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Alice in Chains, Deftones and Mastodon span two decades of heavy

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Alice in Chains at the Joint
Photo: Justin M. Bowen

The Details

Alice in Chains, Deftones and Mastodon
The Joint, October 16
Three and a half stars

Representing three significant movements in hard rock over the last two decades, Alice in Chains, Deftones and Mastodon joined forces for the final night of their monthlong tour Saturday at the Joint, and fans packed the place early, eager to take in the entire bill.

Mastodon proved both more and less exciting live than on record; the group’s often baroque, obtuse songs had more immediacy in person, but for a band known for its crazy live shows, Mastodon seemed a little subdued. Songs flowed into one another so seamlessly that there wasn’t even room for applause, let alone stage banter. The Deftones did a better job firing up the crowd and delivered the best set of the night, sticking to heavier songs in keeping with the return-to-metal sound of their latest album, Diamond Eyes.

Alice in Chains didn’t have the same intensity, but the band did put on a solid show, proving that reuniting in 2006 with new singer William DuVall was a smart move. Thankfully gone were the long, maudlin tributes to late singer Layne Staley that dragged down early reunion shows (instead Staley was given his due briefly, with a nod to his father, who was in the audience). DuVall has developed into a more confident frontman, and songs from 2009 album Black Gives Way to Blue blended well with older material. Guitarist/singer Jerry Cantrell was still the star of the show, and his voice effectively complemented DuVall’s. The new guy did get some chances to shine, including an unexpected showcase during “Love, Hate, Love,” a deep cut from the band’s 1990 debut. From there to the more recent songs, the whole show was 20 years of hard rock delivered in a focused, concise package.

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