Saturday, May 20, 2006

Corgan and Lanegan Show Up At the Roxy

By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Seattle rock band Alice in Chains, one of the biggest acts of the early 1990s until drugs got in the way, launched its first tour since 1996 in Los Angeles on Thursday with the help of a few famous friends.

Former Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan turned up at the packed Roxy Theater to sing a tune, as did former Screaming Trees vocalist Mark Lanegan. Velvet Revolver bassist Duff McKagan, playing guitar, accompanied the band on five songs.

The sold-out show at the 450-capacity venue was the first of five that will take the band to clubs in San Diego (May 19), Chicago (May 21), Boston (May 22) and New York (May 23). The band played a last-minute "open rehearsal" in Seattle on Tuesday. A European jaunt begins on May 26 in Lisbon.

Alice in Chains last toured in June-July 1996, when it opened four shows for Kiss. Subbing for vocalist Layne Staley, who died of a drug overdose in April 2002, is William DuVall, an old collaborator of guitarist Jerry Cantrell.

The afro-coiffed DuVall, sporting an unbuttoned leather shirt, effectively channeled the menace of his ill-fated predecessor. Cantrell in a vintage Eveready t-shirt, bass player Mike Inez in a Led Zeppelin t-shirt and drummer Sean Kinney kept things just as heavy as they did in their heyday.

The economical 70-minute performance centered on tunes from the band's breakthrough 1992 album "Dirt," including "Down in a Hole" (sung by Corgan), "Rooster" (Lanegan), "Junkhead," "Angry Chair," "Would?" and the final song "Them Bones." Others included "Man in the Box" and "We Die Young" from 1990's "Facelift," and "Again" and show opener "Sludge Factory" from the band's final studio release, the self-titled 1995 "three-legged dog" album.



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