Chicago has been ground zero for Soundgarden fans over the last year. Not only did the Seattle stalwart stage its reunion here, it gave us two gigs in less than a week, previewing a headlining Lolla gig with an intimate warm-up gig at the Vic. Frontman Chris Cornell passed through the same room again this past spring.
The singer’s made some questionable moves as a solo artist. Which is what makes it such a thrill to see him back in front of this grunge warhorse. Hearing him howl “I’m gonna break my rusty cage and run” in a banshee’s register simply wipes the slate clean. It’s as if Audioslave never happened, let alone that ill-fated Timbaland collabo. Cornell even looks younger, his jet-black locks flapping in the metallic maelstrom whipped up by his bandmates.
This monthlong tour punctuates studio sessions for a follow-up to 1996’s Down on the Upside. With luck, the band will preview a tune or two.
An opening set from the Mars Volta is perfect for a couple of reasons. Not only will the prog powerhouse warm up early attendees with its blistering Santana-meets-Rush vamps, but it’s a chance to see a group known for indulgent three-hour shows whittle down its set into tidy sitcom length.