Last night’s Soundgarden show at the Wiltern was the third time I’ve seen the band. The first time I saw them, in July 2011 at the Forum, was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. Hard to top a night where I got to mosh with Dave Grohl and meet Jerry Cantrell. The second show I attended in November 2012 at the Fonda Theater was enjoyable, but did not match the unforgettable experience of the Forum show. Last night’s show was an improvement over the Fonda show, you can tell the band have tightened up since.

The show kicked off with “Nothing to Say,” which excited me since that’s one of Soundgarden’s most underrated songs to me. Cornell’s vocals were rough here but he warmed up by 3-4 songs in and turned in some great performances throughout the night. The most active the band were on stage all night was probably during “Been Away Too Long.” That song to me is mediocre when it comes to the studio version but it comes off so much better live. Cornell’s vocals sound more natural rather than strained and forced like they do at times in the studio version. Ben Shepherd moved like crazy during “Attrition” as well.

The highlights of the night were Ty Cobb, By Crooked Steps, The Day I Tried To Live, Get On The Snake, Jesus Christ Pose, Rusty Cage, and show closer Beyond the Wheel. Cornell’s vocals on “Beyond the Wheel” were absolutely perfect, one of the best performances I’ve ever seen him give live. “Ty Cobb” was also quite inspired, Cornell encouraged the crowd to yell “fuck you all.” Cornell’s other banter throughout the show included mentioning that usually when Soundgarden used to perform in LA it would be for a music industry crowd, but now there isn’t a music industry.

The first time I saw the band perform “Rowing” in November there were backing tracks for the chorus, Cornell and the band didn’t hide it back then but I still thought it came off as lame to have a backing track playing during a live performance. For the performance of Rowing at the Wiltern last night though, there was no backing vocal track which made me happy. Matt Cameron’s son came out to play guitar on “Eyelid’s Mouth.” Cornell mentioned that he is a shitty guitar player himself, so he was happy to have Cameron’s son play guitar on the song instead of him. At the end of the song Cornell said “back to shitty guitar playing.”

“Blow Up The Outside World” just didn’t sound right, I’ve seen them play it great before but it just sounded off. “Worse Dreams” should be cut from the setlist, the verses are not good and don’t hold up to the chorus.

The show lasted 2 hours and 24 songs. On any other night I would have been thrilled, but last night’s show in LA had 28 songs as have many shows on the tour. Also the actual setlist had “New Damage” and “Blind Dogs” listed on the encore but they didn’t play them, so that was a big of a let down. So overall a fun inspired show, but it didn’t match the visceral experience of the Forum show in July 2011.  On a random note, since I had a seat this time, I really got to appreciate Matt Cameron’s drumming.  He is the best drummer currently in a major rock band (well, two major rock bands).

  • a lone voice of reason

    Your reviews are shit. Up your game.

  • Magic Mike Mazzarone

    How are the reviews shit? Seemed pretty in-depth to me. Looks like you are either just trolling or are looking to complain about anything. Sad.

  • tmekt

    What does the review exactly have that would make it “in-depth”? To me it seems like a shallow, lazily constructed, linear list of things that happened.

  • Abe Froman

    I can’t speak for other reviews, but what brings this one down is the fact that it’s more about the writer’s personal experience(s) rather than about this one concert in particular. I walked away from this thinking this show wasn’t that good because he didn’t get to meet Cantrell & Grohl.

    “The show kicked off with “Nothing to Say,” which excited me since that’s one of Soundgarden’s most underrated songs to me.”

    I can think of several different ways to say this exact thing without you having to reference yourself at all.

    I don’t mean to pick it apart, but “Magic Mike” asked what was wrong with it, I figured I would oblige.

    It’s not all shit. There are some good pix and the point about how “Rowing” was performed without the backing vocal tracks was a great insight. Otherwise, it’s just the writer comparing this to the other two shows he’s seen, not an individual concert review.

    Make it less about your self and more about the show, that is a step in the right direction.

  • e

    Agree Abe. Keep it impersonal and if you are going to compare concert performances, find someone to compare to their early concerts in Seattle with the perspective that now these guys are 50 years old and are still able to blow us away live!!! I was totally moved by their performance in Philly this year – authentic, powerful, and full of talent. They clearly still love what they do, which is the ultimate success.

  • Lennart

    Wait WHAT. BLIND DOGS was on the setlist??

  • workman

    Agreed as well with the aforementioned analysis of a sub-par review… mediocre.

  • workman

    Yeah your style of reviewing Brett blows.

  • workman

    I think it’s outright hysterical that Brett got the shortest show of the tour, truly! Karma…

  • SuperSG

    How bout you all go and write reviews. Show me what you think a review is and let me Brett mike and anybody else critique it.

  • Jack

    This site isn’t professional media, it’s a young man with a blog who gets some participation from contributors with common interests. It’s not fare to judge it for what it isn’t.

  • Brett Buchanan

    I got home at midnight, spent an hour getting the pictures up. Wrote the review right before bed. My goal is always to get the review up before going to sleep unless I absolutely can’t do it.

    If you want a verbal blowjob go on I wrote down what I thought was interesting from the show, a lot of the positives and some of the negatives.

