Myles Kennedy, best known as guitarist and vocalist in Alter Bridge and singer in Slash’s solo band, released his hotly anticipated solo debut earlier in March. Year of the Tiger tells the deeply personal story of losing his father at the age of four, and the lessons he learned as he and his mother strived to overcome the grief and rebuild their life. In celebration of this new record and his long and varied career, Myles Kennedy played a solo acoustic show at London’s Islington Assembly Hall as part of his UK tour.
Opener ‘Devil on the Wall’ from Year of the Tiger gave a strong indication of what was to follow – a rich full sound despite the sole guitar, with Myles’s impressive vocals on top. As he proceeded with ‘Standing in the Sun’ from his time with Slash and ‘Before Tomorrow Knows’ by his main band, it was evident that the setlist would be referencing all stages of his varied career so far.
This approach to song choice allowed Myles to avoid the trappings of so many one-man-with-an-acoustic shows that boil down to ’15 ballads and cellphone flashlights’. Leftfield choices like a post-apocalyptic rendition of Slash’s ‘World on Fire’ or the full-on acoustic metal of ‘Addicted to Pain’ kept things fresh and showcased Kennedy’s versatility. Besides, it only took one call to “see those hands” from Myles before the entire audience was clapping in unison, providing him with a solid drumbeat.
Kennedy’s new album was also given its due attention with five cuts. Some of the songs from Year of the Tiger had a slightly darker sound to them performed just on an acoustic, without the country and rockabilly flare of the studio recordings. It was telling, however, that you could hear just as many shoutout requests for album tracks as you could for some of the best-loved songs from Kennedy’s back catalogue.
Living up to his reputation as one of rock’s kindest and down-to-earth musicians, Myles was candid and jokey with the crowd, at one time resorting to a self-deprecating story about dancing in order to impress his future wife (complete with an awkward robot dance), as it transpired he had been given the wrong guitar for the next song. The cherry on top came as we saw an on-stage marriage proposal from two audience members which fortunately received a positive answer. A fitting closer was then provided by the cathartic ‘Love Can Only Heal’ which serves as an emotional climax to both the record and tonight’s concert.
With a great new album and a twenty-year history of brilliant records behind him, Myles Kennedy delivered a fantastic show for the London audience. An amazing singer and talented songwriter with his several bands, Myles proved he was just as good an entertainer by himself, accompanied by just an acoustic and the thousand throats of an adoring crowd.
Setlist: Devil on the Wall Standing in the Sun (Slash song) Before Tomorrow Comes (Alter Bridge song) Eden (The Mayfield Four song) All Ends Well (Alter Bridge song) Starlight (Slash song) Haunted By Design Life Must Go On (Alter Bridge song) Blind Faith Mars Hotel (The Mayfield Four song) Losing Patience (Alter Bridge song) Watch Over You (Alter Bridge song) Addicted to Pain (Alter Bridge song) Traveling Riverside Blues (Robert Johnson cover) World on Fire (Slash song) Year of the Tiger
Encore: Going to California (Led Zeppelin cover) Cry of Achilles (Alter Bridge song) Love Can Only Heal