Alice in Chains – Boise Knitting Factory – July 21, 2015
Few bands are as impressive live as they are on record, but Seattle-based rockers, Alice in Chains is definitively among this lofty group. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the band’s 1990 debut album, Facelift, and the band has just kicked off its 2015 North American tour in celebration. The current run will keep them on the road through the end of August.
Formed in 1987, by co-founder and guitarist Jerry Cantrell, Alice in Chains is an amalgamation of classic hard rock and metal with alternative and psychedelic nuances. Often lumped in with the Seattle grunge movement, the band has always had more in common with heavy metal. Cantrell is joined by original drummer Sean Kinney and long-time bassist, Mike Inez. Vocalist William DuVall joined a decade ago, fleshing out the current line-up.
Alice in Chains has been giving fans exactly what they want on this tour, performing about 20 songs per show and playing for an hour-and-forty-five minutes each night with no opening bands to sit through. Older fans seem much appreciative of earlier start times and not suffering through multiple acts to get to the headliner.
Metalholic caught the band for its Boise, Idaho show on July 21 at The Knitting Factory. The band took the stage amidst a backdrop of swirling patterns and eight floor-mounted lights that swiveled and oscillated, adding dimension to the visual aesthetic. However, the music is what the fans came for and Alice in Chains delivered from the opening notes of “Bleed the Freak”, a track from their first album that had not been played live since 2006. The band performed three more tracks from Facelift, including their monster hit, “Man in the Box” and show closer, “We Die Young”, as well as “It Ain’t Like That”.
The setlist represented a nice cross-section of tracks from their five full-length studio albums and both their early 90s EPs. From the band’s most recent album, 2013’s The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, they served up the singles, “Hollow” and “Stone”. The second song of the night, “Check My Brain” marked the band’s first single with vocalist DuVall from their 2009 reunion album, Black Gives Way to Blue. They performed “Last of My Kind” from the same album.
The rest of the set mined the records that made Alice in Chains a household name. From 1992’s Dirt album, they dug up “Them Bones”, “Would?”, “Junkhead” and “Down in a Hole”. From the SAP EP released that same year they offered their hit, “Got Me Wrong”. “Nutshell” and “No Excuses” were pulled from 1994’s Jar of Flies EP, while “Again”, “Grind” and “Heaven’s Beside You” were culled from their 1995 self-titled album; the last to feature founding vocalist Layne Staley.
As Alice in Chains cruised through a stunning set, they were clearly in good spirits and performing with the laid back confidence of a band comfortable in its own skin. The near two-hour show seemed to pass as quickly as it began. Fans could be heard muttering, “I can’t believe they played that song…”, and “I wish they’d played longer, I wanted to hear…”. There were nothing but smiles on the faces of the capacity, standing-room-only crowd. Alice in Chains gave the audience a quarter century’s worth of musical magic, earning the continued respect of the fans and further solidifying their legacy.
So far, each night of the tour has seen a slightly altered setlist, with the band changing things up and giving each city a unique performance. Get your tickets for Alice in Chains now.
All photos © 2015 Katarzyna Cepek Photography.
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