Alice in Chains Returns to Spokane Two Decades Later

Alice in Chains Returns to Spokane Two Decades Later

PHOTO BY CHRISTIAN HAMILTON

I will set the stage for those that missed the Alice in Chains show at the Knitting Factory on July 22nd, 2015 in Spokane, Washington. To understand the anticipation for the locals in Spokane, WA, you would need to know that the last time Alice in Chains played in Spokane was back in 1993, some 22 years ago. The excitement for Alice to come rolling into Spokane started immediately when the event sold out within days of the venue and band announcement back in March. Although, it is worth mentioning the last show that Alice in Chains played in Eastern Washington was at the Gorge back in 2013. The Gorge and the Knitting Factory are indeed two worlds apart thou. The Knitting Factory is a small intimate venue, there isn’t a bad seat in the house and the sound is undeniably glorified. The Gorge on the other hand is an open venue and its sound gets dropped into the canyons. So, without a question Spokane’s Knitting Factory was the perfect setting and Alice in Chains delivered an amazing sold out show. The line to get in wrapped around the corner of the venue and the sheer excitement could be felt by the fans patiently waiting to get in. There were fans that drove in from as far away as Montana and Seattle.

Little did anyone know that the night was also going to be an epic family affair, the opening band The Pink Slips consists of Keenan Bevans on drums and is the nephew of Alice in Chains drummer Sean Kinney and GRAVE (Grace McKagan) is the lead vocalist who just so happens to be the daughter of Guns and Roses bassist Duff McKagan. The remaining members include Trent Peltz- Keys/ Backup Vocals, Charlie Wood- Guitar and Charlie Anastasis- Bass. The crowd adored The Pink Slips and they delivered just enough to set the mood and build upon the excitement for Alice to hit the stage. The Pink Slips have a unique sound that can be referred to the likes of Blondie, No Doubt, and the Kills. Seattle Sound Live will have an exclusive interview with them in the near future.

Alice in Chains jumped on stage and started the night out with the early classics, Bleed the Freak with the notable Cantrell solos, Check my Brain and Again. The crowd was intense and singing  along with DuVall, which has amazingly delivered the vocals up and graciously has made it “his” own sound which seemingly gets better with time.  Junkhead followed and with a short 5 second pause in the action Duff McKagan entered the stage to play rhythm guitar on the notorious Man in the Box. The sold-out crowds hands were up in the air and in unison everyone began singing along. You could feel the energy of the crowd as it amplified the song to a whole new level! The crowd basically went insane.

The band switched it up quickly with an emotional track as Duff remained on stage and played with an acoustic guitar alongside DuVall during Nutshell, which Jerry dedicated to Layne Staley and Mike Starr. The emotions that filled the venue during Nutshell came across beautifully and as the song played on. You could see some fans shed a few tears while they sang along, giving that special moment of sadness and respect to Mike and Layne that they so righteously deserve. The only thing that was missing was the LSMS on Sean’s bass drum, which had been on display since 2013 in honor of Layne and Mike. I wouldn’t read into the lack of letters either, as Jerry has mentioned before, “There’s been six people in that band and that’s it and we’re all up there.” I am sure that statement holds true on the daily.

Hollow was up next, the old familiar AIC track made new with its dark riffs and dueling harmonies. After the deep Hollow, AIC bounced back to the popular classic of Them Bones followed by Stone which is another amazing track from The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here. No AIC set would be complete without The Rooster. The rendition of this classic track again finds Kinney beating the hell out of the drums and with DuVall and Cantrell’s harmonies perfectly in pitch it was simply Magical! The complete setlist was as engaging a setlist there ever was as the band peppered it from the old to the new and then, all of sudden, we were graced with a short version of Proud Mary (Creedence Clearwater Revival cover).

PHOTO BY CHRISTIAN HAMILTON

Undeniable, my personal favorite was the sexy groovy love filled Got Me Wrong off of Sap. Kinney performed with this charming groove which was complimented by Inez’s bass playing.  The band made sure that every fan was treated to the best of the best of their catalog which has been playing strong for well over 25 plus years. Cantrell turned it up a notch with the dark and heavy guitar riffs in Acid Bubble, We Die Young and with Grind off of Tripod. The night continued on with more classics like Would? Which was another popular and defining song for Alice and hearing it tonight live was like taking an old trip back in time, the night ended with No Excuses and Love Hate Love totally rocking it loud and hard.

If anyone dares to question the future of Alice in Chains, go to one of their shows this summer and experience the raw and energetic performance that only they can deliver, no huge theatrics or stage props needed. Alice has changed up the set list from one show to the next, so each show will be special and different. There was no encore, according to Baldy, they are experimenting with a different approach that leaves the fan wanting more thou. Most of this tour includes small venue settings with no opening acts, they just jump in and get the party started and in my opinion that is the best way to see Alice in Chains perform. Spokane was the exception last night, it truly was a family affair and a star-studded event with the surprise guest of Duff taking the stage. It was definitely the best show for Spokane in a longtime and well overdue. Thank You Alice and please don’t wait another 22 years to come back!

Catch Alice in Chains live as they continue their summer tour. Get the full list of tour stops here: https://www.facebook.com/aliceinchains/app_123966167614127

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Shanna Torp

Shanna Torp

Shanna is a contributing editor at Rock Paper Rock and the resident interview guru. She is currently the Owner of SLT Social Media Services and is gearing up to finish her BA in marketing.



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