Live Review: Bush @ Hollywood Palladium

To say it’s been a while since I’ve seen Bush live would be an understatement. It’s been about 20 years since I have seen them live. I’ve still followed them and listened and purchased almost every album they’ve released (sorry I just couldn’t do Black and White Rainbows). Their last two albums, The Kingdom and The Art Of Survival have breathed new life into the band and revitalized them. The Art Of Survival is truly a superb album. One that I’d put in their top 3 albums. So, when it was announced that Bush would be back out on tour headlining, and how much I’ve enjoyed the last two albums, I knew I had to go see them again. And that I did, while wearing my Razorblade Suitcase tour shirt that I got in 1997 when I was 13 (the shirt is 26 years old, it’s ok to wear it to the show)! And what a show it was.

Opening the set with “Identity” from The Art Of Survival was a treat. That song has a very impactful opening riff and was quite perfect to open the night with. Though there could’ve been a couple others to pick from but, going with a new song showed that the band wasn’t relying on the past to kick things off. Next up was the classic “Machinehead” which sent the crowd into a roar that felt like it was the mid/late 90’s again when Bush was on top of the world. That song no matter how many times I’ve heard it, will always be stellar. Following that was “Blood River” from The Kingdom. This is probably my favorite song off of that record. It’s rifftastic and Gavin’s vocals/lyrics are quite profound on this one without all the metaphorical layers. Another track from The Kingdom that I love and the crowd was fully into was “Bullet Holes” which you also might have heard in John Wick 3. That song is so damn good. The set was quite well balanced with new and old songs mixed. Songs like “The Chemicals Between Us” struck a nostalgic chord amongst the crowd and the singing along during the chorus was quite loud and fun. Then they’d throw in some more new songs like “Flowers On A Grave” and Quicksand” that got the crowds energy going even more due to the heavier nature of the songs. Of course when “Everything Zen” was played it felt like 1994 all over again. I think the crowd sang it louder than Gavin at points. There were a couple definite highlights of this set for me. One was when they played “Heavy Is The Ocean” the first track off of The Art Of Survival. I love this song. It’s such a great song. I almost wish they started the night off with it. Live this song went a bit harder and heavier than the album version which I love when that happens. I couldn’t help but sing along, loudly during this one (as I did with pretty much every song this evening). This song has a classic Bush sensibility to it with a modern touch. Give that track a listen when you can! Another stand out for me was “1000 Years” which is the closing song on The Art Of Survival. Gavin performed it by himself and it was one of those subdued performances that had you listening close and going with the whole vibe of it. Closing out their main set was their number 1 hit song “More Than Machines” which is a really rocking song and it comes off live so damn good. And then to have “Little Things” round that out just made it all that much better. “Little Things” still sounds great and the way they extended it out a bit made it even more fun. For their “encore” they roared back with “The Kingdom” and damn did that one deliver. I still to this day don’t understand why that song was not the first track on the album “The Kingdom” but, that’s for another day and another topic. The final two songs of the night were classics “Glycerine” and “Comedown.” Gavin performed “Glycerine” alone and at times acapella which was so good. The sing along with the crowd during that point could give you chills. Then to end it all with “Comedown” just brought it all together. The extended version they played too was so much fun, I didn’t want it to end.

For a band that’s been around as long as Bush and to deliver a set this damn good makes me not only want to go see them again when they come through again but, also made me fall back in love with this band. Though there was nothing from Razorblade Suitcase played (I’ll let it slide this time hahaha), this set was great. As I mentioned, mixing the new with the old and a few other songs scattered through made this not a nostalgic set but rather one that felt fresh and captivating. For those of us in the crowd that were familiar with the new, those songs came off great and the classics felt alive and revitalized. I really do have to give it up to Gavin for his stage presence. He’s always been able to connect with the crowd and now when he goes off without his guitar it’s like he’s a new frontman with even more energy than before. Chris Traynor, you are seriously gifted and underrated. The style and vigor he plays with on stage is inspiring. Everything he’s been a part of from Orange 9mm, Helmet, Institute and now Bush, he fits perfectly. Corey Britz has a swagger to his style of bass playing and his backing vocals are the perfect compliment to Gavin’s vocals. Nik Hughes is one hell of a drummer. His precision and little bits he adds to the songs are subtle but, perfect.

Bush is back and I am stoked for how far they’ve come. If you haven’t yet heard The Art Of Survival or The Kingdom, I highly recommend you taking a listen to those albums. They really are good. It’ll have you back to being a fan of the band again. One of the other things I loved about this show was the audience. It was stacked with old and new fans. Some more rabid than others as Gavin still draws the ladies in for damn sure. This show though was on fire from the first chord till the guitars rang out during “Comedown.” And as the song says, as the show was over “I don’t want to come back down from this cloud.” I can’t wait till the next one!

Bush Set List:

01) Identity
02) Machinehead
03) Blood River
04) The Chemicals Between Us
05) Bullet Holes
06) The Sound Of Winter
07) Flowers On A Grave
08) Everything Zen
09) 1000 Years
10) Quicksand
11) Heavy Is The Ocean
12) More Than Machines
13) Little Things


14) The Kingdom
15) Glycerine
16) Comedown


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