Alice In Chains, Deftones & Mastodon | 10.1.10

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If ever there was a packaged concert designed to leave all attendees nearly deaf and mute the following day from sore throats and ringing ears, it is surely BlackDiamondSkye.

 
 
 
Scott Trade Center, St. Louis, Mo.
 
The many fans who showed up slightly late to the Alice in Chains/Deftones/Mastodon aural attack walked directly into the wall of progressive sludge metal that is Atlanta’s Mastodon. Though the band did not let up for a moment during its short 8-song set, the crowd became quite unresponsive by mid-set and didn’t catch back up with the band’s intensity until the closer, “Blood and Thunder.”
 
As the Deftones approached the stage not 20 minutes after Mastodon’s departure, many more fans had decided to join in the fun. Chino Moreno and company lit the crowd up with their blend of old and new songs, ranging from 1995's “7 Words” to 2010's “You’ve Seen the Butcher.” Since their last show at the Pageant in ’07, the group has been through events that have caused many lesser bands to fold.
 
Bass player Chi Cheng remains in a semi-conscious state following a car wreck nearly two years ago. Through an outpouring of support, www.OneLoveForChi.com has raised nearly $12,000 dollars this year, toward an ultimate goal of $500,000. In the meantime, the Deftones’ longtime friend Sergio Vega aptly fills in and is even featured live on “My Own Summer (Shove It).”
 
With another quick changeover (made possible by an incredibly well-organized stage setup) Alice in Chains took their places. The band simultaneously reminded fans of the new, with an intro featuring artwork from 2009’s Black Gives Way to Blue, and paid tribute to the old, coming onstage to “Them Bones.” Unfortunately, early on there were overbearing sound issues that made it difficult to enjoy the many tracks off of ‘92’s Dirt. Either because of the audience’s hearing loss or a switch to less intense tracks, the sound seemed to clear up before AIC played recent hits “Check My Brain” and Your Decision.”
 
The set list featured multiple cuts from each of the band’s four main LPs and never focused on the same album for too long. The one exception was “A Looking in View” from Black Gives Way to Blue—at over seven minutes long, the track got the standing crowd thinking about those seats they had been ignoring from the moment the lights went out. But as soon as the band sounded the opening riffs of their new single “Lesson Learned,” attention quickly returned to Jerry Cantrell’s haunting vocal delivery. Cantrell and William Duvall traded and shared the five mics positioned around the stage. Together they perfectly recreated the sounds of “Grind,” and possibly even improved upon the biggest sing-alongs of the night: “Rooster” and “Man in the Box.”
 
The problem with a tour featuring the lords of progressive, alternative/nu-metal and grunge rock, respectively, is that it crams three entirely different crowds in the same space. The resulting tension became very clear throughout the night as audience members drunkenly informed those around them that, “The Deftones should be the ones headlining,” or “Mastodon is better than both of those bands!” However, as each act took the stage one thing was apparent; all of these bands came 100% prepared to prove themselves more than worthy of everyone’s attention. | Bruce Matlock
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