A Tale Of Two Singers: Creed vs. Alter Bridge

Creed: Live (DC3 Global)
RIYL: The sound of dogs being murdered underwater, Nickelback

Alter Bridge Live In Amsterdam (DC3 Global)
RIYL: Seether, 3 Doors Down, Daughtry

Remember Creed? Yeah, me too. In fact I’m still in the support group. Their reunion tour was the first in an unholy trinity of ’90s reunion announcements (the other two being Blink-182 and Limp Bizkit), and this live DVD captures the band’s Second Coming in all its horror. It’s been a few years, but Creed still sounds like Creed, a plodding combination of Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and every mid-’90s Christian rock band you never heard. However, the downtime has not been kind to singer Scott Stapp; he can’t hit the notes like he used to, and is frequently flat and out of tune. However, Stapp never sounded all that great to begin with, so you might not notice. What you will notice is that he looks horrible. Easily 20-30 pounds heavier, and before the end of the third song, the man is just drenched in sweat. He doesn’t look fat (hell, he’s thinner than I am, so I’m not one to talk), but he looks unhealthy as hell, as if he needs a tank of oxygen and an adrenaline shot at any minute or he’ll keel over the second he stops his guttural whaling. Behind him the rest of the band just seems like they’re going through the motions, dealing with a frontman they’ve long tired of. Stapp’s lack of endurance means that he takes frequent breaks between songs to talk to the audience and at one point proclaims that “You can change your legacy and destiny, man.” And that may be true, but this DVD sure as hell won’t do it. Hell, even if you liked Creed back in “the day” (the day being the late-’90s/early-’00s) you won’t want to hear/see this incarnation of them. This is a horrible excuse for a concert video and is even below the low standards that Creed fans undoubtedly have.

When Creed got back together, the future of Alter Bridge, the band made up of everyone from Creed except Stapp (with Myles Kennedy replacing him), was immediately called into question. However, they let everyone know right away that they weren’t going anywhere no matter how successful the Creed reunion turned out to be, and after watching their “Live in Amsterdam” DVD, it’s easy to see why. They actually like being in this band. Say what you will about Alter Bridge – they certainly aren’t original and at their best they’re just slightly above average, but their brand of classic rock redux is light years above anything Creed ever put out. And the band seems to know it, as they happily strut around stage, play to the crowd and just seem to have a good time. One can assume that Kennedy is to thank for this; he is a great front man with boundless energy and enthusiasm and he even seems to like his bandmates. And while the songs he’s singing may not always be great, he can sure as hell sing. So, Alter Bridge is a great live band, but their songs are not – and that’s a bit of a bummer. Still, if you like Alter Bridge this is a must-buy, as it showcases a band at the top of its game, happy to perform and happy to be with a lead singer who isn’t a pompous, bloated has-been who’s more suited to front a Meatloaf tribute act.


Our Lady Peace: Burn Burn

Canadian rock band Our Lady Peace has been around for a while – seven studio albums now, to be exact, and their latest, Burn Burn, hit streets last month. And while the members of OLP claim to feel great about having more creative control at this point in their career, they have not used that control to do anything earth-shattering here. In fact, the band has regressed a bit, and has begun to gravitate toward the adult contemporary end of the radio dial. Bands like Creed, Nickelback, and the Goo Goo Dolls have lived in radio suburbia for years, and now OLP has entered the neighborhood, as this batch of songs on Burn Burn are at times catchy, but mostly dull and lifeless. Many bands like this that used to be cool and alternative have softened greatly, having succumbed to years of record execs telling them to write “hits.” The first single off of Burn Burn, “All You Did Was Save My Life,” is a prime example, a formulaic track that you will tire of before the song has even played through. “Dreamland” and “The End Is Where We Began” also lean toward sugary pop, though it’s worth pointing out that singer Raine Maida can still bring it. One of the bright spots here is “Never Get Over You,” which may remind you of the Spiritual Machines days, but mostly, as on “Signs of Life,” there just aren’t many on this album. (LABEL: Warner Music Group)

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