Usually I don’t have much time during the week to take a bona fide road trip, but yesterday was different. A short jaunt to Silver Spring, MD (about a 20-30 minute drive for me depending on traffic) sent me back in time to 1995.

Of course, I had tickets to the Bush concert at recently opened Fillmore in Silver Spring, and, let me tell you, the show was nothing short of post-grunge revival heaven.

Filter's Richard Patrick rocks the mic

Silver Spring is often tabbed a poor-man’s Bethesda. I honestly hadn’t been to the neighborhood in quite some time, but it’s as lively as ever before (maybe that was due to the massive crowd snaking around the Fillmore). There’s food, shopping and theater (namely the AFI Silver Theater) to be had in and around downtown.

The venue itself sports a classic design on the outside and interior, with a large open floor and and balcony overhang. 95% of the “seating” was standing room only, which I expected – and why not, this was a rock show after all.

Chevelle has been bringing their brand of hard rockin' for over 15 years

I’m 29 years old, so you can date me pretty easily here. When Bush was in its heyday I was meandering my way through junior high and high school. The same could be said for the opening band, Filter. Chevelle played second and while I enjoy listening to a lot of their new tunes here and there, it feels like yesterday I was 20 years old and spinning 2002’s Wonder What’s Next constantly in the car stereo.

Chevelle's lead singer, Pete Loeffler

As big a fan I was of Filter back in the day – this just wasn’t the same band. Don’t get me wrong, the now 43-year old Richard Patrick (brother of actor/Terminator Robert Patrick) rocked and shrieked like it was 15 years ago, but this band has been through so many line-up changes that it might as well be him fronting his own cover band. I get it that many bands end up like this, but it’s sad to see Filter as a shell of their former selves. That said, they put on a good show for what it’s worth and ran through a few fan favorites (namely “Take a Picture”, “The Best Things” and the closer “Hey Man, Nice Shot”) but missed some key songs in an act that was a bit too short.

The Bush banner being raised

Chevelle provided a predictable solid effort. The band has been a solid bet throughout their career, throwing in the catchiest of hooks and melodies into the heaviest rock songs you can imagine. Nothing particularly stood out, maybe because the entire set was a good time. I would have liked to hear “Saferwaters” or “Shameful Metaphors” but I heard enough familiar tunes to satisfy.

Gavin Rossdale (right) and Chris Traynor (left)

Bush, on the other hand, was a whole different monster. The brit post-grunge kings have changed a little bit since disbanding in 2002. The near 46-year old Gavin Rossdale (and his hair) still fronts the band along with original drummer Robin Goodridge. Chris Traynor, who was used as a replacement guitarist in 2002 has been brought back as well. All in all, it’s pretty much the same band you heard live during the Golden State tours.

Like old times...

Bush came out firing with a heavy rendition of “Little Things” and the classics kept coming. “Everything Zen”, “Greedy Fly”, “The Chemicals Between Us”, “Swallowed”, “Machinehead” and the closers “Glycerine” and “Comedown” were among the most well-received of the band’s set.

Chris brought out the string bass for "All Night Doctors"

I’m shocked at how Gavin still flies around the stage with the energy of a 25-year old. This was exactly how I remembered Bush back then and it’s nice to see them live, for the first time, as they once were and still are. You could tell Gavin was genuinely excited that the band was back together and giving and receiving the same vibes that were generated back when they inadvertently spearheaded the whole post-grunge movement. At one point he literally entered the crowd – somehow keeping with all the lyrics to the new song, “The Afterlife” all while being mobbed by delirious fans. He got about five feet from me and then lept up onto the bar to give fans in the back a front row experience as well.

A man of the people

It was a memorable trip down memory lane for everyone in attendance, from the young to the old (I saw a few people in the crowd with gray hair – no joke). After the decade that was in music, I never thought a band like Bush could be relevant again – as much as I hoped. I’m glad I was wrong.


  1. The only thing better than planning a road-trip or vacation around a concert, is getting to a new city and finding a great local band or a favorite band playing while I’m there. I always make sure live music is part of my travels. Two years ago in Nashville we discovered a punk rock-a-billy band called Hillbilly Casino; we stayed an extra day to see them again at a different venue the next night. In Seattle 4 years ago I went to buy tickets at a They Might Be Giants concert for the next night while my wife retired early at the hotel. I screwed up the date and they actually were playing that night and were just going on-stage. A guy at the door handed me a comp ticket and I was able to see the entire show free. It was so much fun, yet hard to explain to my wife later that night; I did buy her a TMBG bumber sticker!
    Thanks for the great Bush review, and keep up the travels!

  2. Great story Jeff!! I remember being in Seattle for a High School music dep’t trip my senior year (2000) when Beck was playing live right near where we’d be that night. I was “this close” to nabbing tickets with a buddy and breaking away from the group, but ultimately wasn’t brave enough to rebel against our planned activities.

    I have often planned my trips in the past around sporting events but more and more am trying to incorporate concerts into the schedule. Pollstar and stubhub are my friends when I’m planning things to do on our various stops.

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