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Soundgarden at the Fonda
Soundgarden, the shaggy quartet that, along with Nirvana and Pearl Jam, came to form an unholy trinity of heavy Seattle rock in the ’90s, always was an intense force at any scope, more psychedelically sludgy and cranium-crushing than any of its peers from that flannel-wrapped era.
Yet you can’t fathom just how astonishingly powerful the group can be until you’ve experienced their unleashed attack in a small space. Of course, that hasn’t been such an easy thing to come by, then or now: the band outgrew club gigs once 1994’s breakthrough behemoth Superunknown launched a series of indelible singles (with “Black Hole Sun” making them MTV stars) and Soundgarden leapt from being an opening act for Guns N’ Roses to an arena-filling festival headliner.
And with the better part of 15 years passing between their bled-dry break-up in early ’97 and their unexpected and uncompromising return to action recently, demand to see them mounted so high that nothing less than a Forum sell-out would suffice. Thus, Tuesday night’s lengthy, often tremendous Fonda Theatre performance in Hollywood – one of only three North American shows this month to usher in their long-awaited and very strong sixth album, King Animal – was a rarity along the lines of their hometown reunion at the Showbox in April 2010.
The band returns for three shows, Feb. 15-17, at the Wiltern in Los Angeles. Tickets are sold out but available on StubHub and elsewhere, face value $59.50-$85.