TVD Live: Bush and The Kickback at Power Plant Live!, 6/10

Bush seems to really love winding up tour segments in Baltimore. Last August, they ended the US tour behind their sixth studio record, Man on the Run, at their Pier 6 Pavilion show. This past Saturday, the band and openers The Kickback, rocked a near sold-out Power Plant Live! show before being off tour for a couple of weeks. Maybe it’s the grittiness of Baltimore, maybe it’s a love of the blue crabs, but based on Saturday’s show, it’s obvious Bush loves Baltimore as much as Baltimore loves them.

Out supporting their March release, Black and White Rainbows, Bush played with the polish of a seasoned band and with the enthusiasm of a seasoned band who still loves to tear the roof off places. While last year’s show was loose, this year’s was way more wild and wooly. Last year, the photographers were told to “not shoot in front of Gavin”—this year, there were no restrictions. And, apart from Rossdale running through the aisles during “Little Things” last year, no one left the stage.

This wasn’t the case on Saturday, where Rossdale, bassist Corey Britz, and lead guitarist Chris Traynor, all utilized boxes arranged in the photo pit to stand on at various times during the show. Rossdale came down to sing along the barricade often, even leaning over and pushing his white Fender guitar into the crowd so audience members could strum. (To say the female patrons in that first row weren’t thrilled to be leaned on by him is an understatement.) The band played off, and to, each other onstage, and looked like the audience’s energy was only making them stronger as the night went on.

Case in point: name the last band, older or current, whose audience sang the second verses of not just one, but two, songs—loud, strong, and with no faltering. I’m talking top of your lungs, every word enunciated clearly. That’s the kind of crowd Bush had Saturday. (Oh, and the songs were “Machinehead” and “Glycerine” from 1994’s Sixteen Stone. It says a lot when an entire audience can freely remember second verses of songs 20+ years old.)

While it’s rumored that Rainbows is about the very public Rossdale marriage dissolve with Gwen Stefani, the melancholy is not obvious live. And Rossdale must want the songs to be heard—unlike last year’s show behind Man on the Run where one song from the record was played. Saturday’s show gave us six songs from Rainbows in the 13-song main set. (Check out “Peace-S,” it’s definitely a stand-out track on a few levels.) The remaining songs in the main set included a version of “Swallowed” that rattled the windows, and “Alien,” which is always great live.

The four-song encore brought the hits (“Machinehead,” “Glycerine,” and “Comedown”), but also Bush’s take on the R.E.M. classic fuck-you song, “The One I Love.” A very lovely poignant moment was the slowed down middle section where Rossdale included a bit of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun,” something Rossdale has been doing in honor of Chris Cornell since his death last month.

Opening band, The Kickback from Chicago have that same fuzzy guitar sound as Bush, but with a lighter and more straight ahead pop approach to songs. But not too light—one song, “Rob Our House,” is a free range freakout. Imagine the Dead Milkmen doing a song about having one’s house burgled in the vein of “Stuart,” and you’d be close. They’re fun, they’re raucous, and they kick ass live. Go see them on 7/16 at the Black Cat!


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