Aftermath: Gavin Rossdale at House of Blues

Picture yourself as a snail-sized shovel with the mind of an eight-year-old in the backyard of your parents' house during summer vacation in the suburbs, slowly digging in the dirt looking for nothing in particular, your mom yelling at you to stop or you'll dig your way to China. Gavin Rossdale's solo songs = the dirt. "Glycerine" = China.

Or you know that Seinfeld episode about muffin tops? Solo songs = the stumps. "Comedown" = muffin top.

Or in other words, hurry up and sing some goddamn Bush songs.

That was the general sentiment Sunday night at House of Blues as former Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale brought his British style grungy-tude to an audience mostly comprised of nonplussed thirtysomethings waiting for three and a half minutes of 1995 nostalgia, repeated maybe four times (or did Bush have five good songs? Can't remember). And that's kind of what they got, though with every pleasant three and a half minutes came 15 or so "Why can't rock stars quietly fade into oblivion so I can remember them with fondness and/or depressive schmaltz, because being a teenager was totally shitty" minutes.

To his credit, though, Rossdale's a straight rock superstar - guitar wails, gyrations, flopsy hair, legs contorted just right as he jumps in the air, girls swooning, guys throwing index-finger/pinky-finger waaaaaas in the direction of the stage. It was textbook.

What was missing, though, was the stuff we remember from over a decade ago, that being music that acts like the soundtrack to high school - oh for the 90s. Rossdale's solo material seems more like mom-rock than anything else, which is not necessarily a bad thing; but when three-fourths of the crowd - I'm estimating here, just go with it - bought tickets as high as $50 to hear Bush rock out Marky Mark in Fear style, the show seemed blasé and redundant.

There were moments of joyful audience participation, of course, when Rossdale sang the old Bush standbys (sounding exactly like the albums from which they came, almost enough to be like, "is this guy lip-syncing?"): "Machinehead," "Everything Zen," "Chemicals Between Us" and finally encored with "Glycerine" and "Comedown." Everything in between, though, felt like filler, and I think Rossdale knew it, which is kinda sad for an artist wanting to be taken seriously.

At the same time, it was expected, because in its heyday, Bush clearly had a huge effect on people - there were some that had been waiting since 10:00 in the morning to see Rossdale up close; dude's way pretty is the reason, or so I assume. For that reason, the show was okay. The audience did get what they wanted, only in much smaller doses than I'm sure they desired.

The solo songs, they don't really need titles I'd say. They don't actually need to be written about so much at all, because they act like an opening act setting up the headliner and/or the reason people paid to get in. We got a five-song concert Sunday night, and I guess that's okay because Bush was really a five-hit wonder.

The show was well, the show, I suppose. And that's enough? Maybe. I think I saw one girl cry.

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Brandon K. Hernsberger