Uefa Euro’s 2016 Predictions

The Euros started last night and really I couldn’t care less. TV is so bad that it’s good to have 3 games of football to watch every day for a week but I don’t care who wins. The best thing about football being back on is that I have something to gamble on again. International football may be boring, but you can always spice it up by having money riding on it. So although I’m not excited for the football, I am excited that PaddyPower get to take some more of my money.

I’ll start with England as technically I’m ‘supposed’ to be supporting them. They’re not being quite as hyped as much as they were 2 years ago when they flopped in the World Cup although most bookies in this country do have them down as the 3rd favourites to win the tournament for some reason. As an Evertonian I find it ludicrous that Roy has taken Stones over Jagielka after the season he has had and Bertrand over Baines. If there’s one thing England lack it’s a left footed set piece specialist and neither Rose or Bertrand can provide that.

There were some more odd decisions from Roy that could prove to be fatal, none more stupid than taking Jack Wilshere over Danny Drinkwater. Wilshere having played next to no football for the entire season while Drinkwater helped Leicester to the league title with consistency throughout the season. Jordan Henderson is another one, injured a lot this season and been poor when he’s played, not at all liked by Klopp and I feel like he could be handing the captaincy over to Milner at Liverpool next season. Also Marcus Rashford and Dele Ali. There’s no doubt that these two are amazing talents but they should still be playing for the under 21’s. Ali has a lot to learn and I think it’ll be a miracle if he doesn’t get a red card in this tournament and that could ruin a big game for England. Rashford I don’t think will actually get on the pitch because of the abundance of better strikers at Roy’s disposal, and with all those strikers, just get Rashford more experience with the under 21’s and add a centre back, a position in which they definitely don’t have an abundance of players. Suffice to say I don’t have high hopes for England this year, could be another early exit.

France are most people’s favourites, not only for their vast array of talent but also because of the home advantage. Their first game last night was underwhelming and Romania almost spoilt the party but Dmitri Payet silenced any doubters with an absolute screamer. As for me I won £28 and £10 worth of free bets so France started off the tournament well for them and for me. They’re a good team and have an easy group. If they get anything less than the Semi-Final it’ll be a real disappointment because they certainly have a winning squad, just a bit suspect at the back.

World Cup winners Germany are always my pick for the big tournaments and this year is no difference. They don’t have the experience they once did with the youngest average squad but they always have the best team chemistry and have a lot of goal-scorers and game-winners. It might not always be crowd-pleasing football but I think Germany will win.

Belgium and Italy are the other names being mentioned as potential winners. Belgium have a very desirable attacking squad with Lukaku, Benteke, and Origi all vying for the centre forward role. They’ll be supported by a vast array of talent behind them including Eden Hazard who may not have had the best of seasons but finished it strongly and always has the potential to light up a team and the tournament. At the back they have one of the best goalkeepers in the World in Courtois but without Vincent Kompany there will be a lack of leadership and that team can definitely leak goals. Italy are a bit like Germany in the way that they don’t play like a group of individuals from different clubs they play as a team. Their communication is always good and that makes them good at the back and good in possession. Whether they have the goals in them I don’t know but they could scrape through a lot of games with 1-0 wins against the poor teams and the strong teams.

Spain I think are the dark horses of the competition. Forgotten about a bit in recent years and had an awful World Cup but they’ll be eager to make up for that and certainly have the team to do well. They have a seemingly easy group and if they get their confidence up and top the group they could be well on their way to winning. If David De Gea can continue his form he could make up for any gaps in the back 4 like he did all season for Man Utd and although you don’t think of goalkeepers as being match winners, he certainly is. At the other end of the pitch they’ll have Morata, my tip for the highest goalscorer in the tournament. He’s been excellent all season but this is his real chance to shine and I think he will.

