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10.09.07

Subtlety lost on piercing Pumpkins

Posted in Piercing News at 6:17 am by admin

Subtlety lost on piercing Pumpkins

Billy Corgan may want to consider renaming the Smashing Pumpkins. Judging by Sunday’s brutally intense, sold-out concert at the Fox Theatre, Sledgehammering Pumpkins might be more appropriate.

Corgan showed little interest in subtlety as he and his reconstituted Pumpkins, in the midst of a reunion tour that began in May, thrashed through a louder-than-bombs, guitar-heavy assault on the audience of nearly 5,000.

The band opened with the punishing, riff-heavy “Superchrist,” and it was nearly five minutes before Corgan sang his first lyric. A loud, fierce exercise in volume that set the tone for the show, it segued neatly into “Doomsday Clock,” the rip-roaring opening track off this year’s “Zeitgeist.”

Corgan — dressed in what looked like ER scrubs over a black and white striped shirt lifted from Beetlejuice’s closet — wasn’t on hand for a nostalgia fest. He virtually took a flamethrower to his back catalog by presenting metal-fied versions of Pumpkins hits like “Tonight, Tonight” and “Ava Adore.”

Backed by an impressive light show and a dozen triangle-shaped lighting rigs, Corgan tore through versions of “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” and “Glass and the Ghost Children” that bore little resemblance to the originals. Corgan put far more emphasis on his guitar work than his vocals, and his signature nasally, creaky yowl was kept to a minimum while he spent most of the show hunched over his guitar.

An acoustic run-through of “1979” and “Perfect” offered a respite from the attack, but the guitars were cranked back to 11 for the relentless, rocking “United States.”

Hardcore fans of the band were treated to a rare nugget: The B-side “Set the Ray to Jerry” was pulled out three-quarters of the way through the 1-hour, 55-minute show, the first time the song has been performed since 1997.

The tour — the band’s first since 2000, though Corgan balked at calling it a reunion and told the audience the band isn’t going away anytime soon — seems to have reignited Corgan’s inner fire. He was in a cranky, sourpuss mood Sunday, and he performed with what was almost a disdain for his material and his audience, whom he seemed to want to pummel into oblivion.

He’s still just a rat in a cage, and he’s grown more restless than ever. He led the crowd through a chant of “I Love Rock and Roll,” but changed the words at the end to say “I Hate Rock and Roll,” while an encore of “Zero” was over just as soon as it began.

But what might be bad for his therapist was good for fans, as Corgan hasn’t been this passionate in years. While “Zeitgeist” seemed labored and uninspired on disc, its tracks gained new life when performed live.

Corgan’s new M.O. is simple: Rock hard and rock loud.

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