By Greg Maki
A nearly packed house greeted Jerry Cantrell when a rare solo tour brought him to Baltimore’s Rams Head Live, and the Alice in Chains guitarist/vocalist/songwriter delivered an enthralling performance lasting nearly two hours. Mixing songs from his three solo albums (including five from 2021’s “Brighten,” though unfortunately just one from his 2002 masterwork “Degradation Trip”) with Alice in Chains classics, the show highlighted what a remarkable body of work Cantrell has assembled in a career now spanning more than three decades.
He was in good spirits throughout, clearly enjoying the venue’s intimate nature—Rams Head features three levels of viewing areas, with fans all but hanging over top of the stage—as well as the backing band he has assembled for this run. With Tyler Bates on guitar, George Adrian on bass, Michael Rozon on pedal steel, Jason Achilles on keys and former Dillinger Escape Plan members Gil Sharone and Greg Puciato on drums and vocals, respectively, they gave each song a rich, full sound, recreating everything from the recorded versions.
As to be expected, the Alice in Chains songs went over best with the crowd, led by opener “Them Bones” and, late in the set, the trio of “It Ain’t Like That,” “Got Me Wrong” and “Would?” But it was clear that the majority of the audience was made up of Jerry Cantrell fans, not just devotees of Alice in Chains. Solo material went over nearly as well as the Alice tunes, with “Cut You In,” “My Song” and “Atone” as standouts. Lola Colette, daughter of Tyler Bates and also the opening act for the tour, augmented the vocal arrangements for “Black Hearts and Evil Done” from “Brighten” and “Right Turn” from Alice in Chains’ “Sap” EP, while Puciato admirably pulled off the late great Layne Staley’s parts and provided backing vocals throughout the night.
Whether you’re a fan of Cantrell specifically or a longtime follower of Alice in Chains in general, this tour is an absolute must-see.
JERRY CANTRELL SET LIST: “Them Bones,” “Psychotic Break,” “Sea of Sorrow,” “Brighten,” “Cut You In,” “My Song,” “Siren Song,” “No Excuses,” “Black Hearts and Evil Done,” “Right Turn,” “Had to Know,” “Your Decision,” “Between,” “It Ain’t Like That,” “Got Me Wrong,” “Would?,” (encore) “Atone,” “Man in the Box,” “Rooster,” “Goodbye”