The Get Up Kids opened their tour behind the brand-new LP, There Are Rules, improbably in Houston, Texas of all cities, just days before the record hit the streets. The influential and massively-adored '90s emo group is continuing a comeback that began in 2009 with a reunion tour that celebrated the tenth anniversary of their watershed breakthrough, Something to Write Home About. That tour two years ago brought out all the diehard emo kids who had latched onto the band in the mid-to-late '90s to relive the pop-punk bliss and romantic trauma that came with the band's most revered album.
Chris Cornell is teasing us. Is he a mere shadow of his former self, mired in a middling solo career? Or is he still a muscular-voiced rock god to whom we must still pay attention? Or, is he testing the metaphorical waters for something bigger in the next year, like a Soundgarden reunion? Sunday night's gig at Houston's Warehouse Live gave credence to all three theories, as Cornell and his crack band entertained the crowd for nearly three hours. Instead of a solo derailment, the singer took a career-spanning victory lap, resurrecting Soundgarden classics while nodding to both Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant and to his days fronting three-fourths of Rage Against the Machine under the Audioslave moniker. Cornell came out to the computer-generated squiggles of "Part of Me," the opening track off his new solo album, the Timbaland-produced Scream.