Posted in metal | music | pictures on November 14, 2012

photos by Dana (distortion) Yavin, words by Fred Pessaro

Soundgarden
Soundgarden

The room was only half full by the time Chris, Kim, Matt and Ben returned to the stage for their second, and only true encore last night at Irving Plaza (11/13). Most assumed the show was over after the curtain went down and the house music went on, but the diehards forced the band back back on stage to play Badmotorfinger's breakout single, "Rusty Cage". The intimate record release show was technically the band's third in two days (they played the Ed Sullivan Theater and with Chris at Bowery Ballroom one day earlier), but it was their first proper gig on the isle of Manhattan in more than 15 years (they played Jones Beach, Prudential Center and Atlantic City in 2011). And the reunited foursome delivered again this time around

With all four players back in the fold and no support band to warm the crowd, the momentum would belong wholly to Soundgarden. The energy in the room in the moments before the quartet hit the stage was palpable, and when the band finally did open with Ultramega OK's "Incessant Mace" and eventually transitioned to "Jesus Christ Pose" it was clear that the older-skewing crowd was into it. Way into it. Like 35-year olds crowd-surfing into it.

One of the greatest things about Soundgarden was always the individuality between the players... a meeting of four forces that formed a bit of a less-virtuosic, "grunge version" of The Who. Ben Shepard's low slung bass and tone always cut through the mix, and coupled with Matt Cameron's always impressive drumming that never feels overly showy, they were one of the tightest rhythm sections in popular music. Kim Thayil's beef-stroganoff-riffs always felt intricate yet astonishingly simple. And last but not least, pretty boy Chris Cornell's high-pitched wail soared above it all. When Soundgarden split, it was the dissolution of four individuals that formed a whole.

The reunion has been kind with tons of interest from fans. And as a band, they are well-prepared and Cornell's voice has clearly aged like a fine whiskey. Each of the individual players haven't lost a step. Their set was well in tune with the audience's needs, yet included plenty of material from their new album King Animal which was released this week (setlist below). Soundgarden is clearly as good or better than a reunited band should be.

Yet I couldn't help but be disappointed by sound. Kim Thayil's thunder seemed toned down. Soundgarden came up in the era and scene that bore greats like Melvins, Nirvana, Mudhoney and so many more, yet at Irving Plaza, the guitar muscle was sorely lacking. The individual players were barely distinguishable... unlike all of the cymbals and hi-hats. This was a heavy band that pop met in the middle, never a band that went down the pop road willfully and purposely.

Either way, Irving Plaza is much too small for a band of this size. Look for the mix to be vastly improved (hopefully) at one of their upcoming bigger shows. Until then, check out more pictures and the setlist from Irving, below.

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SETLIST
Incessant Mace
Gun
Jesus Christ Pose
By Crooked Steps
Outshined
Room a Thousand Years Wide
Spoonman
Taree
Been Away Too Long
Worse Dreams
My Wave
Ugly Truth
Fell on Black Days
Hunted Down
Drawing Flies
Non-State Actor
Black Saturday
Blow Up the Outside World
Eyelid's Mouth
Blood on the Valley Floor
Rowing

Encore:
Slaves & Bulldozers
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Rusty Cage
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Comments (38)

No Black Hole Sun? Amirite Williamsburg?

Posted by Anonymous | November 14, 2012 1:05 PM

YES! They broke out the SPOONS!!!!!!

Posted by Anonymous | November 14, 2012 1:10 PM

This show was probably leagues better than the Hammerstein shows will be. You cant beat that intimacy. I'd like to hear a second opinion on the sound last night.

Posted by Anonymous | November 14, 2012 1:10 PM

Wow, awesome setlist! I hope January's shows are as ill.

Posted by Anonymous | November 14, 2012 1:13 PM

"Kim Thayil's beef-stroganoff-riffs..." is the best thing I'm going to read all week

Posted by Anonymous | November 14, 2012 1:25 PM

January shows at Hammerstein: Bridge and Tunnel knuckleheads chanting "Big Dumb Sex" chorus all night long.

Just watch.

Posted by Anonymous | November 14, 2012 1:26 PM

Beef Strokin' off Riffs.. I think that's better.

Posted by Anonymous | November 14, 2012 1:27 PM

Amazing setlist..

great to see Kim Thayil rockin a Neurosis shirt

Posted by J | November 14, 2012 1:29 PM

sound was not THAT bad, i wont say it was perfect, but it didnt detract from my enjoyment

Posted by Anonymous | November 14, 2012 1:29 PM

Damn Ben Shepard sure turned into a fat fuck, amirite?

Posted by Anonymous | November 14, 2012 1:45 PM

chicks dig chris cornell

Posted by Anonymous | November 14, 2012 1:51 PM

daddies in boots

Posted by Anonymous | November 14, 2012 2:05 PM

I got drunk and enjoyed their all old-shit setlist at Jones Beach. Screw Hammerstein. Where does the line start for Jimmy Buffet?

Posted by Anonymous | November 14, 2012 2:06 PM

THE BABIES PICS
THE BABIES PICS
THE BABIES PICS

Posted by kroz | November 14, 2012 2:14 PM

"a meeting of four forces that formed a bit of a less-virtuosic, "grunge version" of The Who."
Um, no.

"When Soundgarden split, it was the dissolution of four individuals that formed a whole."
Holy fuck! You're an idiot!

"Their set was well in tune with the audience's needs."
The audience's "needs"? Seriously?

"This was a heavy band that pop met in the middle, never a band that went down the pop road willfully and purposely."
Not only is that wrong, it's moronic.

