If you gave up on Bush after 1996’s Razorblade Suitcase, then it’s time you gave them another try – especially if you catch them on their current Black & White Rainbows tour. You just may be surprised that they haven’t shriveled up like an old prune and are actually torching up venues as if twenty years had not just passed.
After a short break, Bush kicked off the next leg of their tour in Biloxi on Friday night at the IP Casino. But for Gavin Rossdale, he was a little worried if anyone was going to actually show up: “It was a ghost town walking around here earlier,” he said to the crowd. He needn’t have fretted as it looked to be close to a sell-out, something Bush has been doing a lot of lately. Surprised? Well, fans all over seem to be eating up the band nowadays, going crazy during their favorite songs as if they were still teenagers with “Everything Zen” or “Glycerine” turned up full blast.
Although Rossdale was naturally the center of attention, he didn’t ego it up, making the concert much more of a band project. No single spotlight shone down on him – except during the encore when he performed “Glycerine” solo with just his guitar – and equal attention was given to guitar player Chris Traynor, bassist Corey Britz and drummer Robin Goodridge. But you could certainly tell that Rossdale was feeling it, at times attacking his guitar with a pummeling fist, jumping in the air or slapping hands with fans in the front row. “Everything you do, we feel,” he said before starting the encore off with a wild “Machinehead.”
The fans didn’t need much coaxing to help energize the band. Upon the opening chords of songs such as “Greedy Fly” and “Swallowed,” they were yelling their approval. They sang the chorus to “Comedown” by themselves and threw their hands in the air during “The People That We Love.” And starting off with “Everything Zen” was perfect, as it put the crowd right at the top level of enthusiasm which never wavered. In fact, it grew.
Bush’s new record, Black & White Rainbows, came out in March and has been doing quite well. Not surprising since Bob Rock (Metallica, Motley Crue, The Cult) was back at the helm after producing the band’s successful comeback album, 2011’s Sea Of Memories. Rock, along with Rossdale who helped produce, has put the band back in that crunchy rock sound that was so beloved back in the nineties. They played three of the new songs, “Mad Love,” “Nurse” and the drum-driven rocker “Peace-S.”
Traynor, who joined in 2002 following the departure of founding member Nigel Pulsford, is one of those unsung guitar gods who doesn’t seem to get the credit he deserves. Maybe because he’s not showy and he doesn’t make his solos rapturous pieces of experimentation. What he does do is provide the song with a pulse. On the occasions when he does come to the lip of the stage, his solos are meaty and heartfelt, “The Sound Of Winter” and “Greedy Fly” being good examples of how he brings a sense of soul to his playing. “I didn’t get into guitar until I got in high school because obviously it was a cooler image,” Traynor told Glide in a 2012 interview. “Obviously, when you’re younger and a teenager and your hormones are exploding, the guitar seems more of a sexual instrument than maybe piano might be. So it was just very moving.” Bass player Britz was also a ball of energy, having fun with fans while charging ahead alongside his brother-in-rhythm Goodridge, a hard hitting beat keeper.
Giving the crowd an emotional moment, one of the best tributes to Chris Cornell I have seen comes during the middle of REM’s “The One I Love,” when Rossdale slips to his knees and almost whisper sings a few lines from “Black Hole Sun.” It took your breath away.
For a band that has gone through enough trials and tribulations in it’s career, it’s good to see them continuing on a rocking path with this much rejuvenation. From the opener “Everything Zen,” through “The Sound Of Winter,” “Swallowed,” “Little Things,” “Machinehead” and into the closing notes of “Comedown,” Bush rarely slowed down and that makes for a darn good rock show in my book.