The lights came down, and all was quiet…
Sunday August 18th, almost didn’t happen for me. One of my favorite bands, Alice In Chains, headlined this year’s Uproar festival, and they played Long Island’s Nikon at Jones Beach Theater yesterday. I was fortunate enough to score a couple discount tickets a whole two days before the show. And I’m glad I did.
After a slew of relatively unknown opening bands, some worth noting more than others (Coheed and Cambria comes to mind, admittedly playing much better than expected), Jane’s Addiction hit the stage. The on-again off-again grungepop veterans put on a solid set including the majority of their best known tracks, though fan favorite “Been Caught Stealin” was conspicuously absent. Guitarist Dave Navarro can still shred with the best of them, but it seems the years have not been great to frontman Perry Farrell, who appeared to be struggling at times. Despite this, it was a solid effort that would please any hardcore J.A. fan. Once they finished their set with an acoustic jam of the ever-popular “Jane Says”, it was time for the main attraction: Alice In Chains.
the haunting sludgey tone of Jerry Cantrell’s guitar echoed throughout the venue as he ripped his familiar lead lines note for note, making it look easy.
The lights came down, and all was quiet. After a distant 4 count on the hi-hats, the band exploded into a crushing rendition of “Them Bones”, followed by the equally powerful “Dam That River”. Singer William DuVall seemed much more comfortable onstage this time around, as last time I caught an A.I.C. show was back in 2009. His stage presence is undeniable, his singing has improved, and he truly feels like a part of the band now rather than just a replacement. The rest of the band was tight as ever, and the haunting sludgey tone of Jerry Cantrell’s guitar echoed throughout the venue as he ripped his familiar lead lines note for note, making it look easy.
The set included only two cuts off the new record “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here” (“Hollow” and “Stone”, respectively), focusing primarily on older material and crowd pleasers. The set included heavy hitters such as “Again”, “Rain When I Die”, “Would?”, and of course “Man In The Box”, in which DuVall proved his worth with a stellar vocal performance. But the highlight of the night for me was their rendition of “Nutshell”, in which they paid tribute to fallen members Layne Staley and Mike Starr, whose initials were inscribed on Sean Kinney’s bass drum in remembrance.
With the show they put on last night, I’m willing to bet even Layne would approve.
They closed the night with their wartime-fueled hit “Rooster”, paid their respects to the crowd, and left. Though it was unfortunate that there was no encore performance, it may not have been their decision, as it was closing time for the venue. Despite this fact, Alice In Chains put on a spectacular performance, proving that they are not only still great but still relevant, as their brand new songs fit right in with their classic hits. With the show they put on last night, I’m willing to bet even Layne would approve.
•Special kilScene Contributor