Every team seems to have one big name; Portugal with Ronaldo, Wales with Bale, Poland with Lewendowski, but whether or not any of those teams can do anything with that one player as inspiration is another story. They’re definitely all game-changing players so one bit of magic from any of them against one of the big teams could provide the tournament with a big upset. I’ve also heard a few things about Iceland, Austria, and Croatia, all teams that pundits think could be the one to provide the shock and knock out one of the big teams.

Of the other home nations I don’t think Ireland or Northern Ireland will be much of a threat to anyone, but Wales have a reasonably strong squad. As much as they will be reliant on Bale, a lot of teams would love Ashley Williams at the heart of their defense. He’ll organise them at the back and is capable of making goal-saving tackles. They’ll also have Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen in the midfield. Ramsey hasn’t had the season he did last year but he’s a good player and pops up with important goals. Joe Allen has been an under-rated game changer this year for Liverpool and thrived when he got the chance due to Henderson’s injury. I can be him being a big part of Wales success.

I do like watching football but I feel like most of this tournament will only be worth watching when I have money on the line. The most important thing though is that I hope there are no terrorism or violence issues that overshadow the whole competition and that everyone who’s in France for the tournament stays safe while they’re there.

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French Open Prediction

I’ve barely watched any tennis since the Australian Open and I wasn’t even sure what channel the French Open was on this year until it started, it was really badly advertised. Sadly the most devastating thing that could have happened in the tournament happened before it even started when Roger Federer pulled out through injury, ending his incredible run of consecutive grand slams. I didn’t know if there was even any point in bothering to watch it to be honest but we’ve just finished the third day and the quality of tennis has been amazing.

Everything is pointing towards a Djokovic victory, but then again I thought that last year as well before he was derailed in the final. Having said that he has just been beaten in a clay court final against Andy Murray and as much as he usually bottles it on the big stage against Djokovic that win will have given him the confidence to be a real threat to the World No.1. That is even if he makes it to the final. His first two rounds have both gone to 5 sets and at times he’s looked tired and like he simply doesn’t want to be on court.
Then we have the King of Clay Rafael Nadal who hasn’t really been the King of any court for a while now but he has been progressing again and it would be stupid to rule out the 9-time champion. There is of course always a chance that a home favourite could prevail. Simon and Gasquet have both been on excellent form for the past couple of years and we’ve already seen what home advantage can do with wildcard Mathias Bourgue putting on a resilient and flamboyant display to take Andy Murray to 5 sets. Although the higher ranked French players are all more suited to grass than clay the French crowd could help one of them to surprise success.
Lastly we have the reigning champion Stan Wawrinka. A surprise winner last year with a perfect showing of mental and physical strength throughout the tournament culminating in an epic final against Djokovic, Stan always poses a threat and relishes being considered the underdog. He too, like Murray, has started sluggisly but he’s still in it and when he finds his form and he’s timing his backhand to perfection, he’s an unstoppable force.

I don’t want to be disparaging about women’s tennis but I just don’t know anything about it anymore. I know the woman who won the Australian Open is already out and Serena Williams and Heather Watson are still in. I only know about the latter because when a British person gets past the first round of anything in any sport they become a temporary national hero. Serena Williams should be winning every tournament every year because her best is so much better than everybody else’s best, she just doesn’t turn up sometimes and gets beaten to somebody nobody has ever heard of or ever will again. The Grand Slam then ends up getting won by someone outside the top 20, and said woman then complains that the women aren’t getting as much money as the men. The actual tennis then takes a backseat to the financial politics of it all. Sometimes that’s not even worth complaining about though because the quality of women’s tennis is so bad that unless Serena Williams is playing, nobody cares about it.

Doubles and mixed doubles will as per usual get little to no coverage in this country despite Jamie Murray’s success and it’s popularity in the Davis Cup. Apparently ITV and Eurosport have just decided that unless it’s Wimbledon or The Davis Cup, we don’t care about doubles tennis. As much as I agree that doubles is a more entertaining game on the grass, it’s a much more tactical game than singles and is often a lot more enjoyable to watch.
I’d talk about my own tennis season thus far but as we’ve played 4 matches and lost them all I don’t think I’ll bother.

