March 4, 2015 Bush shines bright in return to NYC 2-24-15 w/ Stars in Stereo & Theory of a Deadman
During the peak of the bitter Winter, where else would one be than spending their brisk Tuesday evening with their favorite circa ’90s band, Bush? Anyone and everyone who had a pulse during the era own a copy of one of the decades most defining albums, Sixteen Stone (1994). The past twenty years have been quite a journey for vocalist Gavin Rossdale and Bush, especially when back in 2002 fans’ hearts were broken worldwide after the news that the band had come to an end. Achieving six times multi-platinum status with the aforementioned Sixteen Stone album, with additional successes from Razorblade Suitcase (1996) and The Science of Things (1999) which made them one of the most triumphant acts no one could deny. Taking time to dabble in other musical endeavors, Rossdale released an album in 2005 with his new project Institute, before his solo debut in 2008 entitled WANDERlust, and decided in the summer of 2010 it was time to dust off Bush. Typically a comeback album involves more washed out tones and smooth vocals, however, with a bit of a line up change, Bush came back with 2011’s The Sea of Memories proving that their best was yet to come. After being on the road supporting their fifth album, they went back into the studio to create their sixth studio album released in October 2014, calling it Man on the Run (2014). Launching a pre-tour back in December, promoting the new album, in 2015 they kicked off their month and a half North American Man on the Run Tour on January 30th in San Francisco, California with support from Stars in Stereo and Theory of a Deadman. Bringing the party to Best Buy Theater in New York City on Tuesday February 24th, a diversified set of fans throughout their twenty year career gathered at a near sold out venue to see what this tour is all about.
First up to the stage was Los Angeles, California based band Stars in Stereo. Founded in 2011, this hard working band features vocalist Becca Hollcraft, Jordan McGraw (Guitar), Ryan “Frogs” McCormack (Bass), and Drew Langan (Drums). Having spent ample time on the road, helping to raise awareness of their brand of Rock, Stars in Stereo have toured with the likes of Flyleaf, Bullet for My Valentine, The Used, and many more. As if touring was not enough, they have also released two full-length albums in a short time including their most recently from 2014, titled Leave Your Mark. Coming out like a house on fire, Frogs set the tone with a heavy bass line before the band offered up a nine song set that included “Not A Shot” and the powerful single “The Broken” early on. Proving their time on the road has honed their live performance, they conquered that stage with complete confidence, especially when Becca cracked a whip during “Turn Me.” Becca, being an intense frontwoman, allured the crowd with her affectionate voice that stood tall on “Leave Your Mark” as well as “New Song,” which was profane, provocative, and devilishly haunting. So much has changed for Stars in Stereo in a few short years, and they are living proof that dedication does pay off, and this big-time opening slot could catapult them to a new level.
The audience did not have to wait long after Stars in Stereo before the Canadian band Theory of a Deadman were ready to master the stage. Formed in 2001, Theory of a Deadman picked up momentum in 2002 with the release of their self-titled debut album which saw them supporting Three Doors Down on tour. Since then, the band has developed in an established Rock act that has created a load of successful singles and five studio albums, including their 2014 effort, Savages. Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Tyler Connolly, guitarist Dave Brenner, bassist Dean Back and drummer Joey Dandeneau, these guys have been king of the live performance, having been on the road on and off since 2011.
With so much ground to cover, Connolly and company went right for the gold pumping out hit singles like “So Happy,” “Lowlife,” and the beautiful softer track “Not Meant to Be.” With a clear tight sound that captivated the room, the stage was illuminated with eminent lighting that really set the mood as they moved into new tunes like “Blow,” oldie “Santa Monica,” before a snippet of Alice In Chains classic “Nutshell.” Their natural interchangeable style between Southern Rock and Post-Grunge kept them going for forty-five minutes of non-stop Rock-n-Roll that insisted the audience remain locked in to the performance. Completely in-tune with the atmosphere of the fans, Connolly provoked interaction from start to finish with crowd pleasers “Hate My Life” and “Bad Girlfriend” that left everyone dancing, singing, and craving for more. While many naysayers may simply discount Theory of a Deadman as another radio Rock band, they are much more that such, and their live performances are culmination of the truth.
Having been almost three years since Bush last visited New York City, the adrenaline was rushing through the crowd. After a brief intermission, the lights dimmed, and the band walked on the stage. Made-up of the 2010 revived lineup lead by vocalist/guitarist Rossdale and original drummer Robin Goodridge, along with guitarist Chris Traynor as well as bassist Corey Britz, a roar of cheers came with the heavy opening of “Sound of Winter.” Recently performed at the House of Blues in Boston, Massachusetts the night prior, braving what many are calling the most brutal Winter in decades, one would wonder if Rossdale would be fatigued and miss a note or two. Putting trepidation to rest, he was flawless, singing passionately with charisma and tremendous amount of exuberance. Going into new tune “Bodies in Motion,” the band turned up the heat with favorite “Everything Zen” which had the entire audience singing along. Moving into a balance of new and old songs, Bush played on with 2011’s “I Believe in You,” new song “Just Like My Other Sins,” and throwback “Greedy Fly.”
Keeping the mood light, Rossdale jokingly poked fun of the sad state of the music industry saying, “This is our next single, whatever that means in 2015″ before they went into “This House is On Fire.” Reminiscent to the older Bush, the song joined a heavier and yet modern tempo that translated perfectly live. From this point in the show, it was a mixed bag of Bush’s discography that included “The Chemicals Between Us,” “Swallowed,” and “The People We Love,” sprinkled within a heavy-hand of Man on the Run. Rossdale grew closer to the crowd to the point that when an encore was planned, they decided to skip the game and play straight through after “Little Things” marching into fan-favorite “Machinehead.” Rossdale knew exactly what the fans wanted to hear and even through in a highly unexpected surprise with a cover of the Talking Heads “Once in a Lifetime.” With the audience on their toes and in the grasp of Rossdale’s hands, not knowing what will happen next, the tempo slowed down miraculously with the beginning of “Glycerine.” Flowing like water, the tight instrumentation of the band made the transition almost seamless right before they closed the set with “Comedown.” Staying true to his fan-friendly style, Rossdale saved the best for last and Best Buy Theater made way for him to walk off the stage and into the crowd. His energy soared throughout the room, giving each and every fan in the venue a piece of his eye contact to take home with them.
Overall, this was a wonderful reprieve from the dark and cold Winter that has blanketed the Northeast. This North American tour ends in San Antonio, Texas on March 14th, however, Bush will be making an appearance at Carolina Rebellion festival on May 2nd. Do not delayand take the opportunity to see Bush live, for this is more than a nostalgic trip, this band can still rock with the best of them.