As radio DJ/That Metal Show co-host Eddie Trunk pointed out during his introduction, the Hiro Ballroom is certainly not the type of place you normally see a hard rock show. Yet it was at this Japanese themed night club/ballroom where Adrenaline Mob, the new supergroup featuring Mike Portnoy and Russell Allen, made their live debut this past Friday night (June 24).
Seeing how this was Portnoy’s first time performing original material since leaving Dream Theater, it’s understandable that everyone’s curiosity was at an all time high as we waited in the intimate ballroom. Concert tickets were sold out and the ballroom was packed to the brim. Besides the sampler posted on their Facebook page, this was fans’ chance to material from Adrenaline Mob. So after seeing them perform their entire debut album live, what’s my verdict on Adrenaline Mob?
Well, just like the Facebook sampler, Adrenaline Mob’s debut show further proved that this wasn’t a typical Portnoy project. In other words, fans of Portnoy and Russell Allen’s progressive/experimental style would be surprised by Adrenaline Mob’s mainstream, radio friendly appeal. Though it had its technical moments, the band’s music was somewhat simpler, straight to the core hard rock. A majority of the songs and riffs channeled early Pantera and Dio mixed with Disturbed and Black Label Society’s modern flair. At some points, the songs even featured a similar accessibility heard in bands like Shinedown.
To simply put it, if fans listen to Dream Theater or Symphony X to jam along to, then Adrenaline Mob sound more like a band you’d play in the background while drinking beer or driving fast down a highway. And that’s not meant as an insult, for the songs were very solid indeed. However, it’s definitely not something you’d expect from prog metal’s elite.
While the music may not have been what the audience expected, Adrenaline Mob’s performance met everyone’s expectations. Russell Allen’s strength as both a singer and performer stood out indeed, while Portnoy’s drumming was superb as always. However, it was Adrenaline Mob’s lead shredder Mike Orlando that arguably stole the show with his solid solos, while co-guitarist Rich Ward (also of Fozzy/Stuck Mojo fame) was equally as animated as Allen (playfully interacting with both his band mates and crowd).
When all is said and done, the supergroup possessed a crap load of adrenaline (no pun intended) on stage. The chemistry between each member was evident, so much so that it was somewhat hard to believe that this was their first show ever. While the music may not be as progressive as Portnoy and Allen’s other projects, it was clear that they were not only having fun playing with each other, but also were having a blast performing that material.
Song titles from Adrenaline Mob’s debut album included “Indifferent,” “Hit The Gas,” “Hit The Wall,” and “Angel Sky,” to name a few. The band kicked off the night with Black Sabbath’s “Mob Rules.” The rest of the set included covers of Dio’s “Stand Up And Shout,” Bandland’s “Highwire,” (a surprisingly heavy rendition of) Duran Duran’s “Come Undone,” and an encore of Sabbath’s “War Pigs.”
The band and venue were strict about any photography and recording. However, Adrenaline Mob posted audio of their “Mob Rules” cover on their YouTube account, which can be heard up top.