Sunday, January 20, 2013

Confessions of Buckcherry - A Concert Review

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Buckcherry is an American hard rock band that formed back in 1995 in Los Angeles.  They exploded onto the scene with their début record in 1999 and the smash single Lit Up.  This track alone incited
me to pick up the CD although there were other hits contained therein with For The Movies, Check Your Head and Dead Again.  The record was produced by Terry Date from Soundgarden/Pantera fame among others.  The band appeared at the rather disastrous Woodstock festival in 1999 (referred to as "the day the music died" in some circles).  After that Buckcherry disappeared from my radar and the radio airwaves.  But they actually released a follow up album entitled Timebomb in 2001, apparently spawning one single called Ridin’ which I had never heard until I picked up the record.  This one, while decent doesn't quite measure up to the quality of the début and the lyrics are a bit darker and more sordid.

After Timebomb Buckcherry did officially disband and disappear from the musical landscape.  Josh Todd (vocalist) and Keith Nelson (guitarist) played with ex-Gunners Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum at a Randy Castillo tribute.  Keith Nelson also appears in a song writing credit on the Velvet Revolver tune Dirty Little Thing from the 2004 Contraband CD.

In 2005 original members Josh Todd and Keith Nelson reformed Buckcherry with new players and recorded and released Buckcherry’s most successful album, 15 in 2006.  Hits such as Sorry, Everything, Next 2 You and the absolute smash Crazy Bitch just kept coming from the record.

They followed up with Black Butterfly which I would say is their best work to date as they sound clean and tight throughout the record.  Included here is a smokin' cover of Deep Purple's Highway Star.  For this record they signed on to be the opener for KISS' 2009/10 tour of the US and Canada.  I saw this tour (I don’t miss too many KISS shows if they come through my area) and although KISS had some sound problems at the beginning of their set, Buckcherry sounded awesome and were clear and tight on stage, leaving me looking forward to seeing them play a full show.

All Night Long was released in 2010 and the single of the same title received some radio airplay up here in The Great White North.  Now we await their newest CD due out February 19th, 2013 entitled Confessions.  The début single Gluttony is available now.  Gluttony seems to have all the makings of the Buckcherry sound, however as it was mentioned on a recent Decibel Geek podcast episode that the swearing or use of the “f” word, while fully expected from Buckcherry seems to sound forced here and a bit unnecessary or out of place.  You can place a pre-order for Confessions by following this link: http://www.cmdistro.com/Item/Buckcherry_-_Confessions_-Deluxe--PRE-ORDER-/44375

My desire to see Buckcherry play a full set at a live show was realised on Saturday Januray 19th, 2013 as they rolled into Toronto on their headlining club tour.  Here’s my thoughts on the whole show, in my opinion of course.

We arrived at The Phoenix Concert Theatre around 7:30pm and after checking our coats, perused the merchandise table.  Both of the opening bands on the bill had CD's for sale and as expected there were several styles of Buckcherry shirts along with stickers and other trinkets.  Shirts were priced at a mediocre price point of $30, which is not unreasonable in these days of concert going.

Securing a position one row back from the front of the stage, we stood in excited anticipation of the opening acts as we sampled the adult beverages.  Heaven's Basement took the stage promptly at 8pm and started off sounding great on their first track.  The British accented lead singer with the mop of frizzy hair led the four piece band through the first song which may have been titled Welcome Home judging by the chorus.  Likewise I deduced that the second tune was titled Can't Let Go, but the third composition was rocking and a great song, the Brit's vocals just needed to be a touch louder perhaps as I couldn't hear the words fully.  Both the bass and guitarist were right into it rocking hard and showing off excellent stage energy, but by the
 fourth song it was clear that there was something horribly awry.  Early on in the song the vocalist was handed a stainless metal bucket from the side stage, which he placed on the floor behind his monitor.  Crouching low he managed the next couple of lines of the song and then proceeded to puke into the bucket and exit the stage while the bass player and the guitarists picked up the lyrics and continued pace with the song.  a few minutes later he returned to centre stage and finished the track, possibly called We Stand Alone, after which he announced that they would have to cut their set short tonight as he didn't think he could get through without barfing on the front row.  And there was Heaven's Basement from the UK, too bad the singer was having problems, they were not bad and I made mental note to obtain their disc from the merchandise booth. http://heavensbasement.com/

