Son of Apollo are a super group currently on a world tour which included a stop at 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville, Tennessee on Friday, May 11, 2018. In some ways this larger than life band was too big for the stage at this popular pub but being the professionals that they are SOA managed to make it work.
Apollo is the god of music, poetry, the sun, truth and more. One might consider it arrogant to call one’s band Sons of Apollo. However, when that quintet consists of former Dream Theater members Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (ex-Guns N’ Roses), Billy Sheehan (The Winery Dogs, Mr. Big, David Lee Roth) and Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Journey, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force) the name fits.
Stylistically it’s hard not to compare SOA’s debut Psychotic Symphony to Dream Theater as Sons of Apollo is also heavy and progressive, yet the above mentioned musicians bring their own strengths and style to songs packed with riveting rhythms, rousing riffs and soaring vocals. The nine-track collection also echoes of classic hard rock with Deep Purple coming to mind.
Middle Eastern sounds permeated through the venue as Sons of Apollo took the stage to present a sizzling version of “God of the Sun” the opening track from Psychotic Symphony. Both Billy and Ron were armed with double neck instruments. They used these hefty tools of the trade throughout the concert which focused mainly on their debut album. Other highlights included a stunningly tricky “Signs of the Time” flowing into “Divine Addiction” which allowed Derek to strut his stuff as he manipulated multiple keyboards.
“This is the smallest stage we have played so far,” observed singer Jeff Scott Soto but he still stalked the platform making it a point to encourage the crowd to clap and sing along. Soto was a strong presence throughout the night adding to an already power packed sound. Mike Portnoy later commented on having an opportunity to see a “different side of Nashville”. The dynamic drummer has become accustomed to playing progressive Christian concerts in the Music City area with his friend Neal Morse.
In addition to stellar solos and the current material SOA gave a nod to the past with Dream Theater’s “Just Let Me Breathe” and “Lines In The Sand.” Other covers included “The Prophet Song/Save Me” (Queen) and a fun take on “The Pink Panther Theme.” For their encore Jeff had made his way to the bar as he led the audience and band through a lively version of Van Halen’s “And the Cradle Will Rock” and a compelling heavy “Coming Home.” Sons of Apollo presented a thunderous live performance thus proving that they are rock gods and worthy of their name.
Opening for Sons of Apollo was Felix Martin a Venezuelan guitarist who is pioneering a style of playing the electric guitar by performing simultaneously with two of them as if they were one. Felix fronting a rhythm section showcased an innovative instrumental set that blended progressive, rock and world tones. Prior to Martin’s impressive set the band Sifting from Los Angeles presented their take on potent progressive metal to the crowd at Third and Lindsley which is a well-established venue in Nashville. The club hosts up and coming acts along with well-known artists such as Sons of Apollo. The bar & grill has a number of regular residencies so please check their website for their full calendar.
The rest of the Sons put their power on display in SoBro.