As the late afternoon sun fades behind the Apollo stage, it’s time for the arrival of the legendary pioneers of grunge. For a band who have been around for as long, and become as influential, Alice In Chains having to pick an hour long festival set is almost a lose lose situation. For every ‘Man In The Box’ you play you will not have space for the likes of ‘Sludge Factory’ or a ‘Bleed The Freak’. Saying that, Alice managed to cram 12 tracks of the finest grunge, containing some of the finest riffs ever written into the hour they were given.
Arriving with the mammoth one two opening of ‘Them Bones’ directly into ‘Damn That River’ Alice throw their cards directly on the table, throwing down the gauntlet to all bands at the festival and declaring “We’re stealing this festival, and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it.”
Arriving on stage adorned with a black leather jacket and shades, William Duvall couldn’t look any cooler if he tried. He looked the epitome of rock n roll coolness, like Layne Stayleys voice was transplanted into the body of Miles Davis. He has fully grown into the all conquering frontman he has always threatened to be and when it comes to singing the older Alice tracks like ‘We Die Young’ he nails them without even trying.
Though it is an impossible task even comparing William Duvall to the late great Layne Stayley and I’m not even going to try and say who the finer vocalist was. But for Duvall to even come close to the heights of Stayley’s vocals on tracks like ‘Man In The Box’ and especially the guttural snarl of the chorus in the track ‘Would?’ is a colossal achievement.
In a set blending old and new Alice, the newly shaven Jerry Cantrell delivers some the best riffs ever, some riffs are so good that decent bands could base an entire song around the killer down tuned riffs just cast aside by Jerry.
Providing mass sing-alongs, bone shaking and crushing riffs and even a couple of blown voices during the “Jesus” part of ‘Man In The Box’ (mine included). Alice In Chains showed that even after two decades of rocking they can still show the majority of the bands on the bill that they are still the kings of the mountain.
Alice In Chains Setlist:
1. Them Bones
2. Dam That River
4. Check My Brain
6. Man in the Box
7. No Excuses
8. It Ain’t Like That
9. We Die Young