Well, kids. It was Mom and Dad’s night out at the Midland on Tuesday. Don’t scoff, we can spot a mom with that fresh “we got a sitter!” glow from a mile away. The moms and dads that gleefully filled the Midland were likely 90’s teens, somewhere after Gen X but not quite millennials, the ones who unapologetically loved the rock bands that graced the airwaves mid-90’s. Luckily, Bush stopped by Kansas City on this night to help them reclaim and revive a little bit of their youth.
Bush rewarded said fans with a solid setlist that spanned their nine-album discography. They exploded onto the stage with “Identity,” off their recently released The Art of Survival, an interesting selection as there were two other singles promoted off the album first. It was a solid choice, though, as it allowed them to immediately dive into an oldie, “Machinehead,” for the nostalgia-thirsty crowd.
It’s hard to find a band from that era still intact, and Bush is in solid shape. With Gavin Rossdale being the only original member of the band, The Art of Survival can be taken at an almost literal sense, showcasing the band’s staying power and connection to their fanbase, even after the turbulence of a pandemic shutdown. The band peppered in moments of fun for their dedicated fans, with Rossdale using intermissions to climb up to the balcony and serenade fans from up high (commendable considering most bands with a 30-year track record tend to avoid getting up close and personal with their fans). “What a beautiful building!” he exclaimed after. He’s not wrong– The Midland really is gorgeous.
Bush was joined on this tour by Starcrawler, who are essentially one of the greatest rock bands on the road at the moment. No strangers to Kansas City, the sludge/psych rockers brought the same heavy presence to the Midland’s stage as they do to a smaller club or dive bar. It’s so hard to find young, up-and-coming rock bands that pack a punch and aren’t afraid to really put themselves in your face… yet Starcrawler has mastered the art of intensity. Their ability to intimidate while thrill is addictive to the point that you may yearn for moments where they scare the hell out of you (a perfectly healthy reaction, in our opinion). There’s no shortage of excessive energy in the band thanks to Arrow De Wilde’s high kicks and flailing, and it’s infectious as hell. Don’t be surprised if you see them hitting bigger stages soon (though really, they should be headlining a Granada show in Lawrence).