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Scala London,
4 August 2009

Alice In Chains

After playing the Sonisphere festival the weekend before, Alice In Chains played a club date in London to promote the forthcoming CD 'Black Gives Way To Blue'.,the first new material from the band for some 14 years. This was the hottest ticket in town with touts exchanging tickets for over 100 outside the venue.

For me this was the first time to witness new boy, singer William DuVall who has replaced the sadly departed Layne Staley.Amazingly it was the first time i've seen the band live since the 'Dirt' tour 16 years previously at the Forum London.How time flies.

A lot has been said about bands who wish to continue after their frontmen have passed away or have chosen to leave, but in the case of the Chains, no one can honestly blame them for carrying on after the former singer spiraled into a self induced cesspit of hell, for which after a few years of mourning the band have travelled towards the light at the end of the tunnel.

I listened to the first few songs upstairs on the balcony out of sight from the stage, as I wanted to focus on what the band sounded like with a new vocal point. I was amazed at how DuVall not only sounded similar to Staley, although not with as much anger, but also how Jerry Cantrell sang the harmonized backing vocals to which carry the blueprint sound of Alice In Chains.

All the best numbers from their catalogue were played tonight, in fact so many in the first half that the set dipped a little towards the end.  Three new songs were performed, all of which were rifftastic.

'A looking In View' had been available for download for a couple of weeks beforehand, 'Acid Bubble' has a slow and moody intro building into a crescendo, 'Check My Brain' is an upbeat number with a headcrunching riff. The new CD looks set to be a winner.

For the encore a spine chilling 'Rooster' the eighth track from' the seminal 'Dirt' .The crowd applauded with approval with cries of 'Jerry,Jerry,Jerry' sprung out from almost everyone. If Jerry Cantrell can solve any problems, he has solved the the future of his beloved band. The future is bright.

Review and photo by Mark Taylor

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