Wednesday afternoon, in front of a select group of only fifty lucky winners, Bush performed a special, live acoustic, lunch time set with new Chicago alternative radio station Q87.7 at the Cubby Bear.
WKQX disappeared from the radio dial last July as Q101 and with it went Chicago's only FM home dedicated solely to the airing of alternative music. WKQX returned to FM radio though last month in the form of Q87.7. Granted, the same company that cancelled Q101 in the first place is the same one to restore the rock to 87.7 but I suppose that's picking nits as it's nice to have another station in Chicago playing some rock as there was quite a void in that regard.
Bush helped Q87.7 get the ball rolling last week with a special performance at what the station called their "Underground Lounge" at the Cubby Bear and it was an appropriate act to do so as the band came of age at the peak of Q101's listenership in the mid-nineties (even playing the station's annual "Jamboree" summer concert in 1997 and their "Twisted" Christmas concert in 2001).
Frontman, Gavin Rossdale (clad in a worn Sex Pistols t-shirt) mentioned how the band travelled eighteen hours to make this gig and led his three bandmates through a thirty five minute, mostly acoustic set that touched on Bush material new and old as well a cool Pink Floyd cover. Starting at the very unrockstar hour of high noon, the band's day was just beginning as later that night they would open up for Nickelback at the Allstate Arena.
Having disbanded the original lineup in 2002, the current lineup of Bush features Rossdale on guitar and vocals, original drummer Robin Goodridge, Chris Traynor on guitar and Corey Britz on bass.
Beginning the set with an unusually laid back take on the 1994, Sixteen Stone hit "Little Things," Bush started off fully acoustic in a very mellow manner. Rossdale's vocals remain as good now as they ever were.
Moving along, Traynor plugged in, opting for electric on "The Sound of Winter" from the band's 2011 return The Sea of Memories.
But it was a cover of Pink Floyd's "Breathe (In the Air)" that stole the show (appropriately too with Roger Waters already in town for a concert this Friday at Wrigley Field). Rossdale, often unfairly labeled as merely a Kurt Cobain impersonator vocally, actually sounded great doing his best David Gilmour on lead vocals. Gavin bent down at the foot of the stage and huddled over a variety of effects pedals as he dragged his acoustic guitar strings across his amp amidst an awesome wave of tinny feedback.
The band went back to Sixteen Stone to close out the show with a slightly more raucous version of "Come Down" that featured both electric guitar and bass in addition to Rossdale's acoustic guitar and impassioned vocals. Cool harmonies between Traynor and Rossdale made for the best vocal performance of the afternoon. All in all, it was a pretty impressive first event in the "Underground Lounge" for Q87.7 as Bush stuck around to sign autographs and take pics with everyone in attendance.