New Girl – Season 5

Another hilarious season of New Girl has gone by but has sadly ended with the same ‘cliffhanger’ (if you can call it that at this point) of ‘what’s going to happen between Nick and Jess?’ I think every season has ended with this question lingering now and it’s getting tiresome.

I love New Girl, after The Big Bang Theory it is my 2nd favourite sitcom that is still ongoing, but that same question has been looming forever and when you finally start to think it’s gone for good it just comes back in serious finale. Fortunately that was only the last episode (possibly the last two I don’t remember) and there hasn’t been any focus on it at all this season up to that point. Instead we’ve had Cece and Schmidt getting engaged and married, Winston becoming a cop and falling in love with his partner Aly, and a really well done romance between Nick and Reagan, despite her mainly being an off-screen character after her initial short stint whilst Jess was on Jury Duty/Zooey Deschanel was having a baby.

The level of comedy in this program is perfect for me. It’s a mix between intelligent comedy and very easy childish comedy and is seen in the dialogue, silly little scenes when there’s a prank or something goes wrong, and the characters personalities. Elizabeth Meriweather’s comedy writing is second to none and is very reminiscent of Friends but with an obvious 21st century modernised twist. Being forced to write Zooey Deschanel out of the program for a few episodes completely changed the rest of the series with a new character, 2 new plots, and a change of love interest for Nick. Zooey’s temporary replacement was Megan Fox and as much as I didn’t think much of her as an actress because of Transformers and other things she’s actually really good in this and was a shrewd casting choice. Refreshing as it was to have a new actress join the cast, all of the cast in this program are amazing. I feel like Zooey Deschanel plays the same quirky cute character in pretty much everything and from the interviews I’ve seen with her it seems that she’s just playing herself. None of the other actors are particularly famous and I think it’s the writing of the characters that makes them look good but that’s taking nothing away from any of them. They bring the characters to life and do the writing justice and that’s what makes a good actor.

Overall I don’t think this program is getting better or worse really, it’s steadily staying as funny as it has always been. Following the trend of 20-25 episodes per season suits New Girl perfectly. It keeps the audience interested for the entire season with a nice amount of different plots and changes taking place and leaves enough time to keep us in anticipation for several months before the next season starts. Let’s just hope we get an end to all the Nick and Jess nonsense and they either get together and stay together or never get together at all.

Captain America: Civil War – 2016

For the first time in about 18 months I actually went out with another human being to the cinema and paid a ridiculous amount of money to watch a film that cost a ridiculous amount of money to make.

I watch these Superhero films to be part of the mindless herd of sheep that Marvel gobble up money from because obviously you’re just not cool unless you’ve seen The Avengers, which despite its name, this film basically is; the only characters it’s missing are Thor, The Hulk, and the people from SHIELD; and rather than just make a film with a few less characters in they’ve decided to over-compensate and add an additional abundance of characters with Ant-Man, Spiderman, Black Panther, Falcon, War Machine, and The Winter Soldier. There is a slight focus on Captain America and Iron-Man but there’s so many sub-plots going on surrounding the two main plots that it’s hard to keep track or really care about keeping track for that matter.
The acting is excellent as you would expect from the amount of high calibre and high profile actors and actresses in the film although I’m not sure how I feel about the new Spiderman (tangential story to come later). At this point in the franchise I feel like most of the actors are just playing themselves as they imagine they would be with superpowers. Their characters are all famous, rich, get noticed in any busy street in the world, and divide opinion. The only differences are the costumes and abilities and most of that is done with stuntmen and CG anyway.

