The last time Soundgarden released a new album, Jimmy Kimmel hadn’t even begun paying his dues on cable’s Win Ben Stein’s Money. If Jimmy Kimmel Live! had existed in 1996, though, the Pacific Northwest rock heavies might’ve still looked and sounded quite a bit like they did last night. Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron, and Ben Shepherd pummeled through a pair of songs from their reunion record King Animal: the jagged, multipart “By Crooked Steps” and the statement-of-purpose first single “Been Away Too Long.” The best part is the call-and-response shout of “by crooked steps!” toward the end of the former songs, which brings out a bit of the scruff the studio album is arguably lacking. Cornell proclaims he’s “a soldier for hire,” but he still has that killer spirit.
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