While they weren’t birthed in the same scene (or even on the same continent) as the titans of grunge, Bush‘s place in alternative rock history is still a vital one. They can arguably be considered the biggest post-grunge band ever. They distilled that movement’s eccentricities and streamlined it into something concise and palatable for a wider audience. As proved by the wild crowd this past Thursday at REBEL nightclub, that sound is still in high demand.
The set kicked off with one of the five singles off the breakthrough 1994 album Sixteen Stone, “Everything Zen”, and maintained a fairly consistent pattern of new songs and old songs for the rest of the night. The new songs were from this year’s Black and White Rainbows, but you’d be forgiven for thinking they were vintage Bush. Songs like “Nurse” sound straight out of the 90s with their chunky guitar riffs and vaguely symbolic lyrics. They fit right in with the rest of the band’s output, from the jagged chords of “Greedy Fly” to the adrenaline fueled “People That We Love”.
Singer Gavin Rossdale of course took a few moments to comment upon the great loss of fellow 90s icon Chris Cornell earlier that day, and spoke of the enormous respect he had for the Soundgarden frontman. He would later inject a few lines from that band’s “Blackhole Sun” into a spacey cover of R.E.M‘s “The One I Love” towards the end of the set.
Speaking of the end of the set- the back-and-forth between new and old material ended abruptly as Bush unfurled the remaining singles from Sixteen Stone in a one-two-three-four punch that blew everyone away. Gavin headed out into the crowd during the first song (“Little Things”), and made his way around the entire venue greeting and interacting with fans while singing. He eventually made his way back to the stage and continued with “Machinehead”. A solo rendition of “Glycerine” followed, and the night was capped off with an extended version of “Comedown”. Taking everything into consideration, it’s easy to see Bush continuing on for many years to come. They’ve got the talent, the catalogue, and of course, the fans.