Soul Asylum @ Crescent Ballroom
Golden, Colorado, features a bar called the Buffalo Rose. Bands are flanked on stage by stuffed standing polar and black bears. The walls are lined with animal heads. About 200 people squeeze inside. It's where once-popular top-selling, stadium-filling bands go to die. Soul Asylum hasn't yet played there, but the band's concerted effort to keep going while hanging on to the shred of success generated by the maudlin "Runaway Train" almost assures them of one day having their former greatness eclipsed by those giant bears. In the meantime, the band continues juggling members with former Replacement and late-edition Guns N' Roses bassist Tommy Stinson and founding guitarist Dan Murphy leaving late last year. Frontman and vocalist Dave Pirner trudges onward, hoping to lead the Minneapolis grunge band back from the abyss and rekindle the glory days that saw "Runaway Train" win a 1992 Grammy Award for Best Rock Song off the triple platinum-selling Grave Dancers Union, garnering an invite to play Bill Clinton's 1993 presidential inauguration. Last year's Delayed Reaction was a good effort, offering a glimpse of that early raw energy, but it's too little, too late. There are, of course, worse places to end up than the Buffalo Rose, and it's probably the sort of place where fans would be fine witnessing the band aim for past glories and blow through potential new ones.
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