While most people probably don’t consider Libertyville, IL a Rock n Roll town, (although, Tom Morello is originally from there) Buckcherry have played Austin’s Fuel Room several times over the last 8 years. On this particular occasion, they were only a few days into the start of their Spring Tour still supporting their F*CK EP from last year.
The night started off with Atlanta based Bridge to Grace. They took full advantage of their 30-minute set making a bold statement with their performance. There was no doubt, they came to ROCK! Not even halfway through their set, based on fists pumping in the air and reactions on faces in the crowd, not to mention the loud applause after each song, Bridge to Grace made an impression. Singer David Garcia was in a limited amount of space and couldn’t move around much, but his facial expressions told the crowd everything they wanted to know. He sang with a passion and intensity that I welcome in a front man. Bassist Christian Lowenstein on the other hand had plenty of room to move around. His nonstop action and furious playing was fun to watch. Although many times I feared he was going to whip the front row with his flying hair. Drummer Justin Little was a driving force all night and played with an intensity equaled to his singer. He and guitarist Alex Cabrera also pulled double duty with backing vocals. Alex’s main role as the sole guitarist was one he didn’t take lightly. Whether he was soloing, jumping or letting his facial expressions show his passion for the songs, he definitely let his fingers do the talking. Their set ended with their current single, Bitch, and a heavy metal version of House of Pain’s Jump Around. Be sure and check them out if they come to your town.
View my photos of Bridge to Grace here.
Next up were Aeges (pronounced Ages) from Los Angeles. Described as 90’s post-hardcore meets pummeling desert-rock, their 45-minute set was full of deep sludgy grooves and tasty riffs. Although quite different in style from the first band, they still held their own on stage. I did notice the crowd wasn’t as rowdy during their performance, but there were many call outs from the crowd expressing they liked what they were hearing. Pulling double-duty on both singing and playing guitar, lead vocalist Kemble Walters and Cory Clark intertwined and complimented each other as they brought their fire charged sound and vocals to the forefront. Bassist Tony Baumeister seemed a bit reserved, but his playing was on par bringing those low tones to life. Drummer Mike Land on the other hand played like his life depended on it. Not knowing anything about Aeges prior to seeing them, I tried to soak it all in, however, there were a few times where I had to pause. Their song structures will keep you on your toes. While a song may have started out melodic, it could abruptly turn and take you down into a pummeling aggressive dark hole. Needless to say, this wasn’t a bad place to be. Be sure to check them out.
View my photos of Aeges here.
After a 30-minute set change, the lights dimmed, the intro music started and Buckcherry took the stage. Holding nothing back, they launched into one of the most energetic songs in their catalog, Lit Up. Keith Nelson played at the very front of the stage, his guitar basically in the faces of fans down front, while Josh Todd commanded center stage singing the chorus, “I love the cocaine, I love the cocaine.” Keith continued playing slide at the edge of the stage, chucking picks at people down front, smiling and carrying on. Clearly he was in a great mood. Stevie D. even came over to stage right for a little back and forth action with Keith. The chemistry these two have when they are playing side by side is pretty evident. Buckcherry have been opening with this song for a while now and it really sets the tone of the night, both on stage and for the fans.
They kept the pace in high gear with another song from their first album. Dead Again, with a tempo that made you feel like you should be driving a car on a race track, everyone was firing on all cylinders. With the intense playing from Xavier Muriel on drums, I thought for sure he was going to break something right out of the gate. By the end of the night his kit appeared to escape unscathed, however his sticks looked pretty brutal as he tossed them into the crowd. I noticed a little Stones-esque guitar prelude before they continued with All Night Long.
When Josh asked how many people had their new F*CK record, cheers erupted from the crowd. He asked, “Do you ever feel like somebody f*cked with you?” More cheers from the crowd. Josh started spewing angry lyrics while jumping around. This is such an in your face song, the crowd were more than willing to sing along to the chorus. It was at this point that I realized Josh reminded me of a boxer in the ring. Light on his feet, determined, and focused.
While Buckcherry are known for their raw, dirty sound, they have a softer side as well. They brought it down a few notches with two popular songs from their 15 album, which I still can’t believe was released back in 2006. Has it already been that long? Josh even asked, “How many of y’all been with us a long f*cking time?” There were lots of cheers from the crowd. As I looked around the stage at each member playing their part, I noticed Xavier singing along. Even though he doesn’t sing backing vocals, I remembered from other live shows he tends to sing along to this one a lot. This lead into Sorry, which Josh dedicated to the ladies.
I don’t know about you, but I will say, you’ve got to love a band with diversity. They kicked it up a notch as they got back down to dirty business with Porno Star from their 2001 release, Time Bomb, before jumping back to Sunshine, another song from their 15 album. Now for those that haven’t heard this song live before, to describe it, imagine driving with the windows down on a summer day, the music blasting, and you don’t have a care in the world. Fans could be seen smiling, laughing, dancing, head bobbing, moving and shaking all night long. (no pun intended). I once read an article where Keith mentioned he wanted to write music that made people move. Every time I’ve seen Buckcherry live, that is clearly evident. Buckcherry fans are as passionate about the band as the band is about their performance. Speaking of passion, let me talk about Keith and Stevie’s guitar collection. I’m not sure how many people pay attention to guitar changes, but there was a lot of it going on all night. I counted no less than four different guitars each consistently being swapped out during an hour and 20 minute set. The history wrapped up in those guitars is pretty awesome not to mention, hearing them is 100 times better when it’s live and in person.
Off and on during the night people were yelling out, “Happy Birthday Josh!” but the celebration would come later. My fave song from the F*CK EP has been getting heavy play in their live show and apparently a lot of people like it as well, as Josh lead them in a sing along in the beginning, “Uh huh, uh huh, uh huh.” I Don’t Give A F*ck has a dirty groove that is just too hard to resist. They teased with AC/DC’s Big Balls before playing two back to back songs from their Confessions album, Gluttony and Greed. Much to my surprise, they also played Borderline from the first album. We’re talking about a not often played song from 1999 album folks! This was the last of the slower moments of the night and the wah pedal Keith was using couldn’t have sounded sweeter. The song sounded awesome. With so many songs to choose from, I’m glad they keep reaching deep into their bag to pull out these less frequently played songs here and there.
