WORDS/ PHOTOGRAPHY BY: ADAM HARRISON
It was 90’s rejuvenation night in Toronto’s Sound Academy on Wednesday, February 18th when Bush treated a packed house to a blast of the grunge era. The early thirties crowd couldn’t have been more excited to welcome front man Gavin Rossdale, his tightly pulled man-bun, and his band of merry men- as they were supported by Theory of a Deadman and Stars in Stereo.
Opening the evening were Canadian alternative, post-grunge band, Theory of a Deadman, who just wrapped up a tour of their own, for their fifth studio album, Savages. They played a quick selection of new songs and old favourites such as “So Happy,” and “Santa Monica.” Before the opening chords of “Hate My Life,” front man Tyler Connolly joked, “This song is about a bad day, speaking of which, let’s talk about the Toronto Maple Leafs.” The Vancouver natives finished off their 45-minute set with their “Bad Girlfriend” anthem.
Bush are currently touring for their sixth studio album, Man on the Run, which is also their second album since returning from a decade long hiatus. The Brit-rockers opened their 100-minute set with the first single from their aforementioned comeback “The Sound of Winter.” From the very first notes, both the band and the fans were on their toes. By the third song on the set, the band started pulling out their big guns and shot into “Everything Zen,” their debut single dating back to 1994. The energy in the long-stretched venue struck a manic level and continued that way through other 90’s classics like “Greedy Fly” and “Chemicals Between Us.”
Their newest single “The Only Way Out,” received a warm welcome and a decent sing-a-long, but nothing in comparison to what followed… or should we say “Swallowed.” As soon as the crowd heard “Warm sun, feed me up,” everyone inside became instantly reminiscent, especially those who had Big Shiny Tunes 2 on repeat in their CD player back in grade school.
After a few more new tunes and some time for everyone to scoop some more coal on the fire. Bush re-ignited into overdrive with Rossdale joining the crowd for a jump around during “Little Things” from their first album Sixteen Stone. The pandemonium strategically leaving everyone motivated for an encore.
Bush returned to the stage for a finish as heroic as the set started. Wasting no time by crushing into the opening lick of “Machinehead.” “Breathe in, breathe out,” Rossdale chanted along with over 3,000 strong. Followed by a surprising cover of Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime” which is no easy feat to pull off. Bush then rounded out the evening with two more key tracks from Sixteen Stone, “Glycerine” and “Comedown.” Ending a memorable evening in sing-a-long style.
Bush is a band that has stayed true to their roots even through years of vacancy and new members. In a time where their genre is fighting relevance, they have proven that the raw power of 90’s style grunge music will never be forgotten to those who have embraced it.