Highline Ballroom was taken over Wednesday night September 12, 2012 by an onslaught of great rock bands headlined by the Tremonti Project (fronted by guitarist of Creed & Alterbridge Mark Tremonti). The bands were tight, full of energy, and brought an arena-style rock show rock show to a non-arena venue.
Evan Russell Saffer started things off on the right foot. Despite a few technical difficulties and some gaffs, the band performed quite well with much passion and great musicianship. The vocals, both lead and backup, were particularly strong and a highlight of their set. The lead guitar work was quite tasty, and the jam/extension on one of their songs was great and refreshing to see.
Charm City Devils followed, and they brought the hammer down on the stage! These guys were incredible with their groove-oriented hard rock. Their energy was intense, they were pro throughout their whole performance, and are definitely worth keeping an eye out for in the future.
Tremonti, the headliner, had the crowd going crazy. Their set was armed full of heavy metal riffage and plenty of head banging. Radio & TV mogul Eddie Trunk introduced the band, giving Mark Tremonti “metal props” for being a badass, basically. They played pretty much everything from their debut album during their set, spacing out mellower tunes among the heavier ones. As an added treat, Wolfgang Van Halen (son of guitar legend Eddie Van Halen) played bass for the band and did a great job! Everyone else was top notch, especially the backup vocalist and rhythm guitarist Eric Friedman. Tremonti himself was cool, confident, and a very strong frontman during the show. His guitar playing was fantastic, and he played with feel and intensity. He was quite humble, and expressed his gratitude toward his band and the other bands, both on the bill and in attendance (giving shoutouts to the members of Sevendust who were all in the crowd, as well as Gotham Rocks veterans Eve To Adam).
Overall it was a great night and a big show in an intimate venue. It was interesting to see someone who has been in some of the biggest rock bands in the world (consequently also playing some of the biggest stages in the world) perform at a smaller venue with a completely different project. The love of music runs deep with all of these bands and it’s refreshing to see that the fire hasn’t left Tremonti. It was inspiring to see that for all of these guys, no matter how big or small the stage, it’s all about the music and connecting with people. Well done, fellas, well done.