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In a week overflowing with Sidewaves, fans found themselves at the beautiful Enmore Theatre to spend some time with what is arguably the ’90s grunge scene’s last credible act. Alice In Chains put on an outstanding, albeit seemingly perfunctory performance, sealing their authority with a powerhouse set free of surprises and targeting the fans who came to hear the hits.
The performance of frontman William DuVall was far more confident than on their previous tour several years ago. Since then he’s stepped out of the immense shadow cast by the late Layne Staley and has made the frontman role his own. Guitar god Jerry Cantrell was still the man in charge as he shredded up and down his fretboard with consummate ease.
The opening salvo was the crunching thrash of Them Bones, which sent the floor appropriately berserk. The band had littered the setlist with hits, from We Die Young and Dam That River, to No Excuses, and the slightly undercooked, though still powerful, Rooster. We were of course treated to newer songs as well, such as Hollow and the riffing magic of Stone. The catchy-as-fuck Check My Brain was stunning, as was the beastly Last Of My Kind.
It all looked so easy and relaxed as the band maintained total control. While occasionally it did appear as though the lads were simply going through the motions, they were outstanding in doing so. Though lacking a little in spark, the mood of the crowd meant that spark was completely irrelevant.
The highlight of the evening came with the twisted metal of Grind, which pulverised the crowd into equal parts submission and delirium, before fan favourite Down In A Hole closed the main set with style. The encore was a slow-building triple treat, from the gentle Got Me Wrong, to rock radio staple Again, till Would?, as expected, capped the set off perfectly.
Though the performance may have been a little underdone, Alice In Chains still nailed it. When a band and their material is this good, nothing else matters.
Dam That River
Check My Brain
Man in the Box
Last of My Kind
We Die Young
Down In A Hole
Got Me Wrong