Layne Staley says “No booze for yooz” as Alice in Chains goes all-ages in Vancouver



By Steve Newton

What does it mean when a venue loses its liquor licence and a concert is changed from an all-you-can-drink show to an “all-ages” event? Does it mean that anyone who goes can act like a 16-year-old and get away with it?

I guess so.

“All right, I got in with my mickey!” boasted one local rock celebrity as he strode into the men’s room to fix himself a shot. It reminded me of the old Evergreen Hall dances in Chilliwack, when the most important thing was not how good Stallion Thumrock or Bowser Moon played, but whether or not you made it through the door with your trusty 13-ouncer of lemon gin. (And whether or not you could drink it without painting the dance floor, if you know what I mean and I think you do.)

But one measly mickey wasn’t enough to get the sold-out, jam-packed 86 Street crowd looped last Friday (December 18), and it’s a good thing, too, because then the owners could have called the place the Expo Site Zoo and charged admission to see the animal show.

As it was, the crowd’s antics were limited to the odd mosher being turned upside down and showing off his runners while Alice in Chains churned out its popular brand of Marshall-powered grunge and jugular-bulging vocals. Somehow, the band managed to make the normally thirsty 86 Street revellers forget they weren’t gripping frosty bottles of brew.

“No booze for yooz,” taunted singer Layne Staley, as if it was something to joke about, before leading Alice in Chains into another eardrum-testing tune from its latest album, Dirt. The sound was better than normal for 86 Street, and the group was definitely tight, but I, for one, don’t see what the big deal is about a band that is basically a ’90s version of Black Sabbath.

And I didn’t care much for the unseasonal message one of the group’s roadies sent out immediately after the band finished: “Good night and go home, you losers.” Yeah—Merry Christmas to you, too, bub.


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