Live Review: Alice In Chains @ Casino New Brunswick, Tuesday August 26, 2014

Photo courtesy of Clayton Morrissey (showstoppers.ca) and Casino New Brunswick.
Photo courtesy of Clayton Morrissey (show-stoppers.ca) and Casino New Brunswick.

When Seattle grunge survivors Alice In Chains took to the stage of Moncton’s Casino New Brunswick on Tuesday night, it was all business. Not the nearly capacity crowd, a mix of hip, modern and classic banger folks, minded in the least.

Touching upon each of their studio releases during the course of the 90-minute concert, it was 1992’s Dirt that naturally garnered the heaviest focus with a total of six songs performed – “Them Bones,” “Dam That River,” “Rain When I Die,” “Down In A Hole,” ”Would?” and show closer “Rooster.”

Sure, the band hauled out early singles “Man In The Box” and “We Die Young” last night. It would have been more shocking had they not done so, frankly. Their overall performance was anything but a trip down memory lane, however.

The group included an impressive selection of songs from 2009’s Black Gives Way To Blue and last year’s excellent The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here. Those newer songs, including “Check My Brain,” “Your Decision” and “Stone” had no trouble holding their own against material from their first few records.

Perhaps one of the most recognizable traits of their performance last evening was the energy which guitarist-vocalist William Duvall brought to the stage. Not only did Duvall prove that he is a great singer, more than capably handling the material sung by the late Layne Staley, he showed that he is an engaging entertainer as well. The man has some impressive pipes on him, but not once was I given the impression that he brought anything to the stage aside from his own style.

Of course, that is not intended to slight drummer Sean Kinney, guitarist Jerry Cantrell or bassist Mike Inez. Cantrell’s guitar solos and vocal harmonies were scarily note-perfect; Inez’s bottom end shook the venue in the best of ways, all of which was built upon a solid foundation laid by Kinney.

Simply put – the whole band sounded impeccable.

If anyone had dared question the continued relevance of Alice In Chains, their performance last evening would have shown why the band is arguably more essential now than they ever were before. Should you have the opportunity to get your ass to Halifax tonight to catch the final show of Alice In Chains tour behind The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, I would highly recommend you do so.