais quoi” to his performance ala Steve King with a thump that shook the room every time he hit it. When the opening song ended an almighty roar lifted from the Belfast crowd that took even Myles breath away, for a minute or two he simply stood back in wonderment at the response he had provoked. The smile as big and wide as a Cheshire cats said it all, he was among friends tonight and tonight was going to be one hell of a party.
As he thanked the Belfast audience for their gracious welcome, he explained that tonight he would cover tracks from his days with The Mayfield Four, Alterbridge, Slash, covers and of course The Year Of The Tigerhis debut solo album. In a set which lasted an hour and a half we were treated to a majestic performance by a guy with all the charm and personality one could hope for, as he engaged the room and retorted stories from his youth, his time on the road and the meanings behind his lyrics, and a quick apology for some dodgy lyrics in his early song writing with the Mayfield Four! He of course was forgiven tenfold. Switching occasionally from an acoustic to a Resonator guitar which was plugged into a Fender amp at the rear of the stage Kennedy would light up the room once again with some slick slide work, and six string wizardry when appropriate.
Throw in an Iron Maiden cover in the style of Johnny Cash? Why not, the room was bouncing and singing along with each and every song. What more could an artist ask for whilst being thousands of miles from his native home. But not tonight, tonight Belfast welcomed him as one of their own, an adopted son and on a hot summers evening in Ireland he was home for that ninety minutes. Tim Tournier joined Myles on stage for ‘Haunted By Design’ with some intricate acoustic work to compliment Myles playing, and as the night was coming to a close and Kennedy walked off stage before his encore he took the time to acknowledge his audience once again.
As he joined the room once again he wrapped up the night with two big hitters and Tournier was up front and centre once again for the evenings closer ‘Year Of The Tiger’
As Kennedy once again thanked Belfast for a memorable evening the crowd were elated and simply did not want it to end. Tonight was something very special indeed, one of the finest vocalists in modern day Rock delivering one of the finest vocal performances you’ll see this year. With a limited number of additional UK dates available on this tour you would be mad to miss them.
July 7th Liverpool O2 Academy 2
July 8th Leeds Stylus
July 10th Norwich The Waterfront
July 29th London Palladium
Check out our review of Year Of The Tiger here:
Official Sites: Website: www.MylesKennedy.com, Facebook: www.facebook.com/OfficialMylesKennedy, Twitter: www.twitter.com/MylesKennedy, Instagram: www.instagram.com/OfficialMyleskennedy, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/myleskennedyofficial, and Label: www.napalmrecords.com.
Review & Photography: Mark McGrogan
Instagram: flashartmark / Twitter: @flashartmark