June 1, 2017
All photos by Raymond Ahner.
Legendary 90s alternative rock band Bush came to the Warfield on a Thursday night to deliver an action packed setlist in support of their latest release, Black and White Rainbows. The band opened the night with the crushing rock of “Everything Zen,” a song driven by the crunching guitar playing and gruff vocals of frontman Gavin Rossdale.
As this was a tour in support of a new album, Bush dove into the delicate alt-rock of “Nurse” from Black and White Rainbows, blending waves of guitar chords and atmospheric leads from Chris Traynor to deliver an emotionally compelling song. The key to Bush’s sound is their ability to meld heartfelt vocals with charging rock, as was the case on the anthemic “The Sound of Winter.” The song begins with a strong series of guitar riffs while Rossdale delivers a strong set of vocals, gradually building intensity into the explosive chorus before dialing back into the subdued verse.
After this, Bush launched into a few deeper cuts, such as the menacing grind of “Dirty Fly.” Riding a slithering backbeat from Robin Goodridge, the piece shifted through various dynamic changes, centered around a series of angular and dissonant guitar parts from Rossdale. The singer was in fine form throughout the concert and his enthusiasm and energy was highly addictive, particularly during “Reasons,” during which he stepped out into the crowd for the entire duration of the song. Rossdale did not miss a beat as he ran around the general admission floor, belting out the song’s vocal lines along with some help from the rabid audience.
The most touching moment of the night came during the ballad “Letting the Cables Sleep,” a song Rossdale dedicated to his late friend Chris Cornell. The piece features some of Rossdale’s most evocative vocals as it shuffles through a series of tender clean guitar-driven passages. To close out the main portion of the set, Bush dusted off the ferocious “Little Things,” a winding piece of 90s era grunge that really got the crowd going.
The band came back on stage for an encore that featured a particularly inspired cover of the R.E.M song “The One I Love,” which featured a brief section lifted from “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden, another touching tribute to the recently deceased Cornell. After this Rossdale picked up his electric guitar once again to play the band’s biggest hit, “Glycerine.” The song is based around a few simple chords but provides the sonic backdrop for some of Rossdale’s strongest vocals, hitting all the right musical and emotional notes. The key to the song’s appeal lies in this simplicity and directness, made even more apparent on the live stage.
Bush closed out the concert with a rousing rendition of “Comedown,” another track from their wildly popular debut album Sixteen Stone. Anchored by a throbbing bass performance from Corey Britz, “Comedown” ended the show on an especially high note. With so many strong performances the night was a demonstration that 23+ years into their existence as a band, Bush still can play at a very high level and create plenty of high energy moments. Rossdale and company have put together an impressive live show that will continue to please fans from many more years to come.
Check out this slideshow of more Bush photos by Raymond Ahner:
Setlist: Everything Zen | Nurse | The Chemicals Between Us | The Sound of Winter | Mad Love | Greedy Fly | The Only Way Out | Reasons | The People That We Love | Swallowed | The Beat of Your Heart | Sky Turns Day Glo | Letting the Cables Sleep | Peace-S | Little Things || Encore || Machinehead | The One I Love (R.E.M. cover) | Glycerine | Comedown
For more information about Bush, check out their website.