Chris Cornell at Fillmore Miami Beach May 16

Of the grunge era's biggest names — Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Mudhoney — nobody embodied the righteous pairing of traditional rock tropes (solos, hooks, and featured frontmen) with the past 20 years of rock deconstruction like Soundgarden.

And as that band's lead singer during the late '80s and early '90s, Chris Cornell was saddled with the most daunting amalgamation of the grunge era: merging the heroically sexy rock frontman with the nihilistic sexy punk antihero. Ultimately, he found the middle ground by combining Robert Plant's sex shrieks with guttural apocalyptic groans, riding the formula onto pop culture's main stage.

Since Soundgarden's breakup in 1997, Cornell has spent the past decade and a half settling into the role of modern-era rock 'n' roll elder statesman, performing with Rage Against the Machine members in supergroup Audioslave, releasing solo records with hip-hop producers, and even reuniting for a few studio sessions with his old '90s crew.

So although fans have yet to see Cornell return to the intensity and variety that made Soundgarden so excellent, his upcoming acoustic performance at the Fillmore Miami Beach promises, at least, to be another worthy experiment in pairing the seemingly opposed styles that, when united, equal grunge.

 
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