The storyline itself (despite how many there are) is actually rather good. Very different from the usual formula of thousands of bad guys led by one really bad guy against a small band of superheroes who don’t really get on. The second part of the films title isn’t at all misleading as there is indeed a ‘Civil War’ between ‘Team Captain America’ and ‘Team Iron-Man’ because of disagreements to do with the governments of the World regulating The Avengers and because of The Winter Soldier. New guy Black Panther and Iron-Man both want to kill The Winter Soldier for different reasons and Captain America wants to protect him and let him help because he believes he’s been framed and knows he isn’t always in control of his own mind. All the other superheroes are back and forth on whose team to join, fighting and then not fighting again until there are two perfectly balanced teams for the culminating battle in the airport of all places. Suffice to say aeroplanes are used as weapons in this 15 minute action-packed scene that really delivered when it mattered because you do rely on these films for a mass amount of action and explosions. The thing I liked about this action scene and this does go for The Avengers films as well, they spread out the focus on each superhero really well, giving them all a little cameo appearance in the spotlight. I think that’s what allows people to choose a favourite more freely. It’s a good marketing ploy on the part of Marvel more than anything. The more they spread the favouritism, the more adaptations they can make and different merchandise they can sell. The only problem I have with this final battle is that I’m not sure it’s close enough to the end of the film and because of that the actual ending becomes unimportant and disappointingly forgettable. It’s not the most predictable end but it’s certainly not an exciting end either. There’s also another little post-credits segment just in case we didn’t already know they’re going to keep milking these Marvel films until they’re costing more than they’re making, and as they hit $1 Billion worldwide yesterday that could be a very long time.

All in all this is a solid film, a lot better than the previous Captain America films and actually probably better than The Avengers films as well, certainly not as action packed but a much more thought out story. Only really two small problems, the name, because it should just be called The Avengers, and the non-eventful ending. I have no idea what film of this Avenger based series is coming out next but I’m pretty sure I’ll watch it. X-Men is definitely the next superhero film on my watch list though, who knows I may even pay to see that too.

Tangential story about Tom Holland (Spiderman):
I’m not sure if any of this was filmed in Liverpool or some other film he was doing was but for some reason or other he was on a night out in Liverpool and tried to get into the club that I work in on a Monday night (The Blue Angel/The Raz). Monday night is a rather busy night for us, mostly due to students from The University of Liverpool so we often have a few hundred people queuing up outside. Tom Holland being the ‘celebrity’ that he thinks he is decided that because he was Spiderman, he would tell everyone and that meant he could jump the queue. He was however unceremoniously removed from the queue by our 6’8 bouncer who apparently told him that he has a Spiderman onesie so is Spiderman on the weekends too. In Tom Holland’s defence he didn’t leave kicking and screaming as a lot of people do, but he still seems like a bit of a dick.

Daredevil – Season 2

*Major Spoiler Alert*

The first season of Daredevil was excellent and I barely had a bad word to say about it. The second season was better in some ways and worse in some ways. Where the first season had a solid structure and Fisk was the one and only nemesis if you will of Daredevil, this season was a bit all over the place, a lot of bad guys, and then bad guys turning good and then turning bad again and it all got a bit confusing. Having said that I did binge watch all 13 episodes in 2 days so that might have contributed to scrambling my brain a little bit. The mass amount of bad guys in this season makes it both a good thing and a bad thing though.

Firstly we have Frank Castle/The Punisher played by Jon Bernthal, a seasoned actor now but best known by me as Shane from The Walking Dead  in a not too dissimilar role really. In The Walking Dead he is a sort of anti-hero because he is part of the main group of survivors but at the same time he’s trying to sleep with the main characters wife again. In this he plays the anti-hero who is trying to rid Hell’s Kitchen of crime by brutally murdering members of The Cartel, The Irish, and The Dogs of Hell biker gang. We find out later why he specifically targeted those groups but before we find that out he is the first and best bad guy of the season. He is an intriguing character throughout and Jon Bernthal does an excellent job of portraying him both as the typical murderous villain, and as the war veteran anti-hero.

