15: ‘Get On The Snake’ (Whiskey A Go Go, Los Angeles, 1989)
Soundgarden were the first of the Seattle grunge acts to sign to a major label, with A&M releasing their second album, 1989’s Louder Than Love. The group’s new label also gave future Nirvana/R.E.M. director Kevin Kerslake the green light to film one of the shows on the ensuing US tour. Released as the Louder Than Live video in May 1990, the hand-held black-and-white footage vividly captures Cornell and co riding their first surge of popularity. An incendiary set, performed at LA rock shrine Whiskey A Go Go, it peaks with a relentlessly heavy version of ‘Get On The Snake’. The audio recording was later released on 2010’s career-spanning anthology, Telephantasm.
9: ‘Searching With My Good Eye Closed’ (Hype! film performance, 1996)
The looming, Badmotorfinger-era psych-rocker ‘Searching With My Good Eye Closed’ was a high point of most Soundgarden live sets during the 90s, so fans are spoilt for choice where live performances of this song are concerned. The Live On I-5 cut is terrific, as is this version, which was included in director Doug Pray’s grunge movie, Hype!, from 1996, and intercut with a brief interview with Kim Thayil and Matt Cameron. Sub Pop released a spin-off soundtrack to Hype!which featured Soundgarden performing an excellent version of ‘Nothing To Say’ instead.
7: ‘Rowing’ (The Late Show With David Letterman, 2012)
In celebration of their 2012 comeback, King Animal, Soundgarden played an exclusive hour-long set for The Late Show With David Letterman. They dipped into their back catalogue for Superunknown’s ‘Fell On Black Days’ and Ultramega OK’s ‘Beyond The Wheel’, but inevitably concentrated on their new album. All of its material sounded mighty fine, though the leftfield, loops- and electronica-based ‘Rowing’ was agreeably robust in a live setting.