July 25, 2014 Soul Asylum excites The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, CA 7-16-14
The Summerland Tour is in its third annual trek across America with some of the most recognized bands in 1990’s alternative rock. This year’s line-up is graced by Minneapolis, MN working class rock band Soul Asylum. Taking the time for a one-off show, lead vocalist/guitarist Dave Pirner and the band came to The Coach House on Wednesday July 16th. Known as a dinner and a show venue, everyone gathered eagerly to see Soul Asylum, who is most commonly recognized for their 1992 triple platinum album Grave Dancers Union. Known primarily for one of the 1990’s most defining songs, “Runaway Train”, the band has deeper cuts and new music that dedicated followers gravitate to and stimulate curiosity of casual listeners. With the freedom to play a full set of their extensive discography, combined with an intimate setting of The Coach House, this was bound to be a special evening. Starting promptly at 8 PM, local acts such as Orange Solutions warmed up the stage as the room filled up.
With everyone settled into their seats, Soul Asylum took the stage around 9:30 PM, opening up their set on a high note with one of their rocking hits “Somebody to Shove”. Energetic and enthusiastic, Pirner showed the moxie of a punk rocker he most certainly had influence from in his youth. Following up with another one of their greatest hits, “Misery”, it was surprising that they played most of their hit songs early on in this 75-minute set. The essence in the air was reminiscent of the early 1990’s as most of the audience in attendance spent a portion of their youth listening to the music of Soul Asylum. Keeping the mood going with great alternative rock cuts driven by the guitars of Pirner, it certainly helped bring the audience back in time that he looks and sounds exactly as he did years ago.
Playing on, the band performed most of their audience’s favorite songs including “Black Gold” and “Runaway Train”. With everyone smiling and enjoying the set of music, the overwhelming feeling was that it is difficult to believe many of these tracks are over or approaching twenty years old. Difficult to fathom the hands of time pass so rapidly, but the fact that the room was still engaged by the tracks, is a testament to Soul Asylum and Pirner’s songwriting abilities. Keeping the set fresh and entertaining, Pirner switched back and forth from acoustic to electric guitar, rocked out with bassist Winston Roye and former Prince drummer Michael Bland. Showing the lush chemistry his present day lineup share, Pirner even got down on his knees several times with lead guitarist Justin Sharbono as they jammed out on their guitars. The set came to close with a three song encore including a cool cover of Elvis’ “Blue Suede Shoes” and an adrenaline rush of “Just Like Anyone”. Bowing and blowing kisses to the audience, Pirner and the band excited and received warm applause, and there is no doubt Soul Asylum put on a fun and high-energy rock n’ roll show with a great set list. Catch them on Summerland 2014 as the tour marches on until August 10th in Yonkers, NY.