Early in the 90’s grunge music was taking over the world, and while the majority of it’s artists were coming out of Seattle, Washington in the US, British band Bush had the UK’s best answer to the Seattle Sound. Lead by frontman Gavin Rossdale, Bush became the biggest grunge band from outside of Seattle. Their 1994 debut album “Sixteen Stone” still holds up to this day as one of the greatest grunge records of all time. In 2010 “Sixteen Stone” was certified 6x Platnium by the RIAA and the album’s 5 singles still remain staples on alt rock radio.
Fast forward to 2017, where Bush is now a well-established rock band and just released their seventh studio album, “Black and White Rainbows.” Grunge for the most part is a thing of the past, even the biggest US grunge acts, such as Pearl Jam have matured into arena headlining rock giants. Bush’s sound has matured as well, and though they’re no longer turning out angst driven anthems, they can still reach down and find that 90’s edge.
For Friday’s tour stop at Boston’s House of Blues, Bush would spend most of the show alternating between their first and seventh albums. Opening with an extended version of “Everything Zen” - the group’s first single – they set the tone for an energetic show early on. “The Beat of Your Heart” off “Black and White Rainbows” marked the first appearance of material from that album four songs into the show. Now Bush didn’t exclusively play from those two albums, songs such as “Greedy Fly” and “Swallowed” from 90’s era Bush brought back nostalgia memories for many of the fans in attendance. While “The Sound of Winter” from their 2011 comeback album “Sea of Memories” satisfied the new era of Bush fans.
Rossdale managed to deliver tunes from both eras, the way they were meant to be. On the newer material the band was more reserved on stage, while when going back to early material they brought their energy levels up. At no point was that more apparent than when Rossdale spent the entirety of the song “Little Things” running around the venues, making his way to the 3rd balcony and back down to the floor to sing in the middle of the crowd before leaving for the encore break. The encore was made up of three songs from “Sixteen Stone” and one cover song. A cover of R.EM.’s “The One I Love” and a solo version of "Glycerine" by Rossdale were sandwiched between “Machinehead” and “Comedown” allowing fans to end the show on a high energy singalong.
In the years since their monster debut album, Bush has undergone a couple lineup changes, with bassist Corey Britz and guitarist Chris Traynor replacing original members Dave Parsons and Nigel Pulsford respectively. But Britz and Traynor have breathed new life into the band contributing on new releases as well as doing fair justice to Bush’s older tunes. Original drummer Robin Goodridge still holds down the low end with absolute precision solidifying him as one of grunge’s most consistent drummers.
Opening Friday night’s concert were San Fernando post-punk revivalists She Wants Revenge and electric folk rockers Leopold and His Fiction.
Photos: BUSH, She Wants Revenge, Leopold and his Fiction - Boston, MA 8/11/17