Part of the humor in getting older is seeing how quickly the time fades away and how vividly some of the memories remain. One of the first concerts I ever attended was the MTV Alternative Nation Tour. Remember back when MTV had videos? And not just from karaoke contest winners? It’s depressing to think about, and, man, I never thought I’d say it, but I do miss those days.
Alternative Nation molded a great deal of my musical tastes as a child. I would regularly fall asleep with the TV on and wake up in the middle of the night when they would air the show. One of the bands I fell in love with from this practice was Screaming Trees. I thought they we amazing, so I begged my older brother to take me to see them at the Alternative Nation tour.
Fortunately, there were two other bands on the tour. One of which was Soul Asylum. They were the “missing kid” band to me at that point. Runaway Train was a cool song, but it didn’t rock like Screaming Trees did. I was interested to see the band, but not excited by any means.
Taking the stage and kicking into the opening notes of Somebody to Shove, I was instantly drawn to the sound. I know it was Somebody to Shove because I bought Grave Dancer’s Union at the merch booth and listened to it in my Discman all the way home. It takes something special to shut a 14 year old up for a 2 hour car ride.
I can still remember Dave Pirner with his dreads, tore up jeans and white t-shirt rocking a Telecaster. It was a turning point for me. I bought all the Soul Asylum albums I could and kept up with the band until around the time I became a parent. Sometimes life gets in the way.
So, here I was, 20 years later. I had not seen Soul Asylum since that fateful August evening in 1993, but I was genuinely excited to take the show in. Pirner was the only remaining member from the band I saw in 1993, but you expect some turnover in 20 years on the road. How would the show go?
Just like that first show, the band hit the stage and Pirner, along with guitarist Justin Sharbono, kicked into the opening riff of Somebody to Shove. With that, we were off and the memories of 20 years ago flooded back as the current ones were made. Bassist Winston Roye, bounced in the corner of the stage while drummer Michael Bland kept the solid beat.
The audience responded by singing along and dancing. Luckily, the slam dancing of the 90s has mostly given way as all the teenage angst has slipped out of the bodies in the audience, mostly adults in their mid-30s to mid-40s. Just plain old dancing and singing has taken its place, which definitely makes for a more enjoyable show.
From Someone to Shove, the band kicked into Misery. There was no backloading of the set on this night, Pirner and company kept a solid mix of newer tracks and crowd favorites flowing. As the night progressed, I was surprised by how many of the songs I did know. And not just the songs, but I could suddenly remember all the words.
For a band working on nearly 30 years of existence, I was surprised by the energy and relevance of their new “single”, Gravity. The show was not only about reliving the past glories, but moving forward with tunes that show a revitalized spark. It definitely intrigued me to pick their latest album, Delayed Reaction.
I walked into the door of the Scout Bar expecting to revel in some nostalgia. The recent departure of guitarist Dave Murphy gave me the feeling that there would not be solid stage interaction. I, honestly, expected to see Pirner walking through the motions with a band of hired guns. However, I was wrong. Pirner and Roye spent a few instrumental breaks pushing each other around playfully while Sharbono took the spotlight for a solo. The band joked around, laughed and pushed each other all set. They were having fun up there. You cannot fake that.
Opening the show was a local band I had never heard of, but really want to know more about now. The band was called Recovery Room and just blew me away.
An odd mixture I’d call Lounge-Rock music, if forced to name the sound. Drummer/vocalist Joey Gaskill’s vocals are filled with soul, while the band brings an edge to the sound. Bassist Steven Sheffield uses fuzz on his bass, but manages to fit the mood without turning into thrash. Guitarist Trent Moss and keyboardist/vocalist, Matthew Buehrer, fill out the rest of the sound nicely. It was really impressive to watch.
Everyone by the stage stopped their talking and just listened for most of the set. That is a sign of a good band, especially one in the opening slot.
Sadly, they only got about a half-dozen songs in, but they definitely made it on my list of “must see” bands for the near future. I recommend you dropping their name on your list as well. You’re most welcome.
Somebody to Shove
Little Too Clean
Without a Trace
Into the Light
Can't Even Tell
I Will Still Be Laughing
By the Way
Never Really Been
Closer to the Stars
Just Like Anyone
Made to Be Broken
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