ALICE IN CHAINS
The 16th of June 2019
Kaisaniemi Park, Helsinki Finland
Back in the early 90’s the new, interesting and fresh style, Grunge, started emerging out of Seattle when bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains gained a more mainstream footstep on the rock map. People definitely got hooked up by those new and vital bands, leather clothes were abandoned and got changed to a flannel shirt and ripped pants. The whole Grunge sound and movement brought the new way of having straight rock music back with the much simpler outlook and above all memorable riffs and songs.
However the biggest hype of Grunge was quite soon over as bands went on hiatus, members died and some of them just broke up. One of them, being Alice In Chains, underwent dramatic events and were on hold for years. Until the mid-2000 Alice In Chains returned to the limelight with an entirely new guy, Willian DuVall, as a singer. These first shows were meant to be one kind of tribute to the late Layne Staley. However as a result of that tribute Alice In Chains decided to carry on and has put out absolutely amazing albums Black Gives Way To Blue (2009), The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here (2013) and Rainier Fog (2018). Even though Grunge is said to be dead, Alice In Chains offers something more special on those albums, catching the people’s interest, and even have been able to increase their success more and more.
Alice In Chains made their debut visit to Finland in 1993, doing a sold-out club show. It took until 2006 when the legendary four-piece returned to Finland, playing at the Provissirock festival. Then there were two other festival appearances. Frankly, Alice In Chains haven’t done shows of their own since 1993. Therefore two gigs had been booked in Finland, in Oulu and Helsinki and the band was welcomed and expected for a long time. All in all 6000 people had entered to see, follow and enjoy the outdoor show of Alice In Chains in the beautiful park of Kaisaniemi in the heart of Helsinki.
Before Alice In Chains unleashed the Rooster, a couple of domestic acts had been booked to warm the audience up. The first one DOOM UNIT got the privilege to be the first opening act of the night. Doom Unit is more rock stuff with the heavy groove stuff, so to say. Despite the short playing time, the band rocked hard. But it looked and felt the four-piece groove rockers would have been absent from the stage for a while, as some kind of extra tension could be felt and witnessed in their performance as well as the playing. The four-piece sounded good, but in the long run the material sounded a little bit numb. Doom Unit is definitely a more intimate club band.
Another one was Flat Earth consisting of ex-members of Amorphis and HIM. The material can easily be described a mix of metal with big scale rock riffs. The members have years and years of experience of playing and being on stage from other bands. Therefore there wasn’t any big tension. The singer turned out to be to a rock star type of person who enjoyed moving all around the stage. As for songs, they sounded great and had a lot of great leads and melodies. Flat Earth is still a relative newcomer, whose material is yet quite strange and not well known amongst the Finnish rock audience. Obviously that big hit thing is on the way to come, which is definitely needed to give an extra boost.
When Flat Earth had finished their set, there was a mandatory roadie break. AIC was originally supposed to hit the stage at 9.15 pm, but decided to move up the 15 minutes earlier as the rules of city of Helsinki forbids the noise after 11.00 p.m. That was a welcomed decision as the two-hour gig could be carried out as a whole.
The two-hour gig was kicked off by “Bleed The Freak” and was followed by heaps of songs picked from several albums. For obvious reasons, the breakthrough album DIRT had a major set on the night’s setlist as six songs had been picked up for the set. However, the newest album RAINIER FOG stood out with four songs. The whole set had perfectly been created, as the old AIC classics along with the material from Duvall’s era fitted to each other more than well. Even though songs like “Them Bone”,”Dam The River” got an outstanding reaction at the beginning of the set, so did newer songs such as “Check My Brain”. All in all, Duvall was an amazing frontman, who definitely wrapped the audience around his fingers with the strong performance and way of interpreting those AIC classic tunes. Of course the songs from his era were amazing for example “Your Decision”, which melodies sounded so catchy and touching.
Alice In Chains definitely sounded heavy and massive. Cantrell’s guitar sound had a recognizable vibe of its own. Cantrell also focused on doing the vocal parts along with William Duvall and shared the major part of it. Cantrell has never been a relentless musician on the stage, instead of focusing on the playing and doing the vocal parts. Instead his charisma was so strong that he didn’t need to do any extra tricks on the stage. Mike Inez focused on doing the bass and moving all around the stage.
Obviously the Finnish audience was in a spellbound trance, even spiritually entranced, that they followed the band and enjoyed every minute of the show with the ultimate passion. Actually it was quite heartwarming to see so many familiar guys of the Finnish frontline black metal bands singing the AIC classic songs by heart. These songs definitely touch the people from different music backgrounds indeed.
Alice In Chains came and conquered and above all enrapture the Finnish rock audience with the classic tunes from the 90’s eras as well as the great new songs. The band’s music having heavy and these melancholic elements appeal to the Finnish rock/metal audience tremendously well. The classic “Rooster” concluded the two-hour gig and the audience was definitely more than happy about what they had just seen, witnessed and experienced. Alice In Chains is welcome more often.
Bleed the Freak
Check My Brain
Dam That River
Down in a Hole
We Die Young
Man in the Box
The One You Know
Got Me Wrong