  • Brett Buchanan

    Abe Froman, I think it’s important to compare to Soundgarden concerts from the last couple of years. If I’m not writing about my personal experience at the show and at Soundgarden shows, then I’m just writing verbal blowjobs.

  • Matov

    good thing about the internet is, if you don’t like brett’s site its not that hard, really, to go your way and start your own super special site. no good for ya to spend your precious time on a website you have such a low opinion of.

  • the keeper

    Brett how was the LA crowd? Was the pit crazy or was it pretty subdued?

    Looks like a cool venue

  • Brett Buchanan

    the keeper,

    Crowd was relatively calm like in November, some people moving in pit. Was NUTS in July 2011.

  • Chris Marsall
  • Jason

    A little side note about Rowing: the backing vocal track wasn’t working properly. Chris attempted it, but the track was too quiet. So, he said screw it, and did it without. I like both versions, but last night was supposed to have the track.

  • Doug

    The Forum was a killer show. The Crowds???….well, LA is full of posers and hipsters. They just stand there like Rod Stewart is playing when Jesus Christ Pose is performed. Wish major bands would skip LA and play in OC.

  • ed

    The Forum is a different crowd for sure..I am going tonight to the Wiltern..more of a hipster crowd for sure..saw the show in blew my socks off…hopefully we will get a great setlist due to this been on the artist den…and the fact they have had 2 shows to get the sound down to perfection…

  • Tastes Grungey

    “I really got to appreciate Matt Cameron’s drumming. He is the best drummer currently in a major rock band”

    Matt is absolutely one of the better drummers right now, but Danny Carey is the best by far.

  • Shadows Collide with People

    I must say that Brett’s reviews are very mediocre. Writing is a very difficult thing to do and it is even a more difficult thing to master. I applaud Brett though for his efforts. I am going to step up to the plate here myself and direct you all to the link of my blog site which has my review of King Animal on it and be sure to critique it as much as you like.

  • Brett Buchanan

    If people think I can’t write go read this, and fuck off

    I wrote this review in about 5-10 minutes last night to have something up in the morning. I didn’t proofread it or double check it, basically I realized I had uploaded the photos and needed to write a review too before bed. With these types of quick reviews my goal is just to hit some key points, when you just go to a run of the mill concert there’s only so much to say unless you just want to do phony verbal fellatio.

  • Abe Froman

    “Brett Buchanan (author) said:
    Abe Froman, I think it’s important to compare to Soundgarden concerts from the last couple of years. If I’m not writing about my personal experience at the show and at Soundgarden shows, then I’m just writing verbal blowjobs.”

    Absolutely, you should definitely draw on past shows as points of reference in your writing, but there are ways to do it objectively without constantly referencing yourself or your experiences.

    It’s not a verbal blowjob if you critique the band & performance. If you find nothing wrong with the night,and do nothing but praise the show, then it’s a verbal blowjob.

    This was a different kind of verbal blowjob though, it was a verbal blowjob to yourself and your Soundgarden concert experiences.

    It’s not a terrible review, it isn’t without it’s good points, but journalism 101 instructs the writer to remove himself from the situation. It would be a better review if it was less personal, that’s all I’m saying.

    I was interested to hear about Blow Up the Outside being low energy. That song was one of the highlights in Boston, they killed it with that tune. That nugget of info surprised me.

    I also would have really liked to hear why you think Cameron is the best drummer out there, as opposed to just hearing the opinion on its own. On what songs did he really stand out? That’s what I want to read. That would have made it a better review, and would not have been phony verbal fellatio, or at least you could word it so it didn’t sound like it.

    I read this review thinking the experience was a let down, but for reasons that had more to do with the writer’s past experience, and less to do with the band or the performance, which does nothing for me as a reader.

  • NiceNcleaN

    People are always nitpicking things around here. The review was fine to me. You can do a review any way you want, including talking about past SG concerts and how they made you feel compared to this one. I think most people just want you to be like the zombie writers and so called pros who reviews suck 99% of the time.

  • Pete

    Review is fine to me too.

  • Pete

    Here’s the video of the botched “Rowing”

  • Calvin McLain

    Seriously, you people are bitching about the quality of his review now. Give me a fuckin’ break and grow the fuck up.

  • Calvin McLain

    That Rowing does sound butchered…

  • horse

    Wrong Calvin. I was there and live ‘Rowing’ sounded awesome after the pre-recorded part dropped out and Cornell sung the repeat himself the rest of the tune. It was cool…

  • tmekt

    “The review” in this case is more of a comment (a fairly long one though) than a review.

    You should perhaps move to a direction that allows you to objectively judge the event as an entirety in the context of rock shows more than just plainly going through and commenting what happened. It would make the review more valuable to readers that are interested in the question “how good of a show it was” rather than “what Brett thought about the show”.

    It is of course a matter your personal preference; what do you want to offer your readers, your subjective opinion or an (more or less) objective viewpoint of the rock show in general – the latter being the one reviewers usually try to achieve.

  • Chris P

    Very amateur write up. BTW, the STP write up was one of the most uninspired pieces I’d ever read on the band. It’s long, but that’s it. Absolutely zero originality.