Review and Photos: DJ
Sometimes Music tours can bring all kinds of interesting openers to stages. I will have to say I was honestly a bit perplexed when I saw Rival Sons was opening for The Smashing Pumpkins at their date in Huntsville at the Orion Amphitheater. Simply because Rival is more of a Hard Rock retro 70’s Rock-influenced outfit. But to the victor goes the spoils I guess. Don’t mind at all this line up which features the classic Alternative The Smashing Pumpkins who had their legacy built in the 90s with such iconic albums the likes of “Siamese Dream” and “Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness”.
Think is interesting to note that frontman Billy Corgan has always been irked by the fact his band’s later catalog of music doesn’t get as much respect as the 90s stuff. The Machina albums and the Zeitgest record had some notable stuff in there too. Either way is cool to get to experience a band that can revisit such classic tracks that have always been on constant rotation at any local rock station radio for decades.
The weather as muggy as it usually is, was somewhat bearable, and no clouds and rain on this Thursday night. Rival Sons came on and immediately had me in a trance. Frontman Jay Buchanan has some masterful and soulful vocals and that was very evident on their short set. From the moment “Feral Roots” came on to the closer in “Where I’ve Been”, the sharpness in their sound and the crispness in their set was highly intoxicating. Other numbers play their way into your ear via “Horses Breath” and “Darkside” off their most recent release of the same name. Hats off to guitarist Scott Holiday who does terrific work on the fret with his twin neck guitar beauties. Highly enjoyable so sad it ended much too soon
One of the Post Punk Revival originators, NY base Interpol came on second. And while the production was interesting with the choice of lights chosen and the mood and atmosphere set forward by the band, I couldn’t get into the music too much. Everybody has their cup of tea when it comes to favorite genres etc, and while Indie Rock works for some people, is not my thing. I’m looking for stuff that moves me. No disrespect to the guys from Interpol. Perhaps my lack of history on the outfit didn’t help things, but the songs I was familiar with “Obstacle 1” and the closer “Slow Hands” were fine, as a transition to the Pumpkins, I was looking for more to get things primed for the headliner.
The Smashing Pumpkins set finally got prepped and when the lights came on, a feeling of gloominess resonated in the air. Yes, frontman Billy Corgan comes on with his eye paint, and long-time guitarist James Iha comes out, and right into “The Everlasting Gaze” we go, with the classics “Today” being played with a resounding approval for long-time fans. Another hit comes the classic “Disarm” and underrated cut in “Ava Adore”. The guys use an elaborate light beam rig as one of the main lights on the sides of the stages, making Corgan look evil with his face paint on, but so cool and moody. Later another banger in “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” gets played and more fans can be heard with thundering approval.
Some bands just have timeless music, it doesn’t matter the era they stand the test of time. There is no denying that Corgan and the Pumpkins were on a roll in the 90s to early 2000s. Their music will be forever cemented in rock lore for a reason, despite what some may argue against a weaker later catalog. The night ends with even more favorites in “1979” and “Cherub Rock”. Just so cool to finally see these guys and appreciate the longevity of the power of their music. A cool night that ended much too soon.