Thursday, July 10, 2014

Veruca Salt at Varsity Theater on 07.09.14

After going on hiatus in 2012, '90s alternative rock band Veruca Salt returned to the music scene in 2013 with the message "For now lets just say hatchets buried, axes exhumed". What made the band's return even more impressive was that the return of the band is the original line up featuring Nina Gordon, Louise Post, Jim Shapiro, and Steve Lack. Earlier this year, Veruca Salt released their first new songs "It's Holy" and "The Museum of Broken Relationships" for Record Store Day. This summer the band has hit the road to promote the new songs as well as for longtime fans who have been waiting to see the original line up together again, especially the return of Nina Gordon after an acrimonious split with the band in 1998. The wait was so well worth it.

goth_maven's Other concerts I have attended album on Photobucket

Although the show was not sold out (and according to City Pages, the only show that didn't sell out on the tour), the venue was still packed with devoted fans going back all the way to the '90s as well as some new younger fans. The audience was definitely dominated by women but it wasn't to say that there wasn't a good number of guys at the show. There were lots of men but women were the dominant presence in the audience. This had to be one of my most enjoyable concert experiences I have attended this year so far, with the exception of a douchebag who tried to stir up shit with a good friend of mine who wasn't having any of it. Thankfully he got security to get the guilty party escorted out of the building or at least out of the audience. Once that scuffle was over, the fun went on for the rest of the night.

Portland, Oregon rock band Battleme kicked off the evening with their brand of raw, loud rock and roll which often reminded me of The Strokes and Jet with their garage/rock sound. Their set was highly energetic for all the 40 minutes they played onstage. Battleme was definitely the perfect opening band for Veruca Salt because both bands put in loud, highly energetic sets.

Very modestly, Veruca Salt went on stage not long after Battleme's performance. With a simple wave from Louise and a "hi" from Nina, the band quickly tore the stage that night beginning with the song "Get Back". In my updated photo album, I have included a picture of the set list which I was fortunate to receive after the show. Skipping the post-Nina Gordon material, the band opted for their earlier albums and the new songs. This was the first time I have seen Veruca Salt live on stage and I was not disappointed for one second. Their music is far louder and heavier than what you hear on their albums. I thought it was cute when Louise name checked her friends that were attending the show. I also loved it when Louise threw roses into the audience near the end of their set. I was fortunate to be one of those people to have caught one (not to mention get her set list). What really stood out for me was the chemistry between the band members but most importantly between Louise and Nina. After such a bitter split in the late '90s, to see the two women playfully interact with each other onstage and truly enjoy each other's company really made the performance even more special for me. What Steven Tyler and Joe Perry is to Aerosmith, Nina Gordon and Louise Post is to Veruca Salt, the heart and soul of the band. At least to me they are but it isn't to say that drummer Jim Shapiro and bassist Steve Lack isn't any less important. Clearly though when a person thinks of the band Veruca Salt, Nina and Louise quickly pops into their heads.

I didn't take any videos from the show but my friend Renee did and got this video footage of the band performing "Volcano Girls", my personal favorite Veruca Salt song. Last night was a lot of fun. The band will be releasing a new album sometime this fall and you bet I will be buying the new album. I love their new songs.

You can also read this review on City Pages' website.

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