For 40 years, Rush has been the band that (most) critics love to hate. Simultaneously, they’ve been revered by a worldwide fan base who find the group’s passionate, adventurous and virtuosic rock impossible to resist. The critical reaction to the music of Rush has been largely lazy, ill-informed, snarky, and often, just plain factually incorrect. Over the years, many of these critics have helped to propagate intellectually weak assertions regarding the band.
As Rush brings its 40th anniversary tour to sold-out First Niagara Center on Wednesday, let’s fact-check a few of these.
1. Rush is not cool
This is tough to prove or disprove, since it’s a wholly subjective declaration. However, if you ever have the chance to actually encounter Neil Peart, Geddy Lee, and Alex Lifeson, you’ll find that they are quite likely the most down to earth, personable and ego-less individuals in the music business. Rush is cool.
2. Women hate Rush
I’ve been to some 30-plus Rush shows, beginning when I was barely a teen, and I can tell you from firsthand observation this is not the case. Plenty of women show up at Rush concerts.
3. All Rush lyrics are goofy sci-fi or bad rewritings of “The Lord of the Rings”
This is an absurd assertion, but it’s one that has stuck to the band since the ’70s. The albums “2112,” “A Farewell to Kings” and “Hemispheres” do indeed paint pictures of futuristic dystopias. However, in the 30-odd years since those albums were released, lyricist Peart has written about a broad array of topics, none of which involve space travel or Hobbits. The record - and the records - speak for themselves.
4. Rush is a metal band
Wrong. Rush is a progressive rock band with an incredibly broad dynamic range. They can be heavy. But they also have consistently produced delicate and subtle music.
5. Rush is an oldies act
Wrong again. Though the band has one of the most impressive catalogs of the past 40 years, it is hardly living off of its past. Some of the band’s later-period works number among its very finest, among them “Clockwork Angels,” “Snakes & Arrows,” and “Vapor Trails.” Rush has consistently challenged itself and its audience.