Bush, Theory of a Deadman Bayou Music Center March 13, 2015
Who among us knew that Bush released a new album last year? It's true: Man on the Run came out October and peaked at No. 33 on the charts. You probably didn't hear about it because it wasn't the type of album that gets a band press 20 years after their debut; simply put, it's neither a comeback album nor is it a return to form. It's simply a collection of songs most people will ignore.
This is not exactly a shame either. While certainly not a bad album, it's not particularly remarkable either. It's the type of album that might get a band a SXSW invitation if it was their debut release, but they'd end up playing at a showcase you'd never be caught dead at.
And yet, there's something respectable about Man on the Run existing. A lot of bands release albums two decades into their career as an excuse to get out on the road. They'll play a song from it to a mostly apathetic crowd somewhere in the middle of the show, and then it's back to the hits.
That's just not how Bush operates. And by living and performing in the present, everything just sort of works.
There is a certain type of song that everyone knows by not knowing, that collection of non-single album tracks, B-sides and deep cuts that we don't have a title for but can be best described as Social Media Songs. These used to be the songs that people used for their bathroom breaks and now exist for people to check their Twitters, Facebooks, Instagrams, so on and so forth.
Bush play a lot of Social Media Songs. If you didn't know they released an album in October before going to see them, you knew by the end of the show. The hits may have been the spine of the set list, but the guts were the new tracks that the band clearly believe in.
Some of them, like "Man on the Run" and "The House Is on Fire" are nice additions to the live set. Others just kind of exist. None of them are bad, and they're all uniformly better than their studio versions.
By playing things straight, by treating these new songs as worthy of being in the same set as the hits, the show managed to hold its momentum all the way through. There was never a moment where it felt like they lost the crowd or that things went bad before getting good again.
The most interesting, most exciting part of the Bush experience remains that moment when Gavin Rossdale grabs his wireless microphone and tours the venue while singing "Little Things." It is where he is at his most charismatic and most masterful.
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