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Soundgarden Smoke at Toronto Club Show

C Brandon, Getty Images

Soundgarden‘s hot-ticket club show at Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre Friday night (Nov. 16) for a capacity-crowd of 1100 wasn’t the only thing smokin’. Frontman Chris Cornell even noticed the perpetual waft of weed, enough to mention it onstage, first three songs in at “Spoonman” and again, after another four songs, before “Loud Love.”

“You’re gonna keep smoking dope? It gets to the point where you’re as high as you can be,” he said. “To keep going is almost a waste of money.” He didn’t bring it up again, but was fairly chatty throughout the night, which ended two hours on the nose after 24 songs, including such classics as “Outshined,” “My Wave,” “Blow Up the Outside World,” “Rusty Cage,” “Burden in My Hand” and Soundgarden’s biggest, most enduring hit, the No. 1 “Black Hole Sun.”

The Seattle grunge legends – Cornell, guitarist Kim Thayil, bassist Ben Shepherd and drummer Matt Cameron – which reformed in 2010 after 13 years and kicked off their reunion tour at the city’s 16,000-capacity Molson Canadian Amphitheatre last July, just released their first studio album in 16 years, King Animal.

With a giant backdrop of Josh Graham’s cover art displayed behind them, the band put on a tight, intense set of rock perfection. Opening to the soldiering “Flower” and following with “Outshined,” the 48-year-old Cornell treated the intimate show as if it was at a stadium, getting the guy-heavy crowd to raise their arms in the air and even participate in overhead claps. Singalongs happened for the hits with no prompting.

As for the new material, Soundgarden played a whole lot – the first single “Been Away Too Long,” “Non-State Actor,” “By Crooked Steps,” “A Thousand Days,” “Taree,” “Attrition,” “Eyelid’s Mouth” and “Rowing.” Almost all, except perhaps “Taree” which came off a bit choppy, worked alongside the older songs – evidence that it’s the sum of the parts, the players, and not time that inspires and affects songwriting.

The band is only playing 5 club shows this time around – Toronto was the only Canadian stop – but hit the road at bigger venues in the new year.

Soundgarden setlist:

1. “Flower”
2. “Outshined”
3. “Spoonman”
4. “Let Me Drown”
5. “Hands All Over”
6. “Attrition”
7. “Taree”
8. “Loud Love”
9. “Drawing Flies”
10. “Hunted Down”
11. “Ugly Truth”
12. “Non-State Actor”
13. “Eyelid’s Mouth”
14. “Blow Up The Outside World”
15. “Been Away Too Long”
16. “My Wave”
17. “The Day I Tried To Live”
18. “Burden In My Hand”
19. “A Thousand Days Before”
20. “By Crooked Steps”
21. “Rusty Cage”
22. “Rowing
Encore
23 “Black Hole Sun”
24. “Incessant Mace”

Watch ‘Been Away Too Long’ Video

Soundgarden’s King Animal is out now via Seven Four Entertainment and Republic Records. The album is available at this link.

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