Here's an idea. The next time someone asks you to write a concert revue, don't.

Posted by Anonymous | November 14, 2012 2:51 PM

The sound wasn't that bad at all...the guitars could have been mixed a little better in JCP but otherwise who can complain about seeing Soundgarden play in such a small place?

Would've loved to hear Flower again but I was content with Room a Thousand Years Wide....everything else was just icing...

Posted by Anonymous | November 14, 2012 2:52 PM

Drums and Bass sounded great last night. Overall, the guitars could have been much louder. But, overall, sounded great.

Posted by Anonymous | November 14, 2012 3:05 PM

wish i was able to get tix for this.

Posted by Anonymous | November 14, 2012 3:14 PM

2:51 you've left me in tears, good one...
3:14 it wasn't hard to get a ticket for face and even below.

Posted by ME | November 14, 2012 3:28 PM

Although 1:26 is probably right about the hammerstein crowd, still that venue has the best sound in the city, way better than Irving's.

Posted by ME | November 14, 2012 3:32 PM

ugh

Posted by Anonymous | November 14, 2012 4:14 PM

SpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAnSpOoNmAn

Posted by Anonymous | November 14, 2012 4:25 PM

PURE POETIC GENIUS:
Feel the rhythm with your hands
(Steal the rhythm while you can)
Spoonman
Speak the rhythm on your own
(Speak the rhythm all alone)
Spoonman

Spoonman, come together with your hands
Save me, on together with your plans
Save me, yeah
Save
Oh

All my friends are Indians
(All my friends are brown and red)
Spoonman
And all my friends are skeletons
(They beat the rhythm with their bones)
Spoonman

Oh
Mm

Spoonman, come together with your hands
Save me, on together with your plans
Save me
Save
Save me
Save me, yeah
Save
With your

Come on, come on, (come on)
Come on, come on, (come on)
Come on, come on, (come on)
Come on, come on, (come on)

With your
With your hands
Come on
Come on
Come on
Come on
Yeah

Come on while I get off
(Spoonman)
Come on while I get off
(Spoonman)
Come on while I get off
(Spoonman)
Come on while I get off
(Spoonman)
Come on while I get off
(Spoonman)
Come on while I get off
(Spoonman)
Come on while I get off
(Spoonman)
Come on while I get off

Spoonman, come together with your hands
Save me, on together with your plan
Save me
Save, yeah
Save me, yeah
With your
With your
Hands

Feel the rhythm with your hands
(Steal the rhythm while you can)
Spoonman

Posted by Anonymous | November 14, 2012 4:27 PM

King Animal presale password for all shows is TAREE

Posted by Anonymous | November 14, 2012 5:42 PM

King Animal presale password for all shows is TIMBALAND

Posted by I am the SPOONMAN | November 14, 2012 5:59 PM

Let me guess, reviewer guy was sitting in the VIP balcony over stage left... because he got a press pass. DO US ALL A FAVOR and don't comment on the sound quality of a show if you spend the entire night in a balcony NEXT TO THE STAGE. Go out to the middle of the dance floor and tell me how it sounds from there. Probably a lot better than what you reported, because if you were in VIP, then you were off to the side, in a balcony. You don't get full spectrum of sound up there in that upstairs corner of the room. You probably get mostly cymbals, because you are close to the stage, and cymbals are one of the highest sound frequencies coming off the stage!... Golden Rule: If the sound is bad, move to the center of the room. That's the sweet spot!

Posted by soundman | November 14, 2012 7:05 PM

The 4th pic from the bottom clearly shows Chris Cornell's love for the Misfits.....he totally has a devil lock goin' on. We are 138

Posted by Eerie_Von | November 14, 2012 11:02 PM

Fuck, VERY cool set list.
Wish I went!

Posted by Anonymous | November 15, 2012 12:43 AM

This is the most pathetic excuse for journalism I have ever read. Maybe the writer should take the money he saved by getting into the concert for free and put it towards some elementary school grammar classes. The photographer didn't do much better. Lay off the over-saturation, faux-HDR and ever-so-cliche black and white conversions.

Music blogs, LOL

Posted by Anonymous | November 15, 2012 3:04 AM

dudes seem to be aging well. well done.

Posted by Anonymous | November 15, 2012 7:44 AM

4:27 everysong doesn't have to be poetic genius..song was a hit so obviously it geled..so really who gives a crap

Posted by Anonymous | November 15, 2012 8:12 AM

3:04. Critiquing music blogs while reading a critique of a show written on... A music blog. Congratulations, you're a douche. LOL

Posted by Anonymous | November 15, 2012 8:30 AM

Ummmm... was spoonman a little racist?

Posted by Anonymous | November 15, 2012 11:27 AM

^
spoonman racist?

the lyrics imply that the guy has a large circle of friends and that he likes to jerk off into spoons and saves them for someone named "spoonman". now tell me how the fuck is that racist?

here come ole' flattop he cum cruising up slowly

Posted by GG*ALLIN | November 16, 2012 12:26 AM

4:27 doesn't get a) art, or b) songwriting in general. Way to ride the ignorance train, fucko.

and 11:27, what are you talking about? Kim Thayil IS brown!

Posted by Anonymous | November 16, 2012 1:11 AM

Every time I think The Bowery Presents out-does themselves with some absurd booking, they always sink to a new low.

Posted by noor | January 16, 2013 11:29 AM

That lack of education that the finger there! laughs

Posted by Tratamento para Estrias | April 15, 2013 10:24 AM

Why do I miss stuff like this?

Posted by catering winnipeg | July 6, 2013 11:35 AM

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