If you are a mid-to-late twenty-something and grew up in Southern California, [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Bush[/lastfm] was one of those permanent musical fixtures on the radio when you were a teenager (namely, or friends at KROQ). Of course, girls had a crush on Gavin Rossdale, the healthier, less-tortured British version of the American grunge god. And dudes were into the big, brash grunge guitars and the masculine, gravelly vocals.
Years later, Bush has evolved into something less gritty and more grown-up, but are still just as crushworthy–musically and otherwise. Last night at the Grammy Museum, Rossdale, drummer Robin Goodridge, lead guitarist, Chris Traynor, and bassist Corey Britz played a semi-acoustic set our friends in L.A. and some of their lucky listeners, as their softer, jazzier incarnation–SHUSH.
Bush proved last night that “rock ‘n roll” doesn’t have to be rollicking to be moving. In fact, seated on the small stage in the intimate Clive Davis Theater, Bush barely moved at all, only to play their instruments (obviously) and move off stage for a song or two.
The set was semi-acoustic with Rossdale playing an acoustic guitar, Traynor switching up his guitars but mostly playing an amazing electric-style, Britz plunking away on his beautiful bass, and Goodridge intensely playing a tiny little drum kit which included the word “SHUSH” on the kick drum.
Even though the audience was chanting Bush’s name to come out, Rossdale set the tone when he came quietly onstage, casual in a t-shirt, jeans, and pulled back hair, smiled softly and said that he felt like he was our “movie” for the evening.
Despite the repeated request from someone for “Glycerine,” the audience was mostly compliant with the “no talking in the movie theater” rule, especially since Bush was playing an infinitely quieter set than what one would expect at a rock show.
Rossdale also took the time out to thank Kevin Weatherly, saying that when Bush “began it really was dependent on a lot of people,” and that Weatherly who “came into the dressing room” and “forced” them to “go back out” during an important show at the beginning of Bush’s career was one of those pivotal people.
Of their own songs, Bush played a stripped-down versions of “Little Things,” “Sound of Winter,” which included low-toned two-part harmonies from Traynor and Britz, and “Baby Come Home.”
Rossdale, resplendent in the red light of the stage, did a hushed, heavy-hearted version of “Glycerine” all by himself, at one point singing completely a cappella. For their last song, Bush played an understated version of “Comedown” minus some killer slide guitar work from Traynor.
But the highlight of the evening for me was when Rossdale, accompanied by Traynor on guitar, sang a subdued, sophisticated version of Fleetwood Mac‘s iconic song “Landslide.”
Rossdale, who is best known for his guttural vocal entreaties sang the song rich, calm, pristine. Sitting up on his stool with his hands clasped almost in prayer, Rossdale pulled out the softer parts of the notes in the song and let them linger like snowflakes before the landslide.
With lyrics like “But time makes you bolder/children get older/I’m getting older too,” Rossdale really showed that not only has Bush’s sound aged (and strived in its evolution), but that he himself is aging, gracefully, as a father, husband, and now, refined rock ‘n roll hero.