Next week Alice in Chains unveil their first new album in five years and the grunge heroes will storm Seattle, taking their promotional tour to new heights. Lousy puns aside, the hard-rock heavyweights will acoustically rock out atop the new-look Space Needle on Aug. 21, setting up on the landmark’s new revolving glass floor a stomach-turning 500 feet off the ground.
Unfortunately, it’s a private affair for a few lucky SiriusXM subscribers, but the satellite radio company will eventually broadcast the performance at 2 p.m. Aug. 31.
“I’ve visited the Space Needle many times in my life and it’s going to be a real honor and a total trip for us to play there,” said guitarist/singer Jerry Cantrell in a statement. “We’re so proud of this album, and to be able to celebrate its release with a performance at one of our town’s most iconic landmarks is really special. It sorta reminds me of the time we did the ‘Again’ video, but instead of being 6 feet in the air rocking out on a glass floor, we’ll be 50 stories high … slight difference.”
Alice in Chains are set to drop their new “Rainier Fog” full-length Aug. 24, a day before headlining day two of KISW’s Pain in the Grass concerts at White River Amphitheatre. Saturday’s lineup also includes The Cult and fellow ’90s rockers Stone Temple Pilots and Bush. Also performing are Seattle vets Walking Papers, featuring members of The Missionary Position, Screaming Trees’ Barrett Martin and Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses fame.
There’s certainly some precedent for Seattle rockers ascending the Needle for publicity’s sake, though Alice in Chains will be the first to play the skyline landmark since it underwent its recent $100 million makeover. Earlier this year, Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready raised the band’s flag above the Space Needle to promote its Home Shows concerts and fundraising campaign, which had the city abuzz last week. In 2013, Mudhoney became the first band to play on the Needle’s roof, not just the observation deck, when the seminal sludge-punks kicked off Sub Pop Records’ 25th anniversary celebrations with a public performance live-streamed by KEXP.
Beyond the altitudinous hijinks, Alice in Chains will be all over Seattle next week. The band will crash Monday’s Mariners game for “Alice in Chains Night” at Safeco Field, when a terrace club ticket deal comes with an AIC T-shirt and a “Rainier Fog” CD (while supplies last). On Aug. 23-24, the band opens a pop-up shop and free retrospective exhibit at the Crocodile, which drummer Sean Kinney co-owns, displaying memorabilia, old gear and rare photos.
Seattle has clearly been on Alice in Chains’ minds of late. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Cantrell mentioned that the title track from the new album is a tribute to the late ’80s Seattle scene that birthed them. “This song is a little homage to all of that: where we come from, who we are, all of the triumphs, all of the tragedies, lives lived,” he told the mag.
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