The accomplished songwriter sprinkled in several Alice In Chains hits
Last night in North Philadelphia, guitarist and singer Jerry Cantrell brought his Brighten Tour to the Xcite Center at Parx Casino. The accomplished songwriter treated fans to a career-spanning set that included tracks from all three of his solo efforts, plus some Alice In Chains hits and rare gems. The show had a little something for every fan, and was a testament to Cantrell’s storied career.
Rock quartet Thunderpussy kicked things off with a raucous set of vintage-sounding rock ‘n’ roll. The performance included their breakout hit “Velvet Noose,” among others. The group’s infections energy, fuzzy riffs, and throwback grooves won the crowd over. While their style is a bit of a departure from Cantrell’s darker heaviness, it was a refreshing way to start the show. The band just released a brand new single “Firebreather” on March 8. With a new LP on the horizon, we’re certainly stoked for some headlining shows.
Cantrell and company strolled onto the stage, drenched in ominous red lighting. They opening with “Atone” from his the tour’s namesake Brighten. Just three songs in, Cantrell leveled the audience with the Alice In Chains juggernaut “Them Bones.”
The next two tracks – “Cut You In” and “My Song” – were two of the shows bigger highlights. The pieces are from Cantrell’s first solo effort, 1998’s Boggy Depot, an apple that did not fall far from the Alice In Chains tree. Most of that record felt like it could have been under the AIC moniker, serving as an excellent foray for the rest of Cantrell’s solo material.
Other highlights included “Angel Eyes” and “Psychotic Break” from Cantrell’s sophomore solo outing Degradation Trip. The album was released in June of 2002, just two months after the untimely death of Alice In Chains singer Layne Staley. Overshadowed a bit by the evident end of the band, it can be argued that fans never got the change to full appreciate the brilliance of this album given the circumstances surrounding its release. Now, in 2023, Jerry is making sure the songs are still getting their due.
More Alice In Chains classics kept the fans on their feet including “No Excuses,” “Got Me Wrong,” and “Man In the Box.” They wrapped up the show with “Would?,” which oddly enough is the final track from the band’s 1992 watershed album Dirt.
Cantrell and his band returned to the stage for a three-song encore. Beginning with “Brighten,” they followed it up with an emotional performance of AIC’s “Rooster.” They concluded the evening appropriately with a cover of Elton John’s “Goodbye.”
Cantrell is a masterful guitar player and has some vocal chops to go along with it. When not with Alice In Chains, he’s done a good job of surrounding himself with a core crew of excellent musicians. The group fully realizes the material as it was intended, and breathes a different life into the Alice In Chains classics. When Jerry gets out on his own outside the Alice In Chains bubble, fans get to truly experience his depth as a songwriter and performer.