On a warm February night in Los Angeles, the legendary Seattle rock band Soundgarden concluded a sold-out winter tour in support of King Animal, their first studio album in over 16 years. The Artists Den was there to document this unforgettable night within the historic art deco setting of The Wiltern. In front of a rapturous crowd, Soundgarden interwove brand new songs with classics, radio hits with rarities never before performed for a live audience. Over a varied set, they showcased their history, dazzled with their musicianship, and captured the imaginations of everyone in the room.
Legendary rock band Soundgarden formed in Seattle in 1984, emerging as one of the pioneers of grunge. Founded by frontman Chris Cornell and guitarist Kim Thayil, the band released its first full-length album, Ultramega OK, to critical acclaim in 1988. The band fine-tuned its sound with the additions of drummer Matt Cameron and bassist Ben Shepherd, achieving breakout success in 1994 with the release of its fourth album, Superunknown. Propelled by its singles “Black Hole Sun,” “Spoonman,” “Fell on Black Days,” and “The Day I Tried to Live,” Superunknown debuted at the top of the charts and won two Grammy Awards. Soundgarden released its followup album, Down on the Upside, in 1996. In the following years, Cornell embarked on several new projects, releasing three solo albums and forming the supergroup Audioslave with members of Rage Against the Machine, and Cameron joined the band Pearl Jam. Soundgarden returned to the stage in 2010 and released its sixth studio album, King Animal, on November 12, 2012. The album debuted at the Number 5 spot in the Billboard 200.
The Wiltern opened in Los Angeles in 1931 as the Warner Brothers Western Theater, a vaudeville theater intended as the chain’s flagship venue. Closing quickly a year later, the theater reopened in the mid-1930s as The Wiltern, a reference to the intersection at which the theater sits (Wilshire and Western). Housed inside the landmark Pellissier Building, a dramatic Art Deco skyscraper covered in zig-zagging blue-green tiles, the theater features a spectacular interior designed by G. Albert Lansburgh and colorful murals by Anthony Heisbergen. The Wiltern fell into disrepair in the 1970s and faced demolition before local preservationists intervened and saved it. The theater was renovated and reopened in 1985.