By Isabella Dionne
On February 23, Bush headlined at the House of Blues as part of their North American “Man on the Run” tour. The concert featured opening acts from both Stars in Stereo and Theory of Deadman.
The show kicked off with Los Angeles four-piece Stars in Stereo, fronted by talented vocalist Bec Hollcraft. While the three other members had previously collaborated with Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus in his band City (Comma) State, the instrumental contributions to Stars in Stereo’s set weren’t necessarily memorable. Especially notable on the heavy-hitting tracks “Leave Your Mark” and “The Broken,” Hollcraft’s impressive vocals were perhaps the best part of the band’s performance. They which rivaled the range of Paramore’s Hayley Williams and the grit of Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale.
Stars in Stereo’s nine-song set was followed by Canadian band Theory of a Deadman. The band just recently released their fifth studio album, Savages, during the summer of 2014, but more than half of their set came from their 2008 album, Scars and Souvenirs. Theory began their set with Scars track “So Happy,” which continued into “Lowlife,” a song from their fourth album, The Truth Is…, and then played another Scars song, “Not Meant to Be.”
While the band had already engaged the audience with their lively set opening, they truly captured the attention of everyone in attendance with a somber performance of “Santa Monica,” the hit ballad off their second album, Gasoline. Despite receiving resounding good-natured boos upon revealing their Vancouver origins—and the fact that they’re fans of the Canucks, a team despised by Boston fans—Theory maintained their upbeat energy as guitarist and lead singer Tyler Connolly covered a bit of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” replacing “Alabama” with “Boston” in the lyrics.
After many shouted requests for the angsty and relatable track, “Hate My Life,” the band happily obliged to play the hit single, with Connolly even flashing the enthusiastic audience the back of his guitar, which featured the phrase “fuck you” (incorporated into the lyrics of the song) written on it. The band ended with its most successful single to-date, the energetic and riling “Bad Girlfriend.”
While Stars in Stereo had been good and Theory of a Deadman had been excellent, the audience truly came out in the bitter four-degree cold to see Bush, whose sixth studio album (and second since reforming in 2010 after an eight-year hiatus) was released last October. Songs from Man on the Run made up most of the set, but longtime fans—and there were many in attendance—got their fill of hits from the band’s debut album, Sixteen Stone, and on. The entire set was streamed on Yahoo Live.
Bush began with “The Sound of Winter,” a single off their 2011 album The Sea of Memories. The album, their first since coming back from hiatus, was the first recorded with their new and current lineup that features returning members Gavin Rossdale (guitar and lead vocals) and Robin Goodridge (drums), as well as new guitarist Chris Traynor and new bassist Corey Britz. The band then played “Bodies in Motion,” a song from the newest album (of which nearly half the set consisted).
The crowd was ecstatic when the band segued into “Everything Zen,” the grungy and gritty leadoff track from Sixteen Stone. They then flowed into the 1997 single “Greedy Fly,” but the second half of the set consisted mostly of Man on the Run songs; the band played all but four of the recently released album’s tracks. Perhaps most notable was the album’s title track, as this was only the band’s fifth time playing the song live.
The regular set concluded with Sixteen Stone’s “Little Things,” in which Rossdale proceeded to make his way into the crowd on not just the floor, but all three levels of the House of Blues. A couple especially lucky fans in the balconies even had a chance to dance and hold hands with the singer, who, despite his three-level journey to the balconies, still maintained strong and seemingly effortless vocals on the song.
After a few minutes of deafening cheers from the crowd, Bush returned to the stage for an encore beginning with Sixteen Stone’s “Machinehead,” much to delight of the band’s older fans. They then moved into “Once in a Lifetime,” a Talking Heads song the band just began covering at live shows this year, before Britz, Traynor, and Goodridge left the stage for Rossdale to perform one of the band’s best-known hits, “Glycerine,” solo. As the song ended in wild applause from the audience, the rest of the band returned to play crowd favorite and concert staple “Comedown” as its final song. The show, only the band’s second at the House of Blues, was certainly a memorable one. It may be twenty-one years since the release of their first album, but the band—especially Rossdale—was as energetic as ever, and still maintained their early sound. In spite of the nearly zero-degree temperatures, the crowd was all smiles heading out onto Lansdowne Street, more than satisfied with the performance of a band they’ve been following for as long as twenty years.