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  • Live Review: Soundgarden — Rock on the Range

    Mon, 20 May 2013 10:53:31

    Live Review: Soundgarden — Rock on the Range - By ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino

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    "You look like you mean business and you give a fuck about rock music, which I like," Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell addressed the sold out Rock on the Range crowd.

    Well, it's easy to "give a fuck about rock 'n' roll" now that Soundgarden are back and performing like they did last night at the country's premier rock festival. Like gods descending from music's very own Valhalla, the Seattle quartet blossomed into a staggering groove on set opener "Flower". Kim Thayil's guitar grew into a resounding beat from Matt Cameron as Ben Shepherd's bass soldiered forth. Each musician sounded pristine, passionate, and poetic as the entire field fell into the jagged haze of "Outshined", screaming back to Cornell. Meanwhile, "Jesus Christ Pose", which Cornell called "a song about fashion", speared forward driving nails of polyrhythmic riffs and piercing beats the piercing bridge sent a shockwave from the stage.

    "Hunted Down" weaved from woozy distortion into an incendiary wail from the singer. The waves in the background ebbed and flowed with the six-string swell of Superunknown classic "My Wave", while "Been Away Too Long" from King Animal is still the perfect mantra for the boys in 2013.

    Before "Mailman", Cornell jested, "This song is about a rubber band that gets pulled and pulled…and pulled…and pulled".

    It snapped into a shuddering break and the singers haunting croon wrapped in Thayil's sonic sorcery. "Blow Up the Outside World" turned Clockwork Orange-style angst into pop bliss, while "Fell On Black Days" reverberated as a gorgeous anthem for the damned. However, on "Black Hole Sun", Soundgarden's immense importance became solidified as the three-day Rock on the Range audience came to life vividly as if the festival had just begun again. "Black Hole Sun" belongs in the canon of greatest songs ever written, but with how tight this band is, there are even more to write.

    Everything converged on the psychedelic hammering of "Incessant Mace" as the quartet exited the stage quietly. To Cornell's statement, people "give a fuck about rock 'n' roll" when bands are as darkly elegant as Soundgarden. They're keeping the genre alive.

    Rick Florino

    Were you there?

    Check out our photo gallery from the event HERE!

    Photo credit: Corey Soria / Bloodline Photography

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    Tags: Soundgarden, Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron, Ben Shepherd

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