Myles Kennedy // Cardinal Black // Live Review // O2 Academy // Bournemouth
It was a humid but damp evening in Bournemouth but that did not deter the ever-growing queue outside of the O2 venue whereMyles Kennedy was playing the last night of his ‘Ides Of March’ UK tour.
He has played up and down the country and managed to evade the Covid bug with some strict Covid bubble arrangements which included no photography from the pit for any of the shows. A quick explanation as to why that actually matters. As a photographer at a venue with the bigger artists and bands, you normally get the first three songs with no flash in the pit (the area between the audience and the stage). This allows the photographer to get some great up close and personal pictures of the band. Because this was not allowed on this tour it meant for a crazy night improvising and finding some different vantage points to shoot the bands, which is always a challenge.
On this tour, the support act is a band called Cardinal Black who has been around in one form or another since 2010, but with various factors drifting the members apart, it wasn’t until 2020 when they were back at it and in 2021 released their self-titled debut EP under the name Cardinal Black.
Tonight they played a five-song 30-minute set that had the crowd participation in full flow from an early stage. There are not many support bands that can achieve that so they must be doing something right, as the audience lapped them up.
Tom’s voice is magical and powerful, and mix that with some sublime guitar playing from Chris Buck then you have a mighty combination. Along with Sam Williams on bass and Adam Roberts on drums, you really do have a force to be reckoned with.
They played the four tracks from their debut EP as well as a song called ‘Tied Up In Blue’ to end their very impressive set.
The stage was cleared and ready for the arrival of Myles, and at 9 pm the lights went down and Myles Kennedy took to the stage to tumultuous applause. He started off with ‘Wake Me When It’s Over’ from his latest solo release ‘The Ides Of March’, to which the crowd went wild. This is followed by another from the same LP before we hear ‘Devil On The Wall’ from his ‘Year Of The Tiger’ album, and this song is a wonderful upbeat awesome number.
After this Myles announced that he was suffering quite a bit from a bout of laryngitis and very nearly had to cancel tonight’s show, but as it was the last of the tour he decided to play it for all the people that bought tickets but said that he had changed the setlist around to allow his voice to take a little break and asked the crowd if this was alright to do to which they obviously said yes as they were there to see him play and sing whatever.
He starts with his acoustic guitar and plays an Alterbridge track ‘All Ends Well’ which made the crowd go crazy, and this was followed by the fabulous ‘Haunted By Design’ and ‘Love Rain Down’ which he dedicated to a fan who had asked him questions about this particular song earlier in the day. These were all fantastic and although suffering, he still managed to perform a fabulous cover of Iron Maiden’s ‘The Trooper’.
We are treated to more Myles splendour before all too soon the night ends with ‘Worried Mind’.
Tonight was a special performance that will live long in the memory because it happened against all the odds and we were all treated to a fabulous performance by one of the greatest voices in rock music today. This was a definite 10/10 performance that was appreciated massively by all the fans that made the effort to go out in all this madness and support one of their favourite musicians.
At this point, Myles Kennedy’s voice precedes him. Certainly, it courses through six chart-topping albums from gold-selling rock juggernaut Alter Bridge, three records with Slash and The Conspirators, two albums from The Mayfield Four, his 2018 solo debut Year of the Tiger, and guest appearances for everyone from Disturbed and Halestorm to Gov’t Mule, Sevendust, Mark Morton and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels. For as much as he remains renowned for his skyscraping timbre and earth-quaking bluesy wail, his musicianship also encompasses eloquent songcraft, thoughtful cinematic arrangements, and, of course, dynamic guitar fireworks as explosive as his astounding vocal range. Myles Kennedy burst on the music scene in 1990, but it wasn¹t until 1995, through his band The Mayfield Four, that he gained some notoriety. It was when the Mayfield Four toured opening for hitmakers Creed that Myles Kennedy would meet Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips. This meeting would eventually lead to the formation of Alter Bridge, the band that would become Myles’ calling card to the world. In 2008, the legacy of Myles Kennedywas circling the music industry and eventually found its way to members of Led Zeppelin. A now legendary story, Myles was asked to jam with Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham for a potential project that never materialized. In 2009, Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash was working on a solo project and tapped Myles Kennedy to do vocals on two songs on that release. That partnership would lead to Myles becoming the vocalist for his other rock band, Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators. This relationship would also lead to Myles Kennedy singing for the iconic Guns N’ Roses at their Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame induction in 2012 after band founder Axl Rose was unable to attend. Through Myles’ various projects, he has appeared on The Tonight Show; Jimmy Kimmel Live; Conan; has had music used by the WWE, Major League Baseball and NASCAR to name a few; and appeared in the motion picture Rock Star. 2018 marked a new chapter in Myles’ career when he released his long-awaited debut solo album, Year Of The Tiger, to critical and commercial success. With his new solo album, The Ides Of March, Myles Kennedy showcases the talent that has made him one of the premier frontmen of modern music today.