• Review

Review: Soul Asylum and Local H

The guitar-centric romp of 90’s alternative music was alive and well Saturday night at the Thompson House as Soul Asylum and Local H took the audience on a nostalgic trip back to the last decade where rock music reigned supreme. The show was originally scheduled to be at Riverfront Live, but flooding in the area caused it to be relocated. 

Although many members have changed for both bands, the spirit of the performances shone bright, thanks to the strong presence of both original frontmen, Scott Lucas from Local H and Dave Pirner from Soul Asylum.

Local H is mostly known for their jangly, staccato hit “Bound for the Floor,” which the band was happy to oblige by performing. However, it was their lesser known sarcastic/bitter songs such as “High-Fiving MF” and “California Songs” that seemed to connect the most with the audience.

Local H was out to rock. They busted out poppy melodies like “Eddie Vedder” but also melted faces with “Turn the Bow.” The impressive set was nice and loud and slightly angry, a perfect start to a night of 90s reverie. 

Soul Asylum’s 1995 release Let Your Dim Line Shine was a rare album/record/”CD” (as we used to refer to a recording then) I could put on and enjoy throughout, without skipping a single song. For a kid who would spend a substantial portion of my minimum wage earnings on new releases, I was the most pleased when I felt my investment was rewarded with more than one or two good songs on a recording. LYDLS may not their most commercially successful album, as the reactions to “Black Gold,” “Somebody to Shove,” and of course, “Runaway Train” would suggest. However, the simplistic melodies combined with relatable narratives of “Misery,” “Crawl,” “String of Pearls” and “I Did My Best” are what resonated best with me.

So when I say I was at least a little disappointed that I didn’t get to hear more from that album that meant so much to me as an adolescent, that is only coming from a place of unreasonable expectations that the band only focus on a small percentage of their lengthy career. 

When focusing on what was instead of what wasn’t, the band sounded as loose and energetic as they did on the recordings I love so much, a testament to their longevity, timeliness and dedication.  The bank sprinkled in older favorites like “Losin’ It,” “Lately” and “Close” as well as working out new tracks from their upcoming release, Hurry Up and Wait. Surprisingly, “If I Told You,” “Got it Pretty Good” and “Dead Letter” were fresh and inspired, and are welcome additions to the band’s catalog.

During the encore, Pirner directed his focus to the audience as he sang, “With all the mess that I’ve been through, What did you expect me to do, I did my best for you.” It may have been a night of looking back at an older decade, but I hope we can keep revisiting the sounds of this time in the future.