Opening the show was Thudermother who also hails from the Seattle, Washington area. I knew nothing about the band, and it was very interesting to see their 45-minute set. You can classify them as a mixture of basic rock and hippie rock. The singer Molly Sides’ voice reminded me of Grace Slick. In fact, it was funny that halfway through the set the band did a cover of Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love.” She also had a black and white checkered suit which immediately brough visions of a 70’s Freddie Mercury. Between Sims working every inch of the stage and the flash and playing of guitarist Whitney Petty, made for a visual spectacular. Their 45-minute set included songs like “Whatever,” “The Road is Ours” and “Thunderpussy.” The band sounded tight and were very fun to see.
One of the biggest bands of the 1990’s and leading what was termed “grunge rock” were Alice in Chains. What many call the heart and soul of the band is guitarist and vocalist Jerry Cantrell. When the band temporarily were on hiatus due to many factors, mostly including the death of vocalist Layne Staley, Cantrell decided to do some solo work. Cantrell put out 3 solo albums within a 4-year time period (1998-2002). Fast forward and it was 19 years since Jerry Cantrell has released new solo material. With his new 2021 record “Brighten” in tow, it was just a meter of time that Cantrell could fit a tour in. The tour was originally delayed a year due to covid and some summer 2022 dates with his band Alice in Chains. Accompanying Cantrell on his solo jaunt were Michael Rozon on pedal steel, George Adrian on bass, Tyler Bates on rhythm guitar, Lola Collette on keyboards, and on lead vocals former Dillinger Escape Plan vocalist Greg Puciato.
The band took the stage promptly at 9:15pm and dove into the first track off ‘Brighten’ titled “Atone.” What should be noted at the very start was the intensity that Puciato brought to each and every song. Many are probably asking themselves, could he be up to the task to deliver the songs Staley help make rock standards? A favorable yes would ring true as Puciato took songs “Them Bones,” “Sea of Sorrow” and “Would?” and handled them fantastically well. Even though solo tracks like “Psychotic Break” and “Cut You In” were fan favorites, Cantrell did a great job incorporating solo material and Alice in Chains material throughout the entire night. There was never any lull whatsoever. They slowed things down for “Sire Song” and brought out a true B side when they opened up the encore with the Alice in Chains instrumental “Whale & Wasp.” This was a different setlist than previous nights on the tour as they also added one of my personal favorite Alice in Chains songs in “Check my Brain.” Cantrell’s masterful guitar playing was prevalent the entire night as he handled all leads and Bates joined him at the front of the stage on occasion as they played off each other.
The day before was Cantrell’s 57th birthday. The crowd sang Happy Birthday to him and at other points Cantrell took a few moments to stop and endure the adulation that the crowd gave him at various points during the show. It was well deserved for sure. I need to mention that and if for whatever reason that if current Alice and Chains front man William Duvall gets sidelined, Puciato is a more than adequate replacement. What a terrific show and even though its March, it could be one of the best shows Buffalo will see this year!
Them Bones (Alice in Chains song)
We Die Young (Alice in Chains song)
Cut You In
Check My Brain (Alice in Chains song)
No Excuses (Alice in Chains song)
Had to Know
A Job to Do
Man in the Box (Alice in Chains song)
Would? (Alice in Chains song)
Whale & Wasp (Alice in Chains song)
Sea of Sorrow (Alice in Chains song)
Rooster (Alice in Chains song)
Goodbye (Elton John cover)
We would like to thank Animaan Pathak from Jerry’s Management Team for the credentials to review the show.