The next new main character that we are introduced to is Elektra. I’m really conflicted about both the character and Elodie Yung, the actress that plays her. They obviously had to introduce her at some point because she goes hand in hand with Daredevil, they couldn’t really make a Daredevil series without Elektra. Firstly and most annoyingly is her accent. I don’t know what it’s supposed to be, it seems to switch between a sort of posh British accent and a Latin American accent but Elodie Yung is of Cambodian and French descent and was born in Paris so I have no idea what her natural accent would actually be. The character is really annoying quite honestly and so was that part of the storyline in the earlier episodes she was in. I did enjoy the cameo’s from Stick because I find him quite amusingly blunt but generally the Elektra storyline let the middle of the season down a bit.

Fortunately that part of the storyline came together towards the end of the season when we find out about the ancient Ninja clan, The Hand, fronted by Nobu, a ninja assassin from the first season who has seemingly been immortalised. They are seeking what they call Black Sky, which we find out is Elektra and that is why they are seeking her out. There are parts of this season that at the time I thought were awful but in the final 2 episodes then made sense so a lot of the Elektra/The Hand storyline does seem messy but comes together really well in the end.

Then we move on to the occurring characters, there hasn’t been a lot of change in any of the main three characters. Matt Murdock/Daredevil (Charlie Cox) is still quite an elusive character on a personal level, he still isn’t involved in a massive amount of dialogue as himself and the the dialogue he is in as Daredevil he tends to deflect talking about himself to talk about the other person or to find something out. Foggy (Elden Henson) is still as witty as ever but has a much more aggressive side to him this season, standing up to Matt a lot more than he did in the previous season. I absolutely love his character and Elden Henson does an amazing job with it. I don’t remember what I said about Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) in my review of the first season but I really don’t like her. I don’t know if it’s the actress or the character but she just really annoys me, getting in everyone’s way, her on/off feelings for Matt, her weird feelings for Frank, it’s all just a bit pointless.

I’m a bit mixed on where it leaves the next season. Obviously Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) makes a couple of appearances in this season, albeit from prison and has now made enemies of both Daredevil and The Punisher so I assume he is going to be released from prison at some point during the next season and become the main enemy again. He makes an excellent nemesis and crime lord but hopefully there is more to the third season than just him. Bullseye will obviously have to make an appearance at some point, whether that will be in the next season I don’t know. I’ve also been told there is another Netflix season in production which sees Daredevil and a few other Marvel characters that Netflix are bringing to life again like they have with Jessica Jones. The other part of the story, the Matt Murdock part as opposed to the Daredevil part I have no idea what they’re going to do with. Murdock and Nelson has been disbanded so there is no longer a daytime job for him to go and do. They’ve already integrated Karen Page into another job as a journalist but I don’t know what they’re going to do with Foggy, but I won’t be happy if he’s not in the next season.

It’ll be interesting to see where it all goes but sadly there’s a long time to go before that. I’ll be eagerly anticipating the next season and any other Marvel series that Netflix has in store for us but for now I’m happy to say that this is up there with The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones as one of the best programs on TV right now.

Ant-Man – 2015

“Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, cat burglar Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.”

This is going to be one of my rare all-positive reviews of a film because I absolutely loved it. Not a typical superhero film and I was afraid it was going to be similar to The Green Hornet which I think everyone can agree was just dreadful but this was just perfect. I have to compare it to that because Paul Rudd, like Seth Rogen, is typically seen in comedic roles and this is a massive change. I think the problem Seth Rogen had is that his comedy is usually a lot more vulgar and that change was a bit too drastic for him, whereas Paul Rudd just acted like a typical Paul Rudd character but in a superhero film. I’m not sure it should have worked but it definitely did.

It wasn’t just Paul Rudd though I thought the whole casting was pretty good. Michael Douglas is obviously good in everything, Evangeline Lilly isn’t exactly a household name but she was pretty good too, and Corey Stoll, again not somebody I particularly recognised but he was good. The whole concept of the film and Ant-Man as a superhero is ridiculously stupid but because of the casting choice it somehow works.

