One of the most popular rock groups of the 90’s dropped into Vancouver this past week.
I don’t know about you but I found the 90’s a confusing time for hard rock and metal music. The 80’s were about the hair metal like Motley Crue and Ratt, but also we saw the birth of more extreme metal like Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax. Then the 90’s, that seemed to move in a more grunge rock style that seemed to overwhelm many of the other genres. Bands like Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam started to take over and most of the hair metal bands faded hard into oblivion. Later in the 90’s, we saw the post grunge era, with Creed and God Smack as well as another band that broke out during that time that time in 1994 was Bush, who had a string of very popular radio driven hits from their first couple of albums
Tonight, I finally get to take a trip back to those years as Bush is playing at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver Canada (MRG Entertainment) with support from Eva Under Fire and Bad Wolves. Their last visit to the area was actually in 2018 in Abbotsford with the Cult and Stone Temple Pilots.
Bush had their first album back in 1995 with Sixteen Stone, then produced 4 albums up until about 2001 after flaming out for 10 years until 2011’s The Sea of Memories. From there they have knocked out a further 4 albums with the latest in 2022 called The Art of Survival. With 9 albums in the Discography, “Survival” seems to be something Bush has done well since the 90’s.
No, the UK band is not the same since the 90’s however with Chris Traynor (lead guitar since 2002), Corey Britz (Bass since 2010), Nik Hughes ( drums since 2019) and founding member Gavin Rossdale on vocals. Can you imagine Bush with another singer? Not me either, this really is Gavin’s band. Without him and his unique, raspy voice, I don’t think this band exists.
They start off the set with the first track called “Everything Zen” of their very first album Sixteen Stone. It’s a pretty simple stage setup, with Nik’s drums on a 6 step high drum riser with speaker cabinets on either side of him. He is also surrounded with lights and they definitely put them to good use tonight.
One of my favorite songs is right away at song 2 with the highly recognizable riff from “Machine head”, again from Sixteen Stone. I can tell you that Gavin’s voice sounds alot like the recording too, a little deeper now but what do you expect from the 58 year old anyway? Physically, the guy looks like he is in his thirties and is in fantastic shape.
Song 3 is “Kingdom” from 2020’2 The Kingdom album. You can really start to see which Bush the crowd is here to see during this entire show, The 90’s Bush? You bet, as after “The Chemicals Between Us” is done, the fists arise again with “Greedy Fly” from 1997’s Razorblade Suitcase
Every few songs tonight, Gavin would do abit a talking, sometimes his voice gets lost with the audience and begins to ramble on with his stories. One example in particular was him talking about meeting a girl after a show as I overheard people ‘sigh’, as one said in the audience “get on with it already”, and one lady shouted out “Take off your shirt!”. But Gavin is very appreciative of the fanbase as well as his love for Vancouver, which was cool. Mid song banter is definitely not one of Gavin’s strong points.
But like I mentioned, the older gen x crowd were really there to hear those first few albums, like songs “Swallowed” and “Little Things” which are super identifiable from their era. They don’t ignore The Art of Survival however, with 4 songs (about average of a new album from most live bands) with “All Things Must Change”, “Heavy is the Ocean”, “Identity” and “More than Machines” which was the first song of the encore.
Also with the encore, They slid a Beatles song in with “Come Together”, it was good, but I am like everyone else here tonight, and I would’ve preferred something else from the first 3 albums.
Lastly, that thirst is quenched with them ending with the hit “Glycerine” with Gavin on his own with the guitar. The last one did not disappoint either with “Comedown” to triumphantly end the show.
This was a really good show tonight however, with 9 of the 18 from those popular 90’s albums cleverly slid between the other 9 “newer 2000” era songs. The sound at the Orpheum was excellent as you would expect within the nearly sold out facility, as with the lighting, was definitely rock show caliber. I was really pleased that Gavin’s voice has really held up well over the years, as with the rest of the band. I think Nik behind the drum kit really shined for me tonight, as his beats were definitely violent and fun to watch. So all in all, yes, I did have a 90’s flashback tonight, they sounded great, played all the big songs you expected. I found it well worth the time seeing these post grunge pioneers back in Vancouver.