Followers of cult alternative rock music will be able to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience with the announcement that Myles Kennedy, lead singer of the multimillion-selling rock band Alter Bridge, will be performing in South Africa for two shows - one in Cape Town and one in Pretoria - next month.
An Evening with Myles Kennedy promises to be stripped back, intimate and disarming, and the first time that Kennedy will be performing acoustic versions of songs reflecting the repertoire of the magnificent career he has enjoyed to date.
With success stretching over two decades, Kennedy will be sharing the stories behind the rock anthems that raised him to fame and his musical journey.
Kennedy said he would be taking his journey through music dating back 20 years when he started in the business.
“What I plan on doing is a kind of retrospective of the past two decades, things I have been a part of.
“Starting with the Mayfield Four, which is the first band I was a part of that had a record deal. We got to tour nationally, and do some of the things bands dream of, which is kind of where it started for me. I will play material from that, then Alter Bridge and Year of the Tiger.
“I will be pulling out some of my favourite tunes and some of the fan favourites,” he said.
Sorting through some great songs for the performance cannot be an easy task - especially if you’ve had work that’s been the talk of the alternative rock scene.
But one of the songs that stands out for him is Don’t Walk Away from the band’s debut 1998 album Fallout.
“It’s a song that was never really played much, even in Mayfield Four,” Kennedy says.
“That was the song that got the journey started for me. When the powers-that-be in the music industry heard it, they started taking notice and sought out the band. I think having that in the set would be really appropriate.
“Then you have the Alter Bridge era. While I’m still thinking about which songs I want to add to the list, I am thinking about doing a song called Watch Over You acoustically. That’s a song that’s become an important part of Alter Bridge performances, and since the band hasn’t been out to South Africa before, I will probably play that.
“The genesis of that song is that it was written at a time when I’d just finished with Mayfield Four and I wasn’t sure what I was doing, just trying to figure out where I was going next. And I remember the night that song came to me was a pretty special moment,” he said.
This is, however, not the first time the Alter Bridge frontman has visited the country. About five years ago he performed with Kings of Chaos in Sun City and Cape Town.
Kennedy said that he was excited about being in South Africa, but wouldn’t be drawn into saying just which crowd, between Pretoria’s and Cape Town’s, he was most looking forward to performing for.
He did say, however, that his favourite thing about the country was the scenery and wildlife.
“The one thing I’m very excited about, because we played Sun City, is the experience of the elephants. It was my first interaction with them and it was a pretty life-changing moment for my wife and me.
“I’m looking forward to heading down back that way because I think they’re just the most majestic animals,” Kennedy said.
This year brings new material for Kennedy, with his latest album Year of the Tiger.
“Year of the Tiger is the beginning of the melody, a hook really, that I stumbled on about seven years ago. It was part of a solo project that I ended up shelving.
“The song never really became realised, but the hook was stuck in my head, even years later. I didn’t know what it meant, or what year of the tiger was. I did research and I discovered that in the Chinese zodiac the year of the tiger was in 1974, which is the year that my father passed away when I was a child. I took it as a sign from the universe that it was time.
“It’s a record that deals with that year, dealing with the loss after my father passed and that time in our lives. It’s pretty different from the work that I’ve done with Alter Bridge. It’s a record I’ve always wanted to make, to step away from having loud guitars and drums.
“The arrangements are such that the vocals are more prominent, and I get to use my lower register in singing and really just allow the story to be told in a different way.
“It’s acoustic-based. I also have the chance to play the banjo and just explore a different musical experience than the one I’ve been known for,” Kennedy said.
To his South African followers looking to come to An Evening with Myles Kennedy, he said: “The last time I was there I did a few songs with Kings of Chaos.
“This time around we play the whole night, and I’m going to show up with acoustic guitars, resonators and armed with my catalogue of the last 20 years with a different approach, making the music speak for itself and building the connections with them that way.”
Tickets are available now from R395 at Computicket.
* An Evening with Myles Kennedy will be presented by AMP Events at the Grand Arena, GrandWest on March 6 and at the Sun Arena, Time Square, Menlyn in Pretoria on March 10.