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Concert Reviews:
Myles Kennedy stakes his own musical claim with solo show at the Crofoot
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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PONTIAC -- Myles Kennedy warned the crowd at the Crofoot Ballroom on Thursday night, May 24, that “I’m just gonna play a bunch of songs, probably say a bunch of stupid (stuff), just fly by the seat of my pants.”

And that was just fine by the fans that came to see the Alter Bridge/Slash singer’s engaging solo show, an engaging nearly two hours showcasing not only Kennedy’s deeply personal first solo album, “Year Of The Tiger” but musical touchstones from throughout his lengthy career -- up to and including a cameo in the 2001 film “Rock Star.”

The 48-year-old Kennedy has enjoyed a Gump-like career that’s also included consideration for Velvet Revolver and a latter-day Led Zeppelin. He’s covered a lot of musical ground, in other words, and on Thursday he demonstrated that range -- as well as a Valhalla-worthy upper vocal register -- over the course of 19 songs. “Year of the Tiger” got its due as Kennedy performed six of the album’s songs, including the show-opening “Devil on the Wall” and an affecting encore of “Love Can Only Heal.”

But Kennedy didn’t shy away from his high-profile “day jobs,” either, leading audience singalongs for favorites from the Alter Bridge (“Addicted To Pain,” “All Ends Well,” “Watch Over You”) and Slash (“Standing In The Sun,” “World On Fire”) catalogs. He also dipped back to his first recording band, the Mayfield Four, for “Mars Hotel” and “White Flag,” and rolled out a selection of covers nodding to his musical roots, including Led Zeppelin’s “Going To California,” a galloping acoustic take on Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper,” Robert Johnson’s “Travelling Riverside Blues” (with a bit of Zep’s “The Lemon Song” tossed in) and a stark rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

And, yes, Kennedy sang a bit of Steel Dragon’s “Stand Up” from “Rock Star.” Twice.

Kennedy proved an affable onstage host as well. With just a backdrop, a stool and a selection of acoustic instruments -- and assisted by tour manager Tim Tournier on second guitar for two songs -- Kennedy struck a good balance of talk and tunes, with an easy, self-deprecating humor that made the show feel that much more intimate. He made some fun of the lyric book sitting beside him on a music stand and called himself “the clam master” for hitting wrong notes. When his voice cracked while introducing “Addicted To Pain,” Kennedy quipped, “I meant to do that. I finally hit puberty” -- which led into stories about being a “late bloomer” whose cheeks were pinched by high school classmates who thought he was somebody’s little brother.

Kennedy will be getting busy again soon with both Slash and Alter Bridge. But with “The Year of the Tiger” and Thursday’s show he took a welcome moment to illustrate what he brings to those bands, and how much he has to offer on his own.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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