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Bluesfest Review: Slash ft. Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators

By Terry Steeves on July 18, 2014

Slash – the name itself brings to mind his heavy-riffing style merged with iconic classical arpeggios, and the mega hits of Guns & Roses which catapulted him into fame. And then there’s his signature stage look…full of mystique…the expressionless face hidden behind those dark, curly locks, donning that ominous black leather top hat. I had no idea what to expect from Myles Kennedy and the members of Slash’s band, which carry their own name, The Conspirators.

Would they match up to the muscle of a guitar giant like Slash? Were they there to simply play in the background and provide adequate accompaniment? Let me tell you, it was anything but a singer and a band playing second fiddle. Each musician on that stage had equal billing. They played and acted as a tight unit, pumping out high energy selections of songs from Slash’s solo work, and a few GNR tunes for good measure.

Myles Kennedy is a guitarist, songwriter, session musician, and a singer boasting a power packed 4-octave range voice. He is better known as lead vocalist/rhythm & lead guitarist in the band, Alter Bridge. In 2009, Slash began working on his first solo album effort (outside of post GNR bands, Slash’s Snakepit, and Velvet Revolver), which featured various big-named artists.

He invited Kennedy to collaborate on two tracks for the album (Slash – 2010), and thus began the makings of what would become the songwriting dream team for the next 2 albums, Apocalyptic Love (2012), and the soon-to-be-released this fall, World On Fire (2014). Slash brought in musicians, Todd Kerns (bass/bkg vox), Brent Fitz (drums/bkg vox), and Frank Sidoris (rhythm guitar/bkg vox) to add their collaborative efforts and become the band which he would tour with, giving themselves the name, “The Conspirators”. Together with Myles Kennedy taking the helm as lead singer, the boys are currently on a world tour, promoting the new album.

The band came out of the gate full force with the very vibrant, “Ghost” (Apocalyptic Love)…full of that classical repeated arpeggio trademark, and completely enhanced by the band to the eleventh degree. Kennedy’s vocals were very versatile…at times high pitched, but clean, and with just the right amount of raunch. Next came a GNR cover of “Nightrain”, and it was evident that there wasn’t a note Kennedy couldn’t reach. He, along with the other band members had commanding stage presence and an immediate connection with the crowd.

I found Slash’s material to be aggressive and heavy, but very melodic, with lead guitar and vocals being the dominant factor. I especially loved “Anastasia”, (Apocalyptic Love), which began with a gorgeous flowing introductory solo by Slash, then dove into a spirited series of classical scales, and onto a very Mexican flavoured texture. The drums were superb, as was the vocal melody penned by Kennedy…hands down my favorite piece of the night. More original work with the heavy chugging, “You’re A Lie”, featuring a wide vocal range, and an insanely awesome guitar solo. The dark toned, “Slither”, from Slash’s Velvet Revolver days was pulled out of the repertoire, as was a track from their upcoming album of the same name, “World On Fire” (World On Fire), which was a fast-paced ball of energy.

Of course the night wouldn’t have been complete without GNR classics, “Sweet Child Of Mine”, and “Paradise City”, which induced the crowd to join in with their voices…their extended arms swaying back and forth in unison, looking like a wind-swept grassy field from a distance. Slash, Myles Kennedy, and their talented band of Conspirators, won the admiration of the crowd, and set the night…and the crowd on fire.