Thursday, July 4, 2013

Busted knees and Alter Bridge

The last couple of weeks haven’t exactly been super fun.  After picking up a compound fracture of my kneecap in a hockey match a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been laid up at home with my leg in a splint.  For someone as physically active as me, this has been pretty tough going.  On the bright side, two weeks down, four weeks to go on the splint front.

You would think that would have meant I would’ve played a bunch of music, but actually I haven’t, not nearly as much as I thought.  I’ve done a bit of work from home, played some video games, messed around on the ipad, but I haven’t listened to a lot of music.  The stuff I have played has been somewhat half-hearted background listens to albums that probably deserved better – the new Run the Jewels collaboration, Testament’s Souls of Black, a slightly obscure DJ Shadow mix.

Anyway for no reason in particular this morning I put on Alter Bridge’s Blackbird with breakfast.  I’ve mentioned before that I consider Alter Bridge to be almost criminally under-rated – they’re one of the few genuinely excellent hard rock bands to have emerged post-2000.  Great songs, great musicians, and one of the few genuine front men of the current generation in Myles Kennedy.  I was lucky enough to catch them in Sydney last February at the Metro and they were outstanding live as well (putting aside the fact that the gig actually buggered the humidity sensor on my iphone and for some reason it spent the next two weeks thinking it was connected to a dock!).

It started out pretty well – it is a very good album – but there were a couple of particular moments that just lifted my mood immeasurably and I realised what a grumpy shit I had probably been for a couple of weeks (but hey, missing out on an entire snowboarding season and most of a hockey season will do that to you…).

First, Buried Alive.  The first three chords of this song made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.  It’s one of my favourite AB songs, but more than that, it was on my snowboarding playlist when we were at Whistler in January.  Now, there are a lot of songs on that playlist, but Buried Alive always seemed to come on at just the right moment.  One day in particular, I remember being particularly pissed off because I’d managed to lose my phone in a snow drift and after an unsuccessful couple of hours digging around for it we gave up and went home.  But then I decided to go back out and go riding that afternoon and had a great afternoon doing laps of Glacier Express, through Crystal and back up via Excelerator or Solar Coaster, on a beautiful sunny day where there was still some great snow around from a big fall 3 days earlier.  And I remember Buried Alive came on just when I was having a great run around the back of Crystal zone, actually managing to do jumps and stuff off the natural features on the side of the trail up there, which I’d only learnt the day before.  It was one of those ‘fuck yeah!’ moments and hearing the song again this morning made me think, there’s a helluva lot more snowboarding to be done beyond this year, and this song will be cranking when I do it.

And no, the irony of a track like Buried Alive on a snowboarding playlist (particularly when there is a ton of fresh powder around) is not lost on me.

Secondly, Rise Today.  Not my favourite Alter Bridge song, but undeniably an uplifting number and a decent, catchy rock song.  Also, excellent live.

Anyway, it’s amazing how a couple of tracks, or even just one, can pull you out of a really major funk.  Cheers, Alter Bridge.  Looking forward to your new album later this year.

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