Alice in Chains – 16th June 2018 – Leeds O2 Academy

Even before the lights finally go out the chants of “Jerry, Jerry, Jerry” are frequent throughout the O2 tonight so when the band arrive there is a suitably massive roar to welcome them! Alice In Chains are here in the UK for just two dates before they head to European festivals. They could have easily played the larger, less intimate venues but in many ways I’m glad they didn’t.

They open with Bleed The Freak which for a lot of bands would be an odd choice being a slow-burning number, but not AIC nor their fans as it sets everyone up for a classic night visiting tracks from every release they have made. That riff from Check My Brain still hits me like it did on first listen and I think it’s as good as any “big” song they have written in the past As I said they play something from every release but the set leans very heavily towards Facelift & Dirt (4 & 5 songs respectively) and that suits the crowd just fine ! Them Bones & Dam That River still sound just huge and the lighting rig /video wall just adds to the intensity of the two. It’s hard to believe how long William Du Vall has actually now been fronting the band (12 years I believe) but he has certainly earned the respect of fans and critics alike especially on some of the more subtle lesser paced tracks like No Excuses and Nutshell.

Jerry Cantrell is absolutely on top form though nailing every solo and riff almost effortlessly and his harmony vocal as always shows just how much of the AIC sound was down to him as well as Layne.

This is no disrespect to the people of Leeds as the crowd were class but at one point (I think it was We Die Young) they went so mad that for a split second I almost made the note “this Glasgow crowd are as up for it as ever” there were probably a good few folk who had travelled for the gig (lots of Toon pals definitely made the trek) but even so it was a sweaty lively lot!

The band were in a great mood and Jerry even led a quick jam of Halens’ Running With The Devil but the double hit of It Aint Like That and Man In The Box just hit all the senses bringing the main set to a close

Returning to the stage William breaks into a verse or two of Summertime Blues and being an old codger I smiled wondering if it was a nod to The Who’s Live at Leeds album where they absolutely kick the shit out of that track 🙂

A four-song encore saw the new song The One You Know being aired and if it’s an indication of the album to come then sign me up as it fits right in with the rest of the set no bother. That familiar bass line of Would? once again had the throng singing their hearts out but they all still had enough left in them to boom out the melody of Rooster to finish the night off in style.

I hope the new album sees a return for a full tour as I know they can easily fill more than just two venues in the UK but as my sweaty knackered old body left the O2 I had a massive smile on my face happy that I managed to get to this one.

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Images Copyright Gordon Armstrong. For permission to use these images please contact G’s Gig Shots

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