Friday, August 25
Doors: 6:30pm / Show: 7:30pm
The front black section for this show will be Standing Room Only.
Each L.B. Day Amphitheater concert at the Oregon State Fair offers a limited amount of seats free with paid admission to the fair on a first-come, first-serve basis, while space lasts. The number of free seats varies by concert.
To ensure you get a seat, purchase a reserved ticket. Reserved tickets are for sale online and at the amphitheater gate right up to the start of the show.
For as much as life seems like survival of the fittest, it really comes down to survival of the most perseverant. In this game, dogged determination trounces any other skill or advantage. Ultimately, the most unwavering get out alive. BUSH embody this steadfast spirit. After three decades, well over 20 million records sold, a GRAMMY® Award nomination, 1 billion streams, and a procession of #1 hits, the multiplatinum quartet — Gavin Rossdale [vocals, guitar], Chris Traynor [guitar], Corey Britz [bass], and Nik Hughes [drums]—stand tall as rock outliers whose imprint only widens as the years pass. Turn on rock radio, and it won’t be long before you hear “Glycerine” or “Machinehead.” On the big screen, their music courses through blockbuster franchises such as John Wick. On the road, they regularly pack amphitheaters and ignite festival stages. As indefatigable as ever, they’re still here too, which brings us to their ninth full-length offering, The Art of Survival [BMG].
These twelve tracks aren’t just the sound of a band surviving though; they’re the sound of a band bucking trends, breaking ground, and besting even their most celebrated canon.
“Instead of being mournful or self-piteous, this is about the success stories of humanity’s survival against the odds,” Gavin notes. “People just find a way to push through. We’ve all obviously suffered in varying degrees. I think the nature of life is the art of survival. Everyone is being tested all of the time, but we find a way. In recent memory, we’ve made major strides and shown great resilience in the face of war, endless instances of racism, gender politics, a pandemic, and a melting pot of what we’ve experienced. For me, The Art of Survival encompasses all of this.”
It represents a natural evolution for BUSH too.
In 1994, the group delivered their seminal debut, Sixteen Stone. It notably achieved a six-times platinum certification, remaining a pillar of modern rock. Rolling Stone cited it among “1994: The 40 Best Records From Mainstream Alternative’s Greatest Year,” while Stereogum exclaimed, “It feels like music untethered from time, separate from its history.” The triple-platinum follow-up, Razorblade Suitcase, bowed at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 and boasted “Swallowed,” which garnered a GRAMMY® Award nomination in the category of “Best Hard Rock Performance.” Their catalog grew to include the platinum The Science of Things , Golden State , The Sea of Memories , Man on the Run , and Black and White Rainbows . Most recently, The Kingdom arrived to widespread acclaim in 2020. American Songwriter attested, “BUSH may have released its best album with The Kingdom.” Meanwhile, “Flowers On A Grave” tallied over 16.6 million Spotify streams and counting, while “Bullet Holes” figured prominently in the box office smash, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. Thus far, they have notched 23 straight Top 40 hits on the Modern Rock and Mainstream Rock charts, earning six #1 entries.
Forging ahead once more, BUSH wrote and recorded what would become The Art of Survival during 2022, reteaming with Erik Ron [Panic! At The Disco, Godsmack] who produced “Flowers On A Grave” and the title track for the group’s previous album, The Kingdom (2020), and collaborating once again on two tracks with film composer, musician, and producer Tyler Bates [300, Guardian of the Galaxy].
“It was a very collaborative record,” he affirms. “It gives the music a different flare. Erik added so much and got the energy up and running. Tyler’s an incredible musician. He’s a great friend, and we have a lot in common, except the movie’s he’s been a part of have done $6 billion in business, and mine haven’t—it’s the one place we part ways,” laughs Gavin. “I feel like we got the best out of everyone though.”
BUSH introduce The Art of Survival with the single “More Than Machines.” A hard-hitting riff grates against glitchy production as the frontman assures, “Girls you’re in control, not the government.” Between finger-snaps and guttural distortion, a soaring hook takes hold, “We are more than machines.”
“This is an action-packed song with three really big topics,” he observes. “Off the bat, I don’t understand how anyone has the audacity to get involved or assume responsibility for women’s bodies. I wanted to reference that, because it’s important to discuss. As much as the song is about the destruction of women’s rights, it’s about the destruction of the planet and the move for A.I. and a world of robots to replace us. It’s a topic we’ve heard since the fifties. I’m not here to teach anything though; my job is medieval like a town crier. I come into town with my elixirs and sing about it, so it hopefully goes out into the universe.”
The album commences with the gargantuan swell of guitars on the pummeling “Heavy Is The Ocean.” The tidal waves relents in the undertow of ponderous verses before a powerful hook takes hold just as he laments, “This fuckery could be the death of us.”
“As soon as I heard the riff, I was like, ‘Oh man, this is going to open the record’,” he grins. “It really sets the tone and the gravitas of the album. I love the power of the ocean. It’s mesmerizing to me. It feeds your soul.”
Elsewhere, “May Your Love Be Pure” builds towards another soaring chorus backed by robust guitar. “Pure love is all we want from our loved ones, isn’t it?” he asks.
On the other end of the spectrum, “Shark Bite” sinks its teeth into a raucous refrain, “I want you, I know you’re a shark bite.” He elaborates, “Sometimes, you’ve got to let that sexy chaos in. Even though we strive for order, it keeps us alive.”
Co-written with Bates, “Kiss Me I’m Dead” trudges on a thick groove towards a skyscraping scream, “Save me now.” Then, there’s “Judas Is a Riot.” It crashes right into a recklessly fun reprise of “Twist and shout.”
“I’m a huge fan of hip-hop like A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar, and I won’t even play my own music at parties,” he chuckles. “So, I wanted to write a dance song you could mash up and it would go off at a house party.”
“Creatures of Fire” hinges on a delicate guitar line as he details, “Seventeen ways to lose myself and you again.” His voice echoes, “We are creatures of the fire, we burn so close before we expire.”
“It started like ‘Glycerine’ did,” he says. “Once I got the guitar riff, I had no control of it. I had to get out of the way. I was just a conduit. You think you’re settled, and then you get a divorce. When you get a divorce, you’re in the washing machine of life. However, letting my kids down was something I never wanted to do. There are these cauldrons of sadness. You just live with the consequences and do the time for the crimes you commit.”
Ominous feedback groans on the finale “1000 Years.” His high register swoons, “You set me free. I wish we could sleep for 1,000 years.”
“It’s a purge similar to ‘Creatures of Fire’,” he reveals. “I go into a sort of meditative state and indulge these feelings to get to the other side. The only way out is through.”
In the end, BUSH soundtrack not just survival, but life—now and forever.
“I’m really grateful that I get the chance to make music after all of this time,” Gavin leaves off. “The privilege isn’t lost on me. I’m very thankful. So, I never make a record that just passes by because I don’t want this to stop. I’m still in the octagon, and I think that’s healthy because I’m good at fighting.” – Rick Florino, July 2022
See BUSH as part of the Umpqua Bank Concert Series at the Oregon State Fair on Friday, August 25!
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