I can’t actually think of anything specific I liked about it though. I tend not to like recent superhero films because they’re over-hyped with a massive budget but this didn’t have either of those. The budget wasn’t small but it wasn’t like The Avengers, and other than die-hard superhero film fans nobody really cared about this film. I’ve never been one to love Oscar nominated films, I much prefer films that just go under the radar all year and that’s what this did, especially with all the other superhero films around these days.

I’m not sure how I feel about Ant-Man being in the new Captain America film coming out this year but that might just be because I don’t really like Captain America, but I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel to this as much as it’s a long way away and I’m always looking forward to seeing Paul Rudd in any upcoming comedy films he’s in. I would definitely recommend Ant-Man to anyone though and for anyone who didn’t enjoy it first time, I would say give it another go.

Alter Bridge – My Top 10 Songs

So it was the 12 year anniversary of Alter Bridge at the start of this week so it seems only fitting that I write a post about my favourite band. I can’t pinpoint the exact time when I first discovered Alter Bridge, it may have been when Edge started using Metalingus as his theme song in WWE but it feels like about 10 years or so. It sounds sad but I feel like they’ve been a vital part in my life. They have a song for every emotion so no matter what mood you’re in, you can always play a bit of Alter Bridge. My 10 will be mainly quite typical I think, but hopefully at least one will surprise you.

10. New Way to Live

One of the bonus tracks from Blackbird, “New Way to Live” goes pretty unnoticed to everyone except the die hard AB fans but it was one of my early favourites and continues to be so. Although if I were introducing someone to Alter Bridge I would go for the more obvious songs like “Addicted to Pain” or “Metalingus” I feel like this song has everything that summed up a good rock band in the late 2000’s and summed up the general tone of Alter Bridge at the time. It might not be an epic or the most memorable song they have written but it reminds me of the consistent excellence that AB provide across the board.

9. Slip to the Void

I struggled to get to grips with ABIII when it first came out so I found myself listening to this song a lot simply because it was the first track on the album. I feel like this is a forgotten song because it precedes “Isolation” which really kicks off the heavier side of the album and was the first and most successful single released from the album. However “Slip to the Void” provides both sides of this album into one song. It’s not the happiest song in the world and it’s not intended to be but it’s actually quite a beautifully melancholic song that has always resonated with me.

8. Breath Again

As much as the word mediocre isn’t one I usually associate with Alter Bridge, keep in mind that I am only comparing it to other AB songs when I say that this song for a large part is rather mediocre. It has a mindblowing section though. If you’re a massive Alter Bridge fan, then you’re probably in love with the sound of Myles Kennedy’s voice and there is about 30 seconds of this song that renders me speechless every time I hear it. There are only 2 other songs where Myles Kennedy reaches these ridiculous notes, one of which I will talk about later. The other is “Summergirl” by The Mayfield Four and it is quite spectacular and deserves to mentioned alongside “Breath Again”. I may do a Myles Kennedy top 10 soon which will talk about this song more but for now I will move on.

7. Waters Rising

After the success of ABIII, Myles Kennedy went off to work with Slash which led to Mark Tremonti releasing his first solo album. Any AB fan knows how good Tremonti’s backing vocals are and how good of a song writer he is so it’s no surprise how good that first solo album was. When Alter Bridge then got back together for Fortress it was no surprise that Tremonti had been given the lead vocals on one of the best tracks on the album. There are a lot of exceptional songs on that album so it was hard to stand out but what it did was add another dimension to Alter Bridge that makes them that much better. Fortress was an experimental album and this was one experiment that definitely payed off.

