September 6, 2021 | Concert Review by by Traci Turner
Soul Asylum has been traveling the country with Local H, and OC Music News caught the Nashville-area show to see if the time off the road has slowed them down. The answer would be a resounding no!
We chatted with front-man Dave Pirner recently, and we were so excited to see him on stage again for the Back in Your Face Tour as they celebrate 40 years of being Soul Asylum.
The outdoor venue allowed the crowd to socially distance and go mask free, so everyone was able to enjoy live music once again. As we approached the venue, we saw several cars with stickers for both bands, from various states, so we knew we were in for a good crowd.
Local H came out ready to rock immediately. Blasting into a cover of “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl),” Scott Lucas and Ryan Harding make for an awesome duo, somehow sounding like there are five people on stage. They rocked right through their first few songs before taking a breath it seemed. There were plenty of enthusiastic loyal fans in attendance, singing along and giving a “whooo!” as they recognized each song intro.
Whether playing new songs off “Lifers” or digging back into the “oldies,” Lucas and Harding gave a stadium-level performance. Of course the very first guitar chord of “Bound for the Floor” brought out roars of approval, and the crowd continued to sing when things were slowed down for “Sunday Best.” It was back to loud rock that barely stopped, including a jam interlude between the guys. There were plenty of appreciative shouts from the crowd which prompted Lucas to say, “I hear you. I smell you. That sorta turns me on.” Things got a little psychedelic for “Defy and Surrender,” and they absolutely rocked out by closing their set with “High-Fiving MF.”
When OC Music New spoke with Lucas before the tour kicked off, he told us their previous tour for “Lifers” was cut short by the pandemic. But now, they are back and ready to see fans in person. In fact, you can usually catch Lucas at the merch table after their set (as we did!).
After a gospel-sounding intro and President Kennedy speech about landing on the moon, the NASA countdown led to Soul Asylum’s arrival on stage. The dedicated fans in front were on their feet and ready for a show. Jumping right into the first song, Pirner, Ryan Smith (guitar), Jeremy Tappero (bass), and Michael Bland (drums) got things going with “Got It Pretty Good” off the latest album, “Hurry Up and Wait.” They did not let up and Pirner was moving all over the stage, headbanging his way through old and new songs.
When they got to “Misery,” the crowd was singing loud enough to take over chorus duty. Whether it was an oldie from “Grave Dancers Union,” something off “The Silver Lining” (which is celebrating its 15th anniversary), or the new record, the fans were into it. The harmonies with Pirner and crew sounded phenomenal, their musical skills were on point, and Bland’s drumming was impeccable.
Pirner took a moment to chat with the crowd before “String of Pearls,” and even shared a dad-style joke: “Bono and The Edge walk into a bar and the bartender says, ‘Not U2 again!’” Later on, Pirner interacted with the crowd again and joked, “Here’s a little number some of you may enjoy” before rolling into “Lately.”
“Black Gold” was of course another crowd favorite and it included Pirner, Smith, and Tappero forming guitar circle on their knees for the quieter portion of the song. As you can guess, “Runaway Train” brought out lots of hollers and cameras, but they finished their set with the more energetic “Just Like Anyone.”
The encore included an instrumental portion the guys showing off their playing skills, plus Pirner’s absolutely solid screaming vocals during “April Fool.”
When we asked Pirner about upcoming tour dates, he said, “We’re going to keep playing shows until everyone’s sick of us because that’s what we do.” In addition to touring, Pirner said, “We are pretty well into the making of the next record.”
Keep watching for the Back in Your Face Tour near you, and don’t forget to pick up Local H’s “Lifers” and Soul Asylum’s “Hurry Up and Wait” (“Silly Things” and “Social Butterfly” are fantastic!).
TO VIEW SHOW PHOTO GALLERY
Local H Set List:
1. Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) (Looking Glass cover)