Alice In Chains – Academy 1, Manchester 11/11/13

Following the release of their fifth album The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, it was only natural that Alice In Chains would return to UK shores for a tour, and this time they brought along Ghost and Walking Papers for the ride.

To say that blues is not my thing is a complete understatement, but openers Walking Papers took me by surprise with an interesting and engaging set, proving that they were the right choice as an opening band. Although the music itself wasn’t especially mind-blowing, the four-piece really put their all into the performance and it made for a fascinating watch – in particular, their keyboardist Benjamin was extremely enthusiastic about what he did and was jumping up and down whilst practically smacking his instrument to play it! The set ended with singer Jeff venturing into the crowd, which was quite a bold move, but it really paid off, making for a good, strong beginning to the night.

Unfortunately, things went a little downhill after the strength of Walking Papers. Earlier this year I awarded Ghost a rare ten for their breathtaking show in Bristol, so it was only natural to go in expecting great things this time round as well, but unfortunately they didn’t deliver. Perhaps it was because they were performing without all the props and imagery that usually come with a headline performance from them or maybe they were just having an off day, but the sparkle just wasn’t there this time round, with songs such as Con Clavi Con Dio and Ritual not packing their usual punch. Year Zero was as epic as ever, with some great crowd participation as Papa Emeritus II strode about the stage commanding the crowd, but the sad truth is that it was an all-round disappointing performance from a band that are normally renowned for their live shows.

Sadly, it was the same story with Alice In Chains, whose performance was incredibly lacking. Although they went down a storm with the crowd, who knew the words for every single song and rewarded the band with roars of cheers after each song, the actual performance from the band was rather lifeless and un-engaging, with them not really grabbing my full attention for the entire duration of their set.

There wasn’t much differentiating between the songs, and some of them seemed to sound identical to one another – it was almost like they were playing the same song over and over again. Would? was a highlight as it stood out due to the more acoustic feel to it, but even some of their most famous and well-known numbers such Rooster and Them Bones weren’t as engaging or memorable as they could have been.

It’s a shame because the night got off to a great start with Walking Papers (who probably would have garnered a solid seven or eight by themselves), but it wound up being an all-round disappointing show that could have potentially been one of the gigs of 2013.



About Natalie Humphries 1798 Articles
Soundscape's editor, who is particularly fond of doom, black metal and folk (but will give anything a chance). Likes to travel to see bands abroad when she can. Contact: or @acidnat on twitter.

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