Alice in Chains at Alexandra Palace
An iconic location, the great hall of Alexandra Palace is a challenging space to pull off something William DuVall, frontman of Alice in Chains, mentioned as he opened the band’s show at the venue. After two promising performances by special guests Walking Papers and Ghost, the crowd waited in eager anticipation for the headline act, and they were not disappointed.
2013 has been quite a year for Alice in Chains. In May the band released its fifth album, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, to much critical acclaim. Opening the show with Them Bones from 1992 album Dirt, Alice in Chains went on to play a range of material from throughout their 25-year career, including the hits Man in the Box and Rooster. DuVall and guitarist Jerry Cantrell both gave energetic performances, and the show’s unexpected visual elements added to the hype, keeping the audience enthralled.
Founded in Seattle in the late 80s, the band’s line-up has changed considerably over its history, as both founding vocalist Layne Staley and bassist Mike Starr died due to substance abuse during a period of hiatus for the band in the early 2000s. Starr was replaced as the group’s bassist by Mike Inez and DuVall joined the band in 2006, helping Cantrell and drummer Sean Kinney to create a different sound. The new material featured on The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here marks a further change in direction for Alice in Chains, who appear to be advancing towards producing a more mainstream rock sound with catchier riffs and lyrics that look beyond the band members’ personal battles to address issues in the wider world.
It is apparent that Alice in Chains are moving into a new era. While they clearly retain some of the sound that culminated in their rise to fame, the band’s latest album has attracted a fresh generation of followers, while keeping their original loyal fan base. With the success of The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, the band has demonstrated they are still one to watch. Based on their performance at Alexandra Palace, it seems likely that the next couple of years could see Alice in Chains producing a future rock anthem.
Photos: Adam Bennett
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