It seems a bit weird to describe the Smashing Pumpkins as "reunited", since Billy Corgan is the only original member, but chances are very few of the fans going to see the alt-rockers tonight at the Air Canada Centre care. It seems like pretty much every band that was big during the grunge era (other than Nirvana) have made comeback attempts since the 90s, but many of them have been disappointing, and mostly made us wish we'd stuck with listening to their old albums rather than watch them revisit their glory years onstage. However, there have been some notable exceptions to that rule.
• My Bloody Valentine
Since they only played Toronto once during their original run in the 90s, shoegazer fans were overjoyed to get another chance to see the band when they played Kool Haus in 2008. Security handed out free earplugs at the door, and within a couple minutes it was obvious to everyone in the room why. But beyond just being unbelievably and terrifyingly loud, their hazy dream pop songs still sounded amazingly beautiful, and it was obvious why the cult band is still considered so influential.
• Dinosaur Jr.
Dinosaur Jr.'s original lineup didn't even make it into the 90s, as J Mascis kicked Lou Barlow out before their 1991 major-label debut Green Mind. However, they patched things up in 2005, and have not only been touring, but they've also already cranked out three great albums of new songs since reforming.
• Thrush Hermit
Joel Plaskett has had more success as a solo artist than he did during Thrush Hermit's original run, despite the huge buzz around the east coast indie scene back in the 90s. Nevertheless, it seems their mythology grew in the meantime, and their five 2010 reunion shows at Lee's Palace were packed with both old and new fans.
• The Pixies
Some have complained that the Pixies's reunion tours have just been a cash grab for the legendarily influential band, but even the grumblers have had to admit that the shows have been a lot of fun. And since groups like this didn't generally make much money the first time around, maybe they're owed a late-career pay bump?
• Change of Heart
The Toronto alt rockers were a mainstay of local clubs in the 90s, and their one off reunion show this fall proved that their hometown has not forgotten them. Instead of just reuniting one of their many lineups, the show featured a revolving cast of past collaborators, including three bass players, three drummers, and more over the course of their epic set.