Audioslave Kool Haus, Toronto ON - March 1, 2003

Audioslave Kool Haus, Toronto ON - March 1, 2003

Audioslave, one of the premier "designer" alternative rock super-groups (see A Perfect Circle, Zwan) in that '70s vein, proved that they can deliver the ultimate pretence free rock show spectacle to the ravenous sold-out crowd. Formed from the ashes of the trend-setting Rage Against the Machine — über-guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk are joined by Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell — the band melted down the venue and its inhabitants with gunfire and flame thrower tidal wave energy. Although the songs on their self-titled debut are simply adequate, hearing and seeing them channelled through these professionals live took the songs to another level. And despite being knocked over the years for being lacklustre in a live setting, Cornell, looking younger than ever, pulled off his infamous vocal chord shreds with ultimate class, despite being flanked by monster musicians. The key to the group's unbelievable sonic assault most certainly lies within the gadgetry that both Morello and Commerford (the modern day John Entwistle) have been refining and filtering through their stringed instruments over the years, creating bizarre black magic tones of whirly space noises and earth crust crumbling low end. Yet while the commercial gloss element is thrown all over this major label super-band, if one paid attention to the riffage and style of the songs, one could tell that there is a nice, but rough, blue-collar rock foundation to them. Audioslave, surprisingly, unearthed a cover that would justify this virtue, Rush's "Working Man," which they did just fucking amazingly. What Audioslave amount to is a great, classic, hard working rock'n'roll band that does things the way they know, and they way they ought to be done.