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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.