December 22, 2014 Bush unites The Fillmore w/ The Airborne Toxic Event and Twin Atlantic Charlotte, NC 12-15-14
Bush hit the Grunge and Alternative Rock scene in 1994 with the release of their debut album Sixteen Stone which quickly went RIAA certified multi-platinum six times. Hailing from London, England, the band gained widespread popularity in the United States, but it took some time for their home country to catch on and warm up to them. The band would go on to have several Billboard hits including their 1996 album Razorblade Suitcase which debuted on the chart at number one and contained such hit singles as “Greedy Fly” and “Swallowed.” In 2002, the group disbanded until 2010 when it was reassembled as vocalist Gavin Rossdale, guitarist Chris Traynor, bassist Corey Britz, and drummer Robin Goodridge. They followed their reconfiguration with the release of The Sea of Memories in 2011. After three years, Bush released their sixth album, Man On The Run, on October 21, 2014. As part of a select few acoustic shows to close out the year before kicking off their full scale tour of 2015, Bush performed on Monday December 15th at The Fillmore Charlotte as part of radio station 106.5 The End’s “Not So Acoustic Christmas” show.
The End had the stage decorated in Christmas arrangements including a fully adorned Christmas tree, fake snow on the stage, and red velvet curtains which added to the intimate ambiance alongside The Fillmore’s crystal chandeliers. The evening began with Glasgow, Scotland Alternative Rock outfit Twin Atlantic as they opened up the evening with a set consisting of songs from their catalogue revamped for acoustic performance. The simplicity of the entire show made it that much easier for attendees to pay attention to the music more so than the production. Twin Atlantic’s set including “Oceans,” “Make A Beast Of Myself” and all three singles so far from their 2014 release Great Divide; “Brothers and Sisters,” “Hold On,” and “Heart and Soul.”
Indie Alternative band The Airborne Toxic Event took the stage next and it was only vocalist Mikel Jollett and violist and backing vocalist Anna Bulbrook. The duo stated that it was their first time playing acoustic and their first time playing without the rest of the band. With Jollett equipped with his guitar and Bulbrook with her viola, the two embarked on an eclectic set list of some of their most well-known singles including “Hell and Back,” “Wrong” and “Sometime Around Midnight.” Before they hit there was a lot of buzz around the band’s performance and many in attendance were overheard voicing their excitement. As they played it was apparent that the crowd was enthralled by them and taken in by their beautiful acoustic execution, especially the performance of Bulbrook on the viola.
Finally, it was time for the most anticipated performance of the night, Bush. There had been some speculation around the band’s appearance on this evening and what they would play. After their official introduction by the 106.5 The End hosts, vocalist Gavin Rossdale and guitarist Chris Traynor took the stage, Rossdale sitting on a raised wooden bar stool and Traynor on slightly lower wooden chair. The crowd’s cheers filled the venue as the two got settled into place and picked up their guitars. Rossdale smiled, waved, and said hello to the crowd as once again the collective roared with cheers of excitement. Opening their set with “Little Things,” Bush kicked off with a fan favorite and immediately initiated a sing-along. The guys went on to play other favorites from across their collection; including songs from their recent release Man On The Run, “The Only Way Out.” They also played big hit “Glycerine” and newer era track “The Sound Of Winter.”
It was easy to tell the old-school Bush fans in the crowd as they appeared to be absorbed in not only the songs, but the almost reliving of their own moments connected to each one. Rossdale seemed comfortable and at home onstage as they strummed and sang their way through the Bush classics. In addition to the songs from their band history, they guys played Rossdale’s solo hit “Love Remains The Same” from his 2008 album WANDERlust. Over time, the song has actually come to be one of Rossdale’s most successful. Success is easy when you have the tenacity and consistency that Rossdale does in his performance and delivery, managing to sound exactly the same live as on record.
After playing “Comedown” to a sold-out venue full of willing backing vocalists, Bush left the stage, waving goodbye to the crowd. It took no time for screams of “Gavin! Gavin!” and chants of “Bush! Bush! Bush!” to begin. The chanting continued for a moment and just as they began to die down, the two men returned to the stage. There was a swell and explosion of cheers as they settled back into their places and picked up their instruments again. Rossdale told the crowd how good and welcomed they had felt and how much they had enjoyed this time with them. Then, he started in on the final song of the night, Bush’s 1996 hit single, “Swallowed” from Razorblade Suitcase. At the conclusion of the night, as with any good concert, the crowd did not want things to end and attempted to coax the band back out onstage once again with screams and cheers until the venue brought up the house lights signaling the finality of things.
As concert-goers poured from The Fillmore, there was ample buzzing about the events of the evening and a sense of intimacy and serenity from the unique experience they had all shared. There is nothing like a quality acoustic performance to create closeness amongst music lovers, and when paired with the sentiments of the holiday season, you get a truly humbling and joyful immersion of the senses. Bush will be headed back out on tour in January to kick off their new leg of touring, and if The Fillmore was any indication of what’s to come, then there is much to be excited about in the future of these Grunge-era rockers.