Annual Layne Staley Celebrashun – Tribute Weekend 2021

NeHi Stripes drop the very words we were waiting to hear not even two months in advance…


Wait, what? HOLD MY BEER!  

With Covid having impacted our lives and deeply hindered the live music industry, it was a moment of exhilaration when we were able to announce a physical, in-person event would take place this year. Despite all that had occurred, 2020 still saw Jar of Flies come together and host an incredible live stream from famed London Bridge Studios… When it comes to celebrating Layne’s legacy, the dedication and commitment to ensuring fans from all over the world can honour Layne during his birthday has never wavered since 2002, and I have upmost respect and admiration for all the beautiful humans who come together and ensure these events continue. 

Photo by Cindy Cavins

Before I get to the striking 1920’s Neptune Theatre and delectable line-up, I want to take a moment to express my gratitude for a second orchestrated recording at London Bridge Studios which was presented via ‘virtual stream’ on YouTube, August 22nd. Not only could family, friends and fans come together in Central Seattle and be rocked off their feet, those who were unable to join from afar could still feel involved and participate in a live chat as Jar of Flies cracked open the Alice vault with a 75-minute set as a Tribute show finale on Layne’s birthday. 

Watch the entire stream here for free

Whilst I reside in the U.K, Seattle has become a second home and over the 14 years I’ve been visiting, the friendships I have gained and the rich, current music community keep me coming back. With restrictions surrounding international travel, I felt greatly disheartened to yet again not be able to hug, rejoice and spend time with so many dear to me. That said, I was elated for those who could, and when the contributing artists were announced my jaw hit the floor. This wouldn’t be a one-act show; despite moment changing rules & regulations, a whole host of established PNW musicians came together to make this show particularly special. 

Ten Miles Wide
Ten Miles Wide perform Backburner

As the evening kicked off seeing renown locals Ten Miles Wide with the unmistakable and unique voice of Johndus Beckman at the helm, I don’t think there could have been a better way to get fans fired up for the night ahead. As the evening progressed, special guest performers from The Crying Spell, Ten Miles Wide and Wave Armory took to the stage. A personal highlight for me was when James Bergstrom of Second Coming was joined by the distinguished and gigantic voice of Travis Bracht for an incredible rendition of It’s Coming After! (Yes, that song). 

It’s Coming After featuring James Bergstrom, Travis Bracht and Jar of Flies

Stepping behind the mic to aid Jar of Flies saw yet another set of familiar and incredibly talented individuals with larger-than-life voices; Glenn Cannon, Jason Kertson (I remember your first appearance from 2010 like it was yesterday) and our own Outshined ‘Chris Cornell’, Keven James Hoffman. 

Enigmatic Performers
Top left – Glenn Cannon – Right – Jason Kertson – BL – Keven James Hoffman

Jar of Flies perform Hate to Feel

Since 2019, Brendan Maier has guested Jar of Flies and flown all the way from Illinois to provide us with his incredible, eerie Layne-alike pipes. Not only can Brendan reach into the hearts of every fan in the room with the same energetic delivery as Layne did, but his natural stance as a performer really is uncanny. Having become such a hit with audiences and the local music scene alike, Brendan soon became an official and permanent member of Jar of Flies, so make sure you keep an eye out for their future performances! 

One of the stand-out experiences for me is that with such a large back catalogue, the bands are never afraid to dig deep and cover material Alice in Chains and Layne didn’t even perform live. Especially as someone who never got to behold Layne in person, being able to soak up all those songs in a live setting with a love and joy filled atmosphere is truly magical; one you must experience! 

Nancy duetting with Layne to sing Wake Up

The shows have annually and faithfully raised money for the Layne Staley Memorial Fund set up via Therapeutic Health Services, so if you are able to help, please know that no amount is too small and you can donate any time through the following link

Layne Staley Memorial Fund – THS: Therapeutic Health Services | Addiction Recovery in WA“Drugs are not the way to the light. They won’t lead to a fairy-tale life, they lead to suffering.” Layne Staley, 1995. THS, which provides treatment, education, and hope for addiction recovery, is proud to manage the Layne Staley Memorial Fund, treating heroin addicts and their families in the Seattle music

A heartfelt ‘thank you’ to JT Phillips, Lee Bruso, Kyyle Cort & Daryl Williams for their persistence and hard work year after year. Nancy Layne McCallum for being the graceful, beacon of light and pillar of strength she is. And last but not least, Kurt Clark & Cindy Cavins of the NeHi Stripes family who give me a platform to share my voice.   

Jar of Flies – a Class Act
Top Left – JT Phillips – Top Right – Lee Bruso – Bottom Left – Kyyle Cort – BR – Daryl Williams

See you next year? I’ll be there if I can fly! 

Photos taken right after the 2017 LST at the Moore Theatre and 2018 Showbox; two of the greatest shows I’ve had the privilege of attending. 


All photos by Kurt Clark of NeHi Stripes Photo unless otherwise stated.
All videos by Cindy Cavins.

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