As it is, a tribute band is a tricky thing to accomplish; the sound, the energy, and even the look come into play as a band is trying to fill in the shoes of a famous act. It gets even more precarious when the band that is being ‘tributed’ has lost a primary member. In the case of being a tribute band for Alice in Chains, not only does a band have to handle being respectful of Layne (the deceased lead singer) but so much of AIC song catalog deals with dark topics like death and drug abuse. With all that said it makes being a tribute band for AIC a somewhat treacherous undertaking, and makes a fan like me quick to rush to judgement, being protective of Layne’s legacy.
So when Grind came to Panama City Beach, we decided to check them out.
Grind played for hours, all the AIC hits that have gotten radio play for hours and some of the deeper cuts, which were great to hear live.
Here is the ultimate compliment I can give: Grind creeped me out. It was like watching Layne on stage, and more importantly it was like listening to Layne.
Beyond the members of Grind being oh-so-talented, and the lead singer managed to be both charismatic and happy to be singing these loved song – I adore the respect and admiration that they held for AIC and Layne. It meant the world to me as a fan, and somehow made it easier to enjoy the darkest tunes with a clear conscious.
It was an oddly cathartic concert experience at times, to be shoulder to shoulder with other fans who missed Layne. Singing the songs with the rest of the crowd; song by song, verse by verse.
Although much of Alice in Chains is back together, recording and touring, Grind is a great surrogacy for fans that miss Layne, or like me never got to experience him on stage.