Live Review: Alice In Chains - Nike Theater, Los Angeles
Thu, 16 Jul 2009 09:08:09
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Alice In Chains never went anywhere.
Their music has been inspiring fans endlessly since Facelift first hit shelves in August of 1990. 19 years later, they still have that same power. The Seattle foursome proved that on stage during a special listening event for their forthcoming album Black Gives Way to Blue (EMI), due out on September 29, 2009. In fact, the entire record stands out as epic and entrancing. It's almost as if there was no break between 1995's self-titled offering and today. In fact, Alice In Chains sounded more haunting, heartbreaking and heavenly than ever before.
However, it's while performing on stage that these men truly shine. After the record finished, a curtain raised and the band sat on stools surrounded by funky lighting. Instantly, they ran through Dirt classic "Down In a Hole." Co-lead vocalists Jerry Cantrell and William Duvall traded the song's poignantly poetic lyrics in a vibrant volley. Sean Kinney pounded out a tense beat in the background, while Mike Inez's bass held it all together. While carrying the chorus, Cantrell pulled off the slow bluesy acoustic solo flawlessly. Each and every audience member could feel the notes bend as Cantrell's voice soared.
Cantrell prefaced the next two songs saying, "We've never played any of these songs on stage before." The packed crowd was instantly taken on an emotional journey with new the first new cut. It sounded as alive as "Down In A Hole," but with a mature wisdom. Each note and vocal line resounded in a true sonic catharsis.
Alice In Chains concluded their acoustic set with the album's title track and tribute to deceased vocalist Layne Staley. Cantrell's guitar nearly brought everyone to tears as he honored his old friend one more time. Duvall's voice rang with a vitality on the tribute that showed reverence, respect and love. It was just as epic as anything on Jar of Flies or Sap, and as the four men sauntered off the stage quietly, it was clear that something very special happened on stage.
Last night was the prelude to the future and a very bright one at that. Alice In Chains are here forever, and Black Gives Way to Blue will be too.