Live: Bush in Indianapolis

90’s alt-rockers Bush brought their A-game when they hit Indianapolis’ Egyptian Room on their Black and White Rainbows tour recently. The night started off with The Kickback. A lot is being asked of an opening band when there are only two acts on the bill, but The Kickback proved they were more than up for the challenge. The contrast between the two bands was interesting. Bush always comes out guns blazing, with full production, lots of colors and just a bright show all around. The Kickback, however, kept things as simple and stripped back as possible, sticking to basic white lighting throughout their entire set. There was something endearing and respectable about this approach, as it left the focus entirely on the music, making for a fantastic introduction to the band. When production isn’t used to set a mood, the success of the show relies on the music- these guys weren’t hiding behind anything, they were just being themselves, which also meant a few little quirky bits were thrown in to the mix as well. Lead singer Billy Yost informed the crowd that they were selling homemade bath bombs (“We made them ourselves, but we only have one left…turns out they were a really hot seller!”) and key chains shaped like a nose (inspired by, as Yost described, the ‘larger than average’ nose size of some of the band members.) He also mentioned that the next day was drummer Danny Yost’s birthday, and that although they weren’t whiskey guys, if anyone was a fan of Willie Nelson they could hang out and celebrate wit the band later (this was followed by a heavy “wink wink”) The group ended their set with the 6-and-a-half-minute track “Rob Our House” which details their move from South Dakota to Chicago and their experience of having their house broken into shortly after the move. Yost dropped his guitar and went full force on a rambling story of the incident, along with some improvised lines about the tour- an impressive and memorable end to the set, to say the least! When the group reemerged to tear down their gear the crowd spontaneously started singing happy birthday to drummer Danny Yost, which seemed to indicate the band had stolen the hearts of the crowd with ease. The Kickback is one of those bands that you just love to watch. There’s a refreshing sense of authenticity behind everything they do- there’s absolutely no pretense involved, and they’re not trying to be something they’re not, which seems like a rarity in the age of social media when so many things are done ironically or with some deeper agenda in mind. What you see is what you get with The Kickback, and there’s so much to be said for that. This is a band you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on this year. After a brief intermission Bush took to the stage in dramatic fashion, jumping straight in to the explosive opening of their hit “Machinehead” off their 1994 breakthrough album Sixteen Stone. This was a particularly nice surprise, because although “Machinehead” is always included in the set, it’s hardly ever the opening song, so right from the beginning the energy in the room was absolutely electric. But that amplified feeling of energy in the air isn’t uncommon at a Bush show. If you spend much time at rock shows you quickly notice that artists tend to favor dark and moody lighting setups, but Bush is the exact opposite, opting to keep their stage bursting with light throughout the majority of their set. Add in vocalist Gavin Rossdale’s penchant for constant movement, bouncing across the stage like a cross between Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Muhammad Ali, and you’ve got the perfect formula for a high-energy show. The band performed a healthy dose of new material mixed in with fan favorites, with 4 of their 18 songs being off 2017’s release Black and White Rainbows. After “The Sound of Winter” off 2011’s The Sea of Memories, the band transitioned into their latest single “Mad Love” which was clearly already a favorite among many in the crowd. Oftentimes the energy in the room tends to go down a notch or two when artists perform new material, as fans are a bit partial to their old favorites and haven’t yet developed a fondness for the newer stuff, but “Mad Love” proved to be a major exception and easily held its own amongst a set chock-full of classics. During the final chorus of “Reasons” Rossdale hopped off the stage and onto the barricade, getting up close and personal with fans in the front row, although this was only a small preview of what all Bush fans know to expect towards the end of the show. After the first verse of “Little Things” Rossdale stepped off the stage and into the pit, where he strolled along the barricade until the chorus, when he started his long journey through the crowd. As soon as he actually entered the crowd one fan got a little too enthusiastic and took off sprinting after him, which made for an amusing sight as she ran after Gavin and 3-4 large security guards ran after her! But alas, Rossdale continued along his journey, seemingly unaware of his follower, and eventually made his way up to the VIP deck in the room where he spent the remainder of the song jumping and singing along with fans. The band encored with their first single “Everything Zen,” an incredible rendition of R.E.M.’s “The One I Love” which the group has a long history of performing, and of course “Glycerine” followed by “Comedown.” The encore alone was enough to blow the vast majority of rock shows out of the water. These guys didn’t let their energy dip for a second throughout the show, an impressive feat for a band that’s been performing live for over 20 years. Bush will be crisscrossing the States on through the end of the summer, so no matter where you’re located you’re almost guaranteed to have a show coming your way soon, and it’s a show you definitely won’t want to miss. -Ashley Adcox