The novel concept of bringing together three bands with long-lasting careers (at least music-wise) and all of them rotating the closing set may not be new, but it is refreshing. Stone Temple Pilots, The Cult, and Bush all put on spectacular hour-long sets as if they were the headliners, leaving the crowd more than pleased.
Bush held the coveted final spot in Pittsburgh (Burgettstown) Saturday night and had so much energy it was palpable. Sure, Bush was huge in the early and mid 90’s and has lost and gained a few members, but the lifeblood of Gavin Rossdale and Chris Traynor is well intact. Opening with their massive hit, “Everything Zen”, the band hit the stage as though they had something to prove. Rossdale put his heart and soul into not only singing but moving around with abandon, he almost looked more like he was ready to workout than to rock. Obviously, he has kept himself in tremendous shape both physically and vocally. What has resulted is the ability to pull off a ridiculous amount of hits in a sixty-second timespan (Everything Zen, This is War, Greedy Fly, The Sound of Winter, Machinehead, Swallowed, Glycerine, Come Together(The Beatles cover), Little Things, Comedown).
As long as Bush keeps performing at this top level they continue to be a band worth spending your hard earned dollars to rock out to your glory days.
The Cult has gone through many different concepts in their career, starting as The Southern Death Cult, then The Death Cult, then just The Cult before they saw big success. When Love was released “She Sells Sanctuary” catapulted them into alt-rock stardom and they could have remained very successful sticking to that genre. But, it was not until they re-recorded their Peace record with Rick Rubin and it became Electric that they hit the big time. Suddenly The Cult was a hard rock band with an alternative edge and everyone was singing “Love Removal Machine”. The Cult never really went away and the two mainstay members of Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy continue to produce amazing music together. The Cult knows their place in the general audiences eyes and still concentrate on the big hits live (Wild Flower, Rain, Rise, The Witch, Edie (Ciao Baby), Sweet Soul Sister, Elemental Light, She Sells Sanctuary, The Phoenix, Fire Woman, Love Removal Machine).
It took a bit for Astbury to break away from behind the mic, but once he did (somewhere around song six) he really came alive and fed off the crowd. A special moment was when the band played “Edie (Ciao Baby)” in dedication to Pittsburgh’s famous son Andy Warhol. Billy Duffy, of course, was the standard Duffy, cranking out the amazing guitar sound that is so unique (see our interview with him pre-tour) and pulling a few windmill riffs here and there. Overall it was an absolutely killer set, especially due to Ian’s flawless voice and Duffy’s ax-wielding.
Now, let’s address the elephant in the room. We all miss Scott Weiland and his genius. But, the remaining members absolutely have the right to carry on. The question would be whether people would accept Jeff Gutt, the second replacement for Weiland (Chester Bennington RIP was the first). Would it be like Van Hagar? Journey w/o Perry? Or more along the lines of Styx? STP have found the perfect match in this writer’s humble opinion. Gutt not only sounds exactly like Weiland but he semi looks like and moves like him. Maybe that’s creepy or put on to some, but it was absolutely entertaining and a great surprise for the evening. The new material that the DeLeo brothers and Eric Kretz have made with Gutt is classic STP, to say the least.
Moving through a slew of hits (Wicked Garden, Vasoline, Big Bang Baby, Down, Big Empty, Plush, Meadow, Interstate Love Song, Roll Me Under, Dead & Bloated, Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart, Sex Type Thing)
Ending with their first smash hit the band kept a cool paced energy and really won over the skeptical audience. One can only hope they continue making new music and playing addictive live sets for many decades to come.
Who the hell is Julien-K? You actually know them already. Amir Derakh and Ryan Shuck have been musical partners for 15+ years. In the late 90’s they were responsible for massive radio and sales hits such as “Blind” (Korn), “Blue Monday,” ” Stitches,” and “Fiction” (Orgy), and recently “Crawl Back In” and “Let Down” (Dead By Sunrise, with their pal Chester Bennington). After enjoying years of traditional music business success, they have spent the last 10 years methodically moving away from the mainstream approach that put them on the map, opting to carefully steer their fans in a new direction, towards their new independent alternative electro-rock project Julien-K – which sounds more at home with the likes of modern acts such as M83, The Kills, LCD Soundsystem, The Naked And Famous, Empire Of The Sun, and even The Black Keys (see Derakh’s sleazy electro-blues guitar playing on “We’re Here With You”).
After a successful summer 2017 tour alongside PIG and Ghostfeeder, 2018 sees the band hit the stages around the world again on headline tours, as well as in support of their friends Bush, Stone Temple Pilots, and The Cult. Being the workaholics that they are, Ryan, Amir and Fu are also already working on a new album, Harmonic Disruptor (this time with the addition of new collaborators Bidi Cobra and Alex Gonzales), that will see the band go back to their roots, while including some new aural surprises at the same time.
If you dig the electronic rock style tunes that these former Orgy members used to make you owe it to yourself to come out early and check their new and improved selves (and they even play “Blue Monday”. Some of the crowd may have been tailgating in the parking lot, but what they missed was a band who acted like they were playing a sold-out Wembley Stadium. In short, the band was excellent and have a great look and sound that will certainly keep them in the music biz for a long time to come.