In some circles, Mark Tremonti is a household name. With a long career to look back on in his rearview mirror, these days, he spends his time between Alter Bridge and his current solo project, Tremonti. The latter, who are wrapping up a month’s worth of touring with Sevendust, played a blistering 45-minute set to a sold out crowd at House of Blues in Chicago.
With four albums under their belt, since 2012, Tremonti played a variety of favorites, including songs from their most recent album, A Dying Machine. By the start of their set, fans were tightly packed in like sardines. Always curious if a fan base is split when there are two big names on the bill, this crowd seemed to be all in.
Wasting no time, Tremonti started with Cauterize and its bombastic opening which really set the tempo for the night; relentless, constant and heavy. The onslaught continued with You Waste Your Time from Tremonti’s debut album, All I Was. Mark Tremonti, who sings and plays guitar center stage, showed total control over the speed with which he was playing. Standing in what has become a trademark stance, one foot up on the monitor and often leaning back, his expression while playing showed so much enthusiasm, grit and true passion. It’s obviously a real pleasure for him to perform these songs live.
They continued with Another Heart, which held a fantastically heavy portion a little over halfway through the song. Out of nowhere, it took a turn that was equal parts madness and brilliance. The double bass drumming from Ryan Bennett was monstrous and the solo from Mark melted more than a few faces. Even the lighting above the stage perfectly mimicked the chaos being played on stage. Off and on during the night, bassist Tanner Keegan had more air under his feet than stage. However, as you watched him play and react to the songs, his appearance seemed to transform into something else. A form of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, if you will.
For those new to Tremonti, Mark didn’t always sing, let alone sing lead. When they slowed it down a bit with The Things I’ve Seen and The First The Last, the audience was able to really grasp his ability in this role. Guitarist Eric Friedman, who is an excellent guitar companion, also pulled double duty with backing vocals on more than a few songs. As a four piece band, they have all bases covered for a full and well-rounded wall of sound.
The set continued with Flying Monkeys, which in my opinion is the greatest song on Cauterize. (Check it out for yourself.) The slow and steady, deep churning that runs throughout the song eventually gives way to some of the best harmonizing. Hearing it live is even better for your senses.
Throw Them To The Lions, the second of three songs from A Dying Machine, was another fast-paced ear bender. There time was almost up and they were going for broke. It was so loud, not that I was complaining, they must have had all the dials turned to 11. Heck, their entire set was at a volume unlike any other band that played that night. If it was possible to literally blow the roof off the place, it was during their set.
The second to last song of the night was title track, A Dying Machine. For those that might not know, not only is this a concept album, Mark teamed up with John Shirley for an accompanying book. More details here.
To close out their time, Tremonti gave the Chicago crowd one last dose of the nonstop barrage they had been dishing out from the start of the show. Wish You Well was not only the exclamation point at the end of their performance, it was also the last few words Mark spoke to the crowd, “We wish you well until next time.”
Read our review of Sevendust here.
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