×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Chris Cornell

Casual was the byword for Chris Cornell's solo acoustic turn at the Troubadour Friday night.

With:
Also appearing: Imaad Wasif

Casual was the byword for Chris Cornell’s solo acoustic turn at the Troubadour Friday night. The Soundgarden frontman sauntered onto the stage without fanfare, took his place on a stool surrounded by guitars (and a red phone, which he explained was supposed to be connected so fans could call and make requests, but “the technology’s not quite there yet”), picked one up and launched into a distinctly folky rendition of Nick Lowe’s “(What’s So Funny About) Peace Love and Understanding.”

he rest of his 90-minute set (with no encore) continued in that vein — the evening felt like a palate cleanser between last year’s ambitious, if ill-advised, Timbaland-produced solo album and the recently announced Soundgarden reunion. He greeted a few fans he recognized from December’s show at the Hotel Café, occasionally forgot lyrics or started tunes in the wrong key, and introduced the songs–which ran the gamut from Soundgarden, Audioslave and his solo work to covers of Neil Young, Led Zeppelin and the Beatles — with avuncular anecdotes.

The performances represented a mixed bag. Cornell is only a serviceable guitarist, and the success of the songs depended on how well he could drape his powerful, serrated growl around the melodies. “Black Hole Sun” worked surprisingly well in this format, taking on an elastic delicacy that was unexpectedly reminiscent of Nick Drake; “When I’m Down” (performed with Dennis Hamm on piano) had a keening, torchy bluesiness; and his cover of Young’s “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” was tersely desolate. He gave these songs a sense of intimate, relaxed urgency.

But other times, Cornell’s performed with a slack dolor that wasn’t too far removed from what you might hear on a subway platform or an open mike night. “Finally Forever,” a heartfelt love song to his wife, was probably the worst offender; contentment does not sit comfortably on Cornell.

The evening appeared to reach its nadir when Cornell dipped into the Beatles’ catalog. His voice is simply not suited for “A Day In the Life” or “Imagine”; his performances brought nothing new to either song. And when he started “Ticket To Ride,” it felt like a star’s self-indulgence. But he managed to make something of it: for the “my baby don’t care” coda, he looped the song’s signature riff, layered a descending guitar figure over it and went deep, turning the original’s blithe repetition into a painful howl of emotional abandonment. It was the evening’s most compelling and adventurous music. It was also the closest he came to Soundgarden.

Chris Cornell

The Troubadour; 450 capacity; $25

Production: Presented in-house. Reviewed Jan. 29

Cast: Also appearing: Imaad Wasif

More Music

  • Island Records Names Christine Kauffman Senior

    Island Records Names Christine Kauffman Senior VP of Brand Partnerships

    Veteran advertising executive Christine Kauffman has been named senior VP of brand partnerships at Island Records, the company announced today. She will be based in New York and report to Island COO Eric Wong. In making the announcement, Island President Darcus Beese said, “The fast-paced and competitive field of strategic brand marketing has become an [...]

  • Latin Music Veteran Nir Serioussi Joins

    Latin Music Veteran Nir Serioussi Joins Interscope as Executive VP

    Interscope Geffen A&M announced today that veteran executive, producer and songwriter Nir Seroussi will join the company as executive vice president. The announcement was made by Interscope Geffen A&M Chairman and CEO John Janick, to whom Serioussi will report. (Seroussi, center, is pictured above with Janick, left, and Interscope EVP Joie Manda.) According to the [...]

  • Static and Ben El

    Haim Saban-Backed Static & Ben El Bring Israeli Smash 'Tudo Bom' to the Masses

    In a sun-lit conference room in Capitol Records in Hollywood, Israeli singer Liraz Russo, known by the stage name “Static” (a moniker he earned as a fiery teen), dances around to the Reggaeton-flavored beat of the hit song “Tudo Bom.” The bouncy track, recorded by Static and co-vocalist Ben El Tavor, a pop duo known [...]

  • Pink

    Pink Drops New Single, ‘Walk Me Home,” Album Due in April (Listen)

    Pink released her new single “Walk Me Home” today. The new track was written by Nate Reuss (lead singer of Fun.), Scott Harris and Pink, and produced by Peter Thomas and Kyle Moorman. The singer teased “Walk Me Home” two weeks ago when she appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” and also announced she will [...]

  • Isabela Moner Marcel Ruiz Rosa Salazar

    Variety Announces 10 Latinxs to Watch 2019

    Variety has announced this year’s 10 Latinxs to Watch, and has also selected the Miami Film Festival as a partner for the annual celebration of promising talent in the Latino community that will include a panel and film screenings. This year’s honorees are Isabela Moner (“Dora the Explorer”), Rosa Salazar (“Alita: Battle Angel,” “Bird Box”), [...]

  • Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney of

    Chris Stapleton, Dan + Shay, Kacey Musgraves Top ACM Awards Nominations

    Chris Stapleton and Dan +Shay emerged as the top nominees as the contenders for the 2019 Academy of Country Music Awards were announced Wednesday, with six nods each. Kacey Musgraves followed closely behind with five, and Dierks Bentley, Brothers Osborne, Florida Georgia Line and Bebe Rexha all claimed four nominations apiece. The ACMs telecast takes [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content