November 17, 2012
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Concert Review: Concert Reviews

Phoenix, Toronto - Nov. 16, 2012
By Jane Stevenson, QMI Agency


Soundgarden has fallen on anything but black days.

On the contrary, the Seattle grunge group seem to be thriving after reuniting in 2010 for touring, including a stop last July at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre.

Now they’ve released their first studio album in 16 years, the vibrant sounding King Animal this past week, and are celebrating by playing five club dates around the world, including the only Canadian show at the Phoenix on Friday night.

So you can imagine the scene with a long lineup outside the intimate venue as 1,100 people slowly filed inside for two hours of heavy rock and roll delivered by some of the best rock pipes in the business – in the form of sweet-sounding screamer, Chris Cornell – aided by squealing guitarist Kim Thayil, enthusiastic bassist, Ben Shepherd and thundering drummer, Matt Cameron.

No rust on these gents that's for sure.

Soundgarden’s tight-sounding, 24-song, two-hour set was heavy on King Animal material plus hits and older hidden treasures as the quartet opened the evening with ‘Flower’, then kicked things into high gear with ‘Outshined’, a major standout which got the crowd clapping along, followed by ‘Spoonman’.


Playing on a tiny stage dominated by the King Animal album cover, the handsome Cornell was the only band member who didn’t follow the basic black dress code, and thank goodness as his white T-shirt became soaked as the evening rolled on.

The only thing that really seemed to be bothering him was the amount of “weed” – as he called it – being smoked in front of him.

“At some point you’re as high as you’re going to be and after that it’s a just waste of money,” he pointed out.

Cornell also mused on the fact that he couldn’t grow a moustache while making the video for another older song, ‘Hands All Over’.

Highlights included the loud and lovely ‘Loud Love’, the wildly diverse ‘Ugly Truth’ – with a monster drum intro by Cameron and guitar stand-off between Thayil and Cornell – and the bigger hits ‘Blow Up’ ‘The Outside World’, ‘My Wave’, ‘Burden In My Hand’, ‘Rusty Cage’ and of course, ‘Black Hole Sun’.

Better still, the new songs really stood up against the decades-old material with the dynamic ‘Non-State Actor’, the first single, ‘Been Away Too Long’, ‘A Thousand Days Before’ and the slinky and slow ‘Rowing’, deserving of special mention.

Soundgarden return to play two larger club shows on Jan. 25-26 at the Sound Academy, which is about double the size of the Phoenix, as part of their January-February North American tour.

I suspect though a summer return engagement to the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre can’t be out of the question.

SET LIST:

Flower

Outshined

Spoonman

Let Me Drown

Hands All Over

Attrition

Taree

Loud Love

Drawing Flies

Hunted Down

Ugly Truth

Non-State Actor

Eyelid’s Mouth

Blow Up the Outside World

Been Away Too Long

My Wave

The Day I Tried to Live

Burden in My Hand

A Thousand Days Before

By Crooked Steps

Rusty Cage

Rowing

ENCORE:

Black Hole Sun

Incessant Mace

/p>


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