When British rockers Bush broke onto the scene in 1994 with their seminal debut Sixteen Stone they were like a virus that infected every stereo on the planet.
Fast forward 20 years and they are as infectious as ever and hitting the road in support of their newest album Man on the Run, which is currently burning up the charts, once again re-infecting both FM as well as Satellite radio.
On a bitterly cold January evening the lucky fans in Pittsburgh got to experience a band that many thought they would never see again when they disbanded in 2002, only to regroup in 2010, live and in the flesh.
Relative newcomers Stars In Stereo set things into motion that night with a blistering, high energy set of Flyleaf-esque melodic hard rock. Front woman Bec Hollcraft and company’s set was dripping with sex and lines like “I’m ugly till you fuck me” in “Leave Your Mark” drove fans into a frenzy.
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Hollcraft, who strapped on a guitar for a few songs, even whipped a few fans in the front row with her whip and threatened the rest saying, “If you don’t like us, I’ll whip your asses too” and when guitarist Jordan McGraw had issues with his guitar, he didn’t miss a beat and jumped into the crowd to kill time, while his guitar tech fixed the problem.
Up next, from the Great White North was Theory Of A Deadman, who, judging by the overwhelming response, had quite a few fans of their own there that evening.
One of the highlights of their impressive set were the band softly playing Alice In Chain’s “Nutshell” while front man Tyler Connolly told the story of the how the first time he heard Led Zeppelin that it was, “All Rock N Roll, all the fucking time.” He went on to jokingly add, “When we started this tour in Santa Monica it was 72 degrees and now it’s cold as fuck,” which triggered the song of the same name.
Other highlights included “Hate My Life,” which was prefaced by Connolly saying, “This is the perfect song for a bad fucking day,” that found the entire audience gleefully singing along at the top of their lungs, as well as their teaser of “Sweet Home Alabama,” with Pittsburgh specific lyrics that transitioned into a mega heavy rendition of “Bad Girlfriend” to close their set.
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The crowd was now primed and ready for Bush and they didn’t have to wait long. The band wasted no time, foregoing any fancy intros, choosing rather to launch straight into their set.
The stage too was very simplistic, just the band, their amps and a giant big screen that showed various images throughout the night, including images of the band in the studio. It even cleverly incorporated song lyrics into the various images.
The band, especially front man Gavin Rossdale, looked and sounded as good as they did in their prime. Speaking of Mr. Rossdale, he spent most of the evening bouncing around the stage like a man half his age, his thick British accent only further adding to his charm when he spoke. He even got down into the crowd while still playing at one point, to the delight of the fans.
They played a whopping 17 song set that included the five smash singles “Everything Zen,” “Little Things,” “Machinehead,” Glycerine” and “Comedown” from their stunning debut, the last three of which were part of the four song encore, alongside Bush standards like “Greedy Fly,” “the Chemicals Between Us” and “Mouth.”
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They had a near capacity crowd and each and every one of them sang along loud and proud. The band also threw in a nice assortment of tracks from the new album Man on the Run, like “This House Is on Fire,” “The Only Way Out,” “The Gift,” “Eye of the Storm” and “Just Like My Other Sins,” on top of working in a cover of the Talking Heads classic “Once In A Lifetime” during the four song encore that brought the house down.
Even though Rossdale is the only remaining original member, since the majority of the focus over the years has always been on him anyway and he is still at the top of his game, it still feels like Bush when you see them live. So if you’re a fan, don’t miss your chance to see them if the tour hits your town. You will not be disappointed.