CONCERT REVIEW: Tremonti – Hawxx Live at SWG3

Guitar Gods rarely look backward in coming forward. Mark Tremonti, for instance, has recently aligned his star with none other than a certain Frank Sinatra – but more of that later. The pressing matter in hand is the fretboard master’s ongoing tour of the UK and Europe.

The Detroit-born, Florida-based Tremonti has long delivered superior quality guitar/voice/songwriting, across Creed, Alter Bridge, and this, his “other” band – he is an aces all-round axe hero, with the nous to select and secure a team of musicians who are worthy of his playing chops. This superlative shredder has a penchant for surprisingly real-world emotional anthems. “Real-world emotional”? Try this from his ‘Marching In Time’: “Don’t ever forget/ This world’s not claimed you yet/ And all you’ve come to be/ So, go in peace/ So am I/ I’m worn and I’m tired/ Take your life/ And go and thrive/ Don’t let this cold world change you/ Don’t ever go astray, and don’t you/ Fail to keep on giving/ Don’t ever lose your strength, no …”


That song seems to be a love letter to family, written and recorded during the pandemic but with a vision of the future, spiced up and loved up by a cathartic hope. Tremonti’s own band gives him the opportunity to pour out this inspirational kind of thing, gives him the opportunity to front up and sing lead, which he clearly enjoys and excels at.

So the Tremonti live experience is not “just” about superb lead guitar work. And much of his spirited technical audacity is wrapped up in and among his rhythm playing and the righteous, recurring rhapsody of it, in cahoots with long-time second guitarist Eric Friedman (bassist Tanner Keegan and drummer Ryan Bennett make up the accomplished and impressive four-piece). When he is mellifluously and melodiously soloing, Tremonti showcases his own bright and distinctive tone while also reminding me at times of the similarly melodic German great Michael Schenker.


Highlights of the 19-song Glasgow set included ‘If Not For You’, ‘Let That Be Us’, the title songs from Tremonti albums ‘Cauterize’, ‘Dust’, ‘Dying Machine’ and the aforementioned ‘Marching In Time’, and the blast from the past of ‘Decay’ (from All I Was).

That Ol’ Blue Eyes reference takes us back to the concepts of “family” and “hope”, and back to the Tremonti Sings Sinatra album, a charity effort with all proceeds going to the National Down Syndrome Society, as already documented by Ghost Cult Magazine (Tremonti’s daughter Stella was diagnosed Down Syndrome. If you want to do your bit to help while doing yourself a musical favour, check out his Sinatra songs).

The Glasgow crowd simply adored Tremonti’s performance at SWG3, with Keegan and Friedman operating above and beyond as delightfully demonic cheerleaders, as if the fans needed any further encouragement – not for nothing have the likes of Rush and AC/DC recorded material for live albums in this city on the Clyde, where Tremonti himself is due to return with the full Alter Bridge set-up in December. Until then we will be marching in time, not backward, but forward, and not in a shy way.

Multi-national, London-based all-female band Hawxx provided decent support on the night and did enough to suggest their vocal harmonies and thoroughly committed approach could yet see them make a more significant mark in the future.