Bush, The Cult & Stone Temple Pilots at Municipal Auditorium, Nashville TN -18th July, 2018
After opening act Julien-K completed their short set, Bush were up first of the trio, although in my opinion any of three could be considered headliners. I first ‘discovered’ Bush on the sound track of the snowboarding video ‘Odd Man Out’ (the background to an insane upside down Tommi Tominen, which incidentally also helped fuel my love of boarding) and ‘Little Things‘ is still my favourite Bush song.
It was a short journey, kicked off with ‘Everything Zen‘, but included old favourites ‘Machinehead‘, ‘Swallowed‘, a solo Rossdale for the haunting ‘Glycerine‘, ‘Little Things‘ and ‘Comedown‘. A stark video backdrop for ‘This is War‘ gave a glimpse of a harder edge for Rossdale’s writing more recently, inspired by the violent scenes he witnessed erupting during a rally in Charlottesville last year. ‘This is how we live, This is how we die, This is war’.
Bush seemed more energized than in previous shows (admittedly it was the first night of the tour) and particularly Gavin Rossdale. The singer/guitarist/frontman rushed round the upper level of the theater in an impromptu ‘meet and greet’ with the fans while singing ‘Little Things’ to a backdrop of screams (suffice it to say the fans appreciated the unexpected visit).
The Cult took the stage a little more laid back, and eased into their set with ‘Wild Flower‘ before the more familiar ‘Rain‘. I’ve been a fan of The Cult since Sonic Temple and especially the soaring vocals of lead singer Ian Astbury on ‘Fire Woman‘, ‘Edie (Ciao Baby)‘ and ‘Sweet Soul Sister‘ and was finally getting to see them live. Did they still have it I wondered?
With original lead guitarist Billy Duffy still churning out the iconic riffs (‘She Sells Sanctuary‘) they certainly sounded familiar, but where was that powerful soaring voice so unmistakably that of frontman Ian Astbury? An almost spoken acoustic version of ‘Edie (Ciao Baby)‘ and a subdued ‘Sweet Soul Sister‘ showed he unfortunately no longer had it. A little disappointing maybe but they were still The Cult and rounded off their set with Duffy’s classic riff-laden ‘She Sells Sanctuary‘, a definite winner in my book.
I’m not sure how I’ve managed to miss seeing Stone Temple Pilots before but they are one of those bands where you suddenly realize you know a lot more of their songs than you first thought. They opened with the upbeat ‘Wicked Garden‘, kept the momentum with ‘Vasoline‘ and turned up the grunge mode with ‘Down‘.
The song titles may not perhaps be familiar to non STP fans, but songs like ‘Creep‘, ‘Big Empty‘ and my personal favourite ‘Plush‘, should be instantly recognizable (even though you’d always thought it was Pearl Jam, Soundgarden or even maybe Alice in Chains).
Although original singer Scott Weiland is sadly no longer with us, Jeff Gutt does an excellent job as both frontman and singer and considering he only joined six months previously, STP still sound as good as ever.