Next up after the stage change activity were One Bad Son.  It was evident right off that they were a tight playing unit and gelled well together on the first track.  To the left side of the drum kit they had three vintage tube TV's stacked up on top of one another with the band name on them over a snowy static background.  Prior to the third song the vocalist announced that they were One Bad Son originally from Saskatoon, but now located in Vancouver, BC and they were going to give us a little Led Zeppelin for their next track.  They played In The Evening excellently before breaking into their own Moneytrain from their latest CD.  We were told that the next song was called It Ain't Right and it is for the people who take 40% of your pay cheque, the government.  The singer retrieved an acoustic guitar from side stage for the next number which was their new single that has been getting radio play across the country, Scarecrows.  This is the last show of the tour they decreed and said that they hope to play with their new friends Heaven's Basement again real soon, also commenting that Canadian winter can be
harsh and those UK boys took everything it could throw at them, but it finally won (I'm assuming a reference to the singer's return of his stomach contents).  What was hailed as a new song, Wasting Bullets was a blistering composition and probably the highlight of One Bad Son for me.  It was followed by Restitution Blues, for those who've suffered heartbreak and then he announced that they are going to do two more, one of theirs and then something that we all know and can sing along to.  London Kills was a great track as well and then they finished up, as promised, with something we all knew in The Who's Baba O'Riley.  http://www.onebadson.com/

Buckcherry blasted onto the stage as the pushing and shoving began in the beginnings of a raucous crowd.  Being a short guy with lots of concert experience (elbows up) I know how to protect my spot and the little group of strangers around me along with my two concert going friends all banded together in not letting anyone worm their way in front of us.  They opened up with Ridin' from the 2001 Timebomb disc and followed right into
Rescue Me from 2008's Black Butterfly. The pushing and shoving began to escalate behind me to the right as there was an brief altercation and exchange of words between two "ladies" which, of course, illicit comments from the "gentlemen" accompanying them.  Security moved in and one of the ladies was removed.  All Night Long was followed by a song that I was not familiar with from the second record Josh told the crowd.  Another melee or
skirmish erupted from behind me again, on the left side this time, as a fight broke out and security flew into the crowd, one of them having to be assisted in scaling the four foot high railing by the front row concert attendees.  Next Buckcherry slowed things down a bit with the hit Everything and then vocalist Josh asked if we wanted to sing a love song before they started into Sorry.  I found myself wondering if it's a pre-requisite to be part of Buckcherry that you have to be heavily tattooed as almost any parts of skin that were showing on all members was adorned with elaborate artwork.  Lead vocalist and founding member Josh Todd showed his dance moves with some fancy footwork at the opening of It's A Party.  Rhythm guitarist, Filipino Stevie D had, by this time, already thrown so many pics out into the crowd that it almost
lost its interest in grabbing one (although, sadly, I didn't manage to clasp one in my own hot little hand).  I've never seen so many guitar pics flung into the audience at all the shows I've seen. From the 15 album we got Next 2 You and then the track that started Buckcherry for me with Lit Up in the middle of which Josh went into a monologue saying that the song was about the first time that he did cocaine.  At the end of it I'm not sure if he was coming out in support of cocaine or against it, I had lost track while maintaining my position in the crowd, but he did mention washroom stall, strip searches, Mexican police and $20.00 rolled up in his sock, so you
can draw your own conclusions there.  Next up was the new single,  Gluttony, from the forthcoming Confessions record which is based on the seven sins.  All three of the guitarists looked to be having a lot of fun on stage as they were playing little games with each other, taking each other's guitar picks off their mike stands and pointing at each other and smiling.  I was not very familiar with the next song either, but I think it was called Slamin' from the Timebomb release, which was followed by a song about a Canadian called For The Movies, a hit from the first CD.  All throughout the show Josh had a habit of stroking is microphone quite
 often.  From there it was into Crazy Bitch and I steeled myself, waiting for the crowd to go nuts and surge towards the front, but it didn't happen.  They departed the stage for a brief rest before treating us to two encore songs, neither of which I was particularly familiar with again.  Buckcherry exhibited an amazing stage energy and presence and sounded clean and tight musically throughout the performance.  They expanded on my previous appreciation for them and did not disappoint with this full live set.  They are definitely a band to be seen live, if you haven't done so, make a note to get to the next show in your town, you'll thank me.  For those that have already experienced the live Buckcherry, you know what I mean.

Visit Buckcherry at: www.buckcherry.com for band information and tour dates.

*****All concert photographs by Rich "The Meister" Dillon*****

Cheers,
The Meister


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hopefully Buckcherry can recapture their larger venues from the past as this show at the Phoenix was a scaled down venue for them. And good on the Heaven's Basement singer for continuing the show after puking in his bucket. THAT's rock and effing roll!

Scott Jones said...

The 'We Stand Alone' song is actually called 'Nothing Left to Lose'

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