BlackDiamondSkye Tour: Alice in Chains and Deftones Live in Concert with Mastodon
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The last date listed for Alice in Chains and Deftones with Mastodon was Tuesday October 12, 2010 / 7:15pm.
Alice in Chains: In many ways, Alice in Chains was the definitive heavy metal band of the early ‘90s. Drawing equally from the heavy riffing of post-Van Halen metal and the gloomy strains of post-punk, the band developed a bleak, nihilistic sound that balanced grinding hard rock with subtly textured acoustic numbers. They were hard enough for metal fans, yet their dark subject matter and punky attack placed them among the front ranks of the Seattle-based grunge bands. While this dichotomy helped the group soar to multi-platinum status with their second album, 1992’s Dirt, it also divided them. Guitarist Jerry Cantrell always leaned toward the mainstream, while vocalist Layne Staley was fascinated with the seamy underground. Such tension drove the band toward stardom in their early years, but following Dirt, Alice in Chains suffered from near-crippling internal tensions that kept the band off the road for the remainder of the ’90s and, consequently, the group never quite fulfilled their potential.
In April 2002, the news that every Alice in Chains fan had been fearing for years had finally come to pass: Layne Staley was found dead due to a lethal overdose of cocaine and heroin. Alice in Chains spent the next few years in limbo, eventually reuniting in 2005 for a benefit show with Damageplan vocalist Pat Lachman filling in for the deceased Staley. After rotating through a handful of different singers, the group eventually settled on Comes with the Fall vocalist William DuVall, who appeared on the group’s 2009 comeback record Black Gives Way to Blue.— Stephen Thomas Erlewine & Greg Prato
Deftones: Deftones were one of the first groups to alternate heavy riffs and screamed vocals with more ethereal music and hushed singing - spawning a fair amount of imitators in their wake. The group first formed in Sacramento, CA during 1988, when then high-school students Stephen Carpenter (guitar), Abe Cunningham (drums), and Chino Moreno (vocals) first began to jam together. They chose the name Deftones and began playing out locally shortly thereafter, going through several different bass players before finding a permanent bassist in the form of Chi Cheng. Although the group was more heavy metal-based early on, the early ’90s saw Deftones expand their sound even further, inspired by such groundbreakers as Tool, Rage Against the Machine, and Faith No More. In 2010 the band released a new album, Diamond Eyes.-Greg Prato
Mastodon: Atlanta-based sludge/stoner/alternative metal outfit Mastodon formed in 1999 around the talents of guitarist Bill Kelliher, drummer Bränn Dailor, bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders, and guitarist/vocalist Brent Hinds. One of the more notable New Wave of American Heavy Metal acts, a genre spawned in the mid-‘90s by bands like Pantera, Biohazard, and Machine Head, Mastodon’s innovative, lyrically astute blend of progressive metal, grindcore, and hardcore helped position the band as one of the preeminent metal acts of the early 21st century.
The band’s third album, Blood Mountain, debuted at number 32 on the Billboard charts and received a Grammy nomination in the Best Metal Performance category for the song “Colony of Birchmen.” Blood Mountain marked the band’s highest chart peak, and set the stage for its long-awaited 2009 follow-up, Crack the Skye.— James Christopher Monger