Jerry Cantrell’s Brighten experience unpacks at the Uptown and stays for awhile
Chairs at a rock concert?
The last time I saw chairs set up on the floor of the Uptown, The Schwag was playing a Thanksgiving special for a handful of deadheads and crusty hippies who had stumbled in off Broadway. So, I was briefly taken aback when I arrived at a packed house for the maestro of grunge and frontman for Alice in Chains. I was informed Cantrell had purposefully undersold the show to provide his loyal fans with a one-of-a-kind live experience, similar to the legendary MTV Unplugged show.
Seattle-based female rock quartet, Thunderpussy, started off the evening for a hyped yet mostly seated crowd. The classic rock queens came out with guns blazing, legs kicking, and hair flailing. Vocalist Molly Sides was electric—dancing, jumping, and thrusting into the microphone, the stage, and each of her bandmates for 45 minutes straight.
Sides’ pulsating vibratos were reminiscent of Grace Slick, while guitarist Whitney Petty paid tribute to Jimmy Page with her violin bow.
“Protect the pussy, listen to the pussy, and if you don’t have it, don’t speak for it,” Sides said at the end of their set.
The butts began to rise from their seats when Cantrell and his black-clad, 7-piece band took the stage. Brighten, his third solo album in 19 years, is less angsty and just as polished as anything prior, featuring the same wailing guitars and vocal harmonies we fell in love with in the ’90s. The grunge icon’s ability to keep the sound fresh after all these years never fails to impress.
And don’t worry; we were treated to plenty of pre- and post-Layne Staley Alice in Chains hits throughout the band’s setlist. Dillinger Escape Plan vocalist Greg Puciato dominated lead vocals on classics like “Down in a Hole,” “Would?” and “Man in the Box,” while the entire theater sang along in unison.
Cantrell also threw in a bonus track, “Sea of Sorrow,” explaining, “Since I butchered ‘Psychotic Break,’ I’m going to play an extra song for you.” To everyone’s surprise, he closed the show with an epic hard rock rendition of Elton John’s ballad, “Goodbye,” before exiting the stage, leaving us to wonder if he was trying to tell us something.
Jerry Cantrell setlist
We Die Young
Cut You In
Check My Brain
Down In A Hole
Had to Know
A Job To Do
Man In The Box
Whale & Wasp