Bush The Forum, London

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The Independent Culture
The sign behind the bar says: "Welcome to Bush - no crowd-surfing please, but enjoy the show." While it may seem unfair to damn a band with the health and safety policies of a venue they happen to be playing, the Forum's big-brotherly warning to their young clientele feels like an extension of the Bush experience.

Bush play the rock stars, as any group whose latest album sold more than two million copies in a week have the right to, but they can also be trusted to act in loco parentis. Chickens will not have their heads bitten off. Virgins will not be slaughtered upon an altar of blood. Because Bush are a MiniPops version of Nirvana - Nirvana without the menace, the drive, the bite, the beauty. Grunge without the grime.

Their London show last Friday brought the "home country breakthrough tour" to a sweaty close. You might be wondering why a band who have made enough money to buy your house, your car and your soul in a single cash payment would consider themselves in need of "breaking through". But while Bush are loved and worshipped in America as the biggest-selling, fastest- running, highest-jumping, tallest, sexiest band of all time ever, over here it's a different story.

In Britain, Bush are famous for not being famous. And if they are finally embraced here, then they'll be just another rock band, as opposed to what they are now: just another rock band whose records sell like lottery tickets in America, but who serve only to justify the continued existence of the Woolworths bargain bin in their own country.

Gavin Rossdale, the band's singer and guitarist, maintains that Bush are "effectively a real people's band". In other words, discerning minds don't like them. But the kids do. Look at those young 'uns go! You can get carried away by their enthusiasm. As long as you don't pay any attention to the band.

If you do, you'll find four efficient but uninspired musicians who are trying very hard to cut it in the grown-up world. They hired the noise merchant Steve Albini, well-known for beefing up pallid Brits, to produce their new album, Razarblade Suitcase. There are abstract film clips flickering behind them as they play. And while their doomy, vaguely anthemic songs echo the Seattle sound, they appear to have learnt their stage craft from The Alarm. You know the drill: legs apart, punching the air, bolting around the stage striking rock 'n' roll poses.

And a few words for your fans, Mr Rossdale? "This is my favourite venue in London," he tells us at one point. But I suppose if you're the biggest- selling, fastest-running, highest-jumping, tallest, sexiest band of all time ever, then musical invention and erudite conversation will figure low on your list of priorities.