Ok, Alice In Chains have reformed and are touring and recording again. We got ‘em here as part of the Soundwave festival. With the sad death of Layne Staley back in ’02, it’s good to see Alice In Chains back in action.
Playing to an Enmore Theatre full of young to middle-age fans, Alice In Chains were surprising, they sounded like a new band and not at all like a reformed 90’s act. All the songs sounded fresh, although a few songs lacked some punch – bassist Mike Inez and drummer Sean Kinney appeared to have trouble keeping up with Jerry Cantrell, who really was on another level. His axework was a masterclass in guitar playing, jeez he really was showing off. Singer William DuVall was on fire, as he prowled the stage and whipped up the crowd. He even pulled out his guitar for a few songs.
From the opening one-two of Again and Angry Chair, it was rock, rock, rock baby! As expected, it was a greatest hits set where Alice In Chains played everything we wanted to hear, covering all the albums, with a sizeable chunk of songs from the epic Dirt. It really was a fans wet dream with Man In The Box, Them Bones, Dam That River, No Excuses, Down In A Hole and all those Alice In Chains songs we love to fire up on the jukebox at the pub.
After a little over an hour it was over for a few minutes while everyone waited for the inevitable encore. What would they play? It was pretty obvious – their 2 biggest songs they hadn’t whipped out yet, Would? and Rooster – bloody marvellous they were too. A great way to round out a fun night of rock and roll from a bunch of guys who were having as good a time as the crowd.
This wasn’t a flawless performance, it just plain rocked! In the end, the only real fault with this gig was that it had to end. With a new album in the works, it’s safe to say we’ll see Alice In Chains back in Oz soon enough. Meanwhile I’m gonna go listen to Dirt for the 38th time since the show…