With support from Bluebell
Bush - Live At Manchester Academy

Despite doing the odd show in London last year, it has been a long time since Bush have performed in the UK. Since their reformation in 2010, they’ve come back with a new album, modern sound and positive attitude.

It’s fair to say that their relationship with the UK music industry was slightly shaky in terms of press, when grunge first broke in the ‘90s. However, despite controversy the band have returned to their English roots, to show rock fans everywhere what they’re made of.

As we wait for doors to open, the air is full of mystery. Outside, Bush’s loyal long-haired fans stand quietly, full of wonder to what sort of performance the band will give. Finally we step inside the intimate venue. It’s always nice to see big bands playing small academies, giving a personal feel to the show and breaks the barrier between fan and artist.

Bluebell kick off tonight’s festivities. This band has a strange, yet unique sound. Like a cross over of Florence and the Machine and MGMT, with a symphonic pop twist. The band’s melodic tunes cool the audience and relax them into this evening’s events. As Bluebell leave the stage it’s clear they’re one to keep an eye on.

Finally, the lights dim and an eerie guitar plays in the background as the crowd scream for the main event. This is what everyone’s been waiting for, Bush take to the stage. The lights flash as the band break into the classic hit ‘Machinehead’.

The smoke is thick on stage as the they move into ‘The Chemicals Between Us’ followed by ‘The Sound of Winter’, from recent album ‘The Sea of Memories’. Tonight, the songs are a mix of old and new combined to make the ultimate must-hear Bush playlist.

Despite the stereotypical moody persona usually associated with grunge, the band look like they’re have an amazing time on stage. Bush show lots of live improvisation with guitar solos from Chris Traynor while Gavin Rossdale shows off his extensive vocal range.

An hour into the set the band breaks into some slower songs, such as the brilliant ‘Swallowed’. Gavin then dedicates ‘Prizefighter’ to the crowd but finds himself unable to finish the last few chords due to a crazy fan trying to hug him. “It’s a real guitar,” he laughs, “if you hug me, I can’t play it!”

After the gentle serenade of ‘Alien’, the band jump back into action with ’The Afterlife’. It really is a sight to see Gavin Rossdale pulling his hair down and jumping across the stage. The lead singer looks like a man possessed as he runs back and forth, sweating for what looks like the whole band.

It’s now time for the encore and the acoustic guitars are coming out. Bush surprise the audience with a cover of the famous Beatles track ‘Come Together’. Then the spotlight falls on Gavin as he breaks into the starting riff of ‘Glycerine’. The crowd sway to the solo performance and then cheer as the whole band kicks into action for the last chorus. This is a poetic way to end a truly amazing evening. Just when the audience thinks it can’t get any better, the band finish with the amazing ‘Comedown’.

Tonight, this band have shown that you don’t need you don’t need extensive pyrotechnics, a distinct image or huge effects to put on a memorable show. Bush remind their loyal fans about what’s really important: the power of music. Tonight, this band were on form and as the crowd clears the venue, it feels like they never left.

Words by Sophie Sparham
Photo by Joseph Llanes

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