Walking Papers had a high curiosity factor, primarily for their members including Duff McKagan (G N’R) and drummer Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees, Mad Season) but with a fine opening set they showed they were the full band deal with singer/guitarist Jeff Angell working the mic stand, doing hat tricks and venturing into the audience for their final slice of dark psych-laden rock.
Down have been going for two decades and as such they are a well-oiled, mechanical beast of a band. Totally in sync with each other and led by the gonzo intensity of Phil Anselmo. He can still bellow and scream like a banshee between bashing his forehead with the mic and repeatedly calling for the crowd to put their arms in the air. The band were just as active but Anselmo led the way through a brutal set that culminated in road crew, entourage and Walking Papers members taking over their instruments for the final melee of a song.
Alice In Chains had a pretty high standard to follow but they nailed it completely. Bigger back-line, stadium lighting and a sound that was at gloriously crunchy and crystalline. They stated their case immediately with the opening pairing of Them Bones and Dam That River, instantly showing that they are well and truly beyond the ‘new singer’ syndrome with William DuVall nailing the songs faithfully yet also with his own personality. The rest of the set balanced the ‘classic hits’ with more recent material, barely allowing the momentum of the set to drop off. Rooster whipped up an immense sing-along while songs like Again showed how important rhythm and groove are to the sound of AIC. After 80 minutes they left the sweat-drenched and deafened Enmore audience with Would, possibly their finest song and the best possible way to round out a diverse and exceptional night of hard rock music.
this review was first published in The Music