BestGigLargeGavin Rossdale, frontman with British alt-rockers Bush, told us about his Shellac experience in Belfast, 1998.

Gavin Rossdale: Traditionally the process of being interviewed involves a journalist with some questions that may or may not be the questions you want to answer. The best politicians simply give the answers to the questions they want to be asked. This process of sidestepping the journalist and being edited directly from whatever I choose to write is perhaps the closest I can get to keeping the story straight and as intended.

In this assignment, I’ve been asked to name the best gig I’ve ever seen. Not an easy task if you enjoy shows and have happened to have seen many hundreds of bands, singers, and entertainers. For whatever reason, I have not been fast with this and the deadline approaches fast.

A terrible thing happened last month — on Tuesday, May 7, not long after midnight, we lost a champion — Steve Albini died. He was 61 years old and his death was sudden. Steve was a long-time friend of mine. I met him in Greektown in Chicago in 1995 with a view to working together. We made a record the following year and remained firm friends for life and it appears in death as well.

His band was called Shellac. Along with Bob Weston and Todd Trainer, this 3 piece was my absolute favorite band to go watch. There’s no band like them. There’s no chemistry, no dependence like it. Todd is the most extraordinary drummer I’ve ever seen. How do you play every beat as if your life depended on it? How do you play like every beat has summoned the last of your power only to witness the rebirth of power for the next strike?

Bob Weston is the steadiest anchor of a musician possible, his bass undulating like sea level versus a tsunami, serving as a bed for Steve’s angular sounds. The aluminum ear strikes and opinionated guitar and then add in the barked wails of a man on a mission. There’s no connection like those 3 on stage. 3 as 1 indeed.

I was lucky enough to see them many times, even with Fugazi. The gig that sits closest to my heart was the one in Belfast, Northern Island. I stayed at the Europa Hotel, which probably has a great coffee shop now, but back then there was a checkpoint to go through — it had been bombed 12 times at that time (wrong hotel or only hotel then?) 

Anyhow, I digress. Shellac at the Empire on Botanic Avenue, Belfast, June 12, 1998. Legendary as ever. Incendiary as ever. Wild as ever.

They have a new record To All Trains. I cannot recommend this band highly enough.

Rest in power Steve Albini: 1962–2024.  

 

Bush’s Loaded: The Greatest Hits 1994-2023 compilation album is out now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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