6. One Day Remains

The title track of their first album and it’s still a brilliant song 12 years later. As much as it wasn’t the first song of theirs I heard I feel like there aren’t many bands around who’s debut song is that good. It wasn’t the first single they released, it was never the most popular song on the album, but vocally and lyrically it was and still is superb. Although I feel like they have come a long way since then and Fortress is a much more complete album, there are some songs that just won’t ever get old and this is one of them.

5. Wayward One

Hopefully this is a surprising one, I don’t often see it being quoted or talked about even within other AB related blogs/pages on social media but it has always been one of my favourites. The song is beautifully put together but the end is what makes it truly stand out. It’s one of those songs that when that ending guitar solo starts, I don’t want it to end and that’s why it’s probably the song I’ve put on repeat the most. It’s not the longest solo they’ve done, but for me it’s definitely one of the most memorable. It sort of comes out of nowhere but at the same time connects perfectly with the lyrics and the timing is impeccable. They don’t add another chorus on the end like they do with a lot of songs they just end it with the solo and leave you wanting more.

4. Cry of Achilles

I think this song was a certainty given the name of my blog but I think a lot of people thought it would be number 1 or 2 so hopefully this is surprisingly far down. As a general rock and metal fan though songs just don’t get any more complete than this. It is the first track on an experimental album and it’s one of the strangest yet excellently put together songs I have ever heard. It starts off with a brilliant soft rock acoustic solo for an intro before Myles kicks in with some typically perfect vocals. Then after a few verses and a chorus we get the first of two solo’s. Firstly we have a lengthy melodic soft rock solo, followed by a chorus, then the second solo; a short, scintillating hard rock solo from Tremonti. Despite the solos, the last 30 seconds of this song is my favourite part of the song. The end of the solo just drives into a last burst of Myles excellence with a final ending verse. This song sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the album, it’s experimental, it’s something they’d never done before and it shows how much they have progressed in the time they’ve been together.

3. Metalingus

The song that introduced me to Alter Bridge a long time ago and hooked me in. Most of the focus of AB will always be on Myles and Mark but this song showcases the whole band in all their glory. Scott Phillips puts on a masterclass on the drums and Brian Marshall equally on the bass guitar. It also tends to be the one song that people who aren’t even AB fans still know and love. I had a friend a while ago who was a massive Metallica and heavy metal fan and thought Alter Bridge were nothing but soft rock for teenagers. Then he saw them at Download and watching this song live made him and instant fan. For me it’s the perfect mix of soft and hard rock, and because of this ‘sitting on the fence’ style, they stand out. They’ve not tried to copy anyone else, they’re just doing what they love and this song is the epitome of that.

2. Watch Over You

A breathtakingly beautiful song. After listening to other songs on this list like “Metalingus” or “Waters Rising” it still baffles me that they’re capable of producing a song that can make a grown man cry but this manages it. I’ve chosen this over “In Loving Memory” just because it hits me harder really. They’re both beautiful songs and the story behind “In Loving Memory” is well documented so it’s very personal to the band, but for some reason I’ve always connected more with this song. When I went to see AB live just over 2 years ago Myles did an acoustic version of this song with Lzzy Hale and it was absolutely stunning. It’s never going to make me smile with joy but in the right mood this song is simply perfect.

1. Blackbird

The most obvious song on this list but I think this would be number 1 on most AB fans lists. It is just a sensational piece of music. I said before they have songs for every emotion and every mood and nothing sums that up more than this. I have this song on every playlist because it doesn’t matter what sort of mood I am in, I know I will want to listen to this song. It manages to be melancholy, haunting, and uplifting all at the same time. There aren’t enough adjectives to describe how much I love this song. The lyrics, the vocals, and the solo (helped by sublime drumming) are all incomprehensibly brilliant. Going back to the time I went to see them a couple of years ago, (sadly, the only time until hopefully later this year) it’s hard to believe that they’re actually doing it when it’s happening. It is an epic song, it means a lot to the band and it means a lot to the fans and as much as I think they are always improving, I don’t think they will ever top this exquisite and captivating song.