To coincide with the release of King Animal last November, Soundgarden performed at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City as part of the Live on Letterman series. They played a fifty-minute set, focusing on the new material but also throwing in a few oldies, including Ultramega OK‘s ‘Incessant Mace’ and ‘Beyond the Wheel’, songs with builiding-toppling Godzilla riffs that probably make even Tony Iommi a tad jealous.
The band were on cracking form – raucous, wah-soaked guitars; rolling, semi-submerged basslines; taut, classy drumming; that voice – sounding much stronger and more confident than they did on Later with Jools Holland. Maybe Jools had offered some, err, much-needed honky-tonk accompaniment to the breakdown riff in ‘Rusty Cage’.
Review of King Animal itself to follow soon (always up-to-the-minute on this blog); the album is growing on me daily. Here’s the (other) man in black’s unique take on ‘Rusty Cage’ from Unchained:
He also did a great a cracking version of ‘Nasty Dan’ with Oscar the Grouch, but it’s not strictly grunge (Oscar never signed to SubPop but he probably supported Tad and the Melvins at some point), so go find it yourself.
Here’s Soundgarden’s \m/-tastic take on Sabbath’s ‘Into the Void’, with the lyrics replaced with words of protest from the native American chieftain Sealth (after whom Seattle is named). The original presumably just wasn’t quite heavy enough for their tastes. If you listen really carefully,
you’ll probably go deaf you can hear the detuned guitar strings flapping on the floor.
Setlist: Worse Dreams, By Crooked Steps, Incessant Mace, Beyond The Wheel, Taree, A Thousand Days Before, Eyelid’s Mouth, Non-State Actor, Fell On Black Days, Rowing