Soundgarden plays sold-out show in Louisville: muddled sound dampens performance

 

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Photos by C. Michael Stewart

By BRADEN LAMMERS

Soundgarden hit the stage at the Louisville Palace on Friday to a sold-out venue and proceeded to play a furious hour and 40 minute set.

There was no opening act for the show. Everyone that attended was there for one reason: to listen to one of the 1990s iconic grunge bands. And the Seattle-based rockers fired out of the gate with two of their classic songs: “Spoonman” and “Jesus Christ Pose.”

They followed up with “By Crooked Steps,” off of the first album the group has released in more than a decade “King Animal.” Plenty of selections off the new album were smattered throughout the show. The band also reached deep into their catalog playing a few songs off of “Ultramega OK” and their debut EP “Screaming Life,” released in 1987.

At their best Friday night, Soundgarden had the look and feel of a band playing a large club show. Raw, loud, no pretense in their presentation. It was simply hard rock-and-roll.

One of the best songs of the night was “Outshined,” off of “Badmotorfinger.”

Guitarist Kim Thayil was stoic on stage and brilliant on guitar throughout the show. Chris Cornell, somehow, was able to howl his way through the whole main set and the four-song encore.

But the disappointment was that the highlights did not carry the show.

The band was so loud — granted it should be, it’s a rock show — that the sound became muddled. Instead of a loud rock-and-roll band, a wall of noise indiscriminately forced its way through the crowd.

Had they turned down the volume a touch, or remixed the sound, it would have offered the audience a clearer, crisper version of what was presented to Louisville’s Soundgarden fans.

When the group did come out for the encore, they again played with energy and passion. However, they ended the show with a bizarre, nearly 10-minute session of getting feedback to pour out of the amplifiers by strategically placing their instruments next to them.

One-by-one, the band walked off stage to a wall of sound.

 

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About hoosierhits
The music blog of the News and Tribune, Jeffersonville & New Albany, Ind.

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