ALICE IN CHAINS, GERMANIA INSURANCE AMPHITHEATER, AUSTIN TX
By RUBEN MORALES
On a hot summer night in Austin, Texas, what felt like the beginning of a one day festival, 4 bands were about to entertain us! THUNDERPUSSY , BUSH, BREAKING BENJAMIN and the much anticipated headliner, ALICE IN CHAINS. Thunderpussy opened up to wild satisfaction of the crowd that was beginning to roll into the amphitheater. Led by Molly Sides (vocals), Whitney Petty (guitar), Ruby Dunphy(drums), and Leah Julius on( bass).
Followed up by BUSH, the band I personally was looking forward to seeing. My memory of the last performance by them was a blur, due to the fact that I saw them perform in Woodstock 99. Besides the music, everything else was a trainwreck. So it was a real treat to see Bush this time around. Gavin Rossdale bounced around the stage like a pogo stick full of energy through the opening songs (MACHINEHEAD) and THE KINGDOM. Another highlight of their set was Glycerine. A fan favorite for sure, the crowd sang every word.
As the sun started to set you could see shadows on the upper lawn of the amphitheater dancing. The crowd had compiled and was ready for BREAKING BENJAMIN. They blazed through with their opening song (Blow me away). Breaking Benjamin, a band that has been pumping out music together since 1999, pumped out their best tunes. This 16-song set also included a cover from QUEEN (WHO WANTS TO LIVE FOREVER). Lead singer and founder BENJAMIN BURNLEY engaged with the crowd continually and at one part of the set, had the crowd sing happy birthday to one of their loved crew (Terri).
What started off as a hot evening rapidly cooled off just as ALICE IN CHAINS strolled onto the stage amongst smoke and the color of blue. They opened with their song (AGAIN) . With heavy riffs and deep bass along with the drums pounding, the crowd reacted cheering with excitement.
WILLIAM DuVALL slowly walked to the front of the stage microphone in hand, wearing a dark long jacket, black tee and jeans, along with a cool set of shades. With a unique style all his own. Strobe lights flashed in the background along with large screens that pulsed colors that lit up the stage. The moment he started singing brought me back to the first time listening to this band in the 90’s. I spoke with fellow Austinites in the crowd (ALBERTO GARCIA, KERI GREENWALT, and CYN FONSECA). They all agreed that hearing MAN IN THE BOX was key to becoming lifelong fans of ALICE IN CHAINS.
See all our concert photos on Austin 101 Magazine.
ALICE IN CHAINS was formed in 1987 by lead guitarist JERRY CANTRELL and SEAN KENNY. Along with Mike Starr and lead vocals LAYNE STALEY. They rose to stardom quickly amongst
some of the biggest bands that created the genre we call Grunge, (from Seattle, Washington.) They are part of a great American music history that includes NIRVANA, SOUNDGARDEN, and PEARL JAM. I have no idea what was in the water back then but these Seattle bands provided a ton of great music for us to enjoy for decades to come. LAYNE STALEY’S voice was very distinct along with the sound that JERRY CANTRELL provided on guitar (and they were nominated for 11 grammys). Layne Staley tragically passed away in 2002.
Fast forward to the present. William DuVall took over on vocals in 2006 and has recorded 3 albums with the band.To say he had large shoes to fill is an understatement. But he has accomplished just that. His voice not only compliments the band but gives it another dimension and made it his own with style.
Throughout the evening, the Austin crowd sang along to every song. I saw plenty of small mosh pits in the crowd. Alice in chains closed with heavy hitters (WOULD) -the drums & guitar on that song keeps your head bouncing and keeps the Austin crowd rolling as one body of movement tonight. and then (ROOSTER)- an absolute crowd favorite. After, JERRY CANTRELL took the mic and addressed the crowd for and took a band photo. CANTRELL’S parting words: “You guys take care, we’ll see you soon. KEEP IT WEIRD AUSTIN, YOU’RE FUCKING GREAT!”. What a perfect end to a 5-hour plus rock and metal concert in a beautiful outdoor venue in Austin.