Still Going Strong

July 29th, 2011

Bush – The Bowery Ballroom – July 28, 2011

Having been on hiatus since 2002, the ’90s-grunge-era band Bush kicked off a comeback tour last night with a sold-out show at The Bowery Ballroom, in anticipation of their forthcoming record, The Sea of Memories. “This show sold out in a minute,” frontman Gavin Rossdale confidently announced to the crowd. “You guys are like geniuses.” If not actual geniuses, certainly die-hard Bush fans, especially judging by the rabid crowd response to set-opener “Machinehead,” the band’s once inescapable MTV staple.

In fact, Bush’s set last night included a nice mix of nostalgic favorites, like “Greedy Fly,” “Little Things,” “Chemicals Between Us,” and new songs like the prog-y “All My Life,” and the upbeat, almost poppy “Afterlife,” all of which were greeted with an overwhelming response. Aided by an impressive light show, full of strobes and colorful flashing lights, Bush put on a slick, arena-ready performance, with Rossdale continuously reminding us why he became such an instant alterna-superstar (and heartthrob). Vigorously playing his guitar, punctuating moments with strong gestures or poses, Rossdale strutted around the stage in his sweat-soaked white T-shirt, often kneeling down to sing lyrics up close and personally with lucky front-row dwellers.

For many in the crowd, who no doubt dusted off their copy of 1994’s Sixteen Stone before the show, the real highlights were chances to uninhibitedly sing along with hits from those days, like “Everything Zen,” “Glycerine” and “Comedown.” For Bush, the night should have been a welcome reminder that their music continues to resonate strongly with fans into a new decade. —Alena Kastin