Tuesday, September 17, 2002 @ 5:18 PM
Cantrell Live At The Bumbersho
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REVIEW BY: Chris Curtis, aka, kidnothing
"A perfect Seattle day for a perfect Seattle crowd!"
And with those words by Jerry Cantrell, the rain pelted the crowd of about 4000. However, no one was deterred as we were treated to a homecoming for the former Alice in Chains guitarist. Sporting his new solo band, containing friends from other various, mostly unknown acts, Cantrell ripped through a set of current material as well as fan-favorite Alice in Chains stuff.
Opening with "Hellbound" from his new CD, Degradation Trip, Cantrell displayed a familiar theme for Seattle-based bands... a tendency to open shows with slow, yet heavy songs. I'm not quite sure why this is, but LA or NY bands always seem to open up with faster tunes. Either way, it's a cool tune and it was a kind of mirror for a pretty solace crowd. Most people were just standing, staring. If for not a few prompts from Jerry, you would have thought we were all dead.
Cantrell then followed with "Bargain Basement Howard Hughes" and
"Spiderbite." His guitar work and ability to try new things really showed on the sounds of both of these tunes. Though most of the crowd didn't appear to know either song, both received good ovations at their conclusions. Hopefully his continued tour will receive the same response and he might sell more CD's. I recently read he had to sell his Seattle-area home in an effort to continue the funding to record "...Trip." Sad, but that just shows the average fan how much these guys love and believe in what they are doing.
After briefly addressing the crowd, which included a "thanks" to all those who have expressed their support since Layne Staley's death, Cantrell performed "No Excuses," "Sea of Sorrow," and "Down in a Hole" from the Alice in Chains library. Each was greeted warmly, especially "Down in...," and seemed to energize the crowd. Some good body-surfing, tighter crowd pushing and generally more cheers for a great guitarist!
I will note, though, the show did start at 3:45 and was sandwiched in-between Wilco (who the fuck are they? They sucked!) and (my 15 minutes are up) Jewel. Heaven help these idiot concert promoters.
Throughout the entire set, technical problems plagued Cantrell's band.
Between lost sound on mics and speakers, Cantrell's disgust for the sound guys was quite obvious. Numerous times he was giving the "evil eye" or "finger" to the sound techs at the stages left side. Maybe they were just festival hired-hands, either way... someone please fire them.
After doing a few additional songs from his new CD, Cantrell began a familiar riff everyone knew and was anxious to hear: "Man in the Box!" The surfing got more intense, the pushing was even tighter and fists began to fly. All things you expect from a great rock show! And since Jerry's voice doesn't come close to Staley's on the classic, he did two things I thought were awesome:
1) He motioned to the crowd to sing the first verse:
"I'm the man in the box
Buried in my shit"
2) He had his bass player sing out the rest of the tune. His voice was cool and he did an admirable performance. However, I think the crowd drowned him out most of the way through it.
At the songs conclusion, Cantrell apologized for the technical problems and smashed his mic stand down and walked off. A few minutes later, he reappeared, once again thanking everyone for coming out, especially those of us down in the front who took the brunt of the rain, and then informed us they had blown a few amps and couldn't continue. I guess the only song we missed out on hearing was "Anger Rising," but such is life in the rock world.
All-in-all, it was a cool show and a good time. I was soaking wet, heard some great songs, and saw live the best guitarist to come out of the ‘90s. I just wish Seattle bands would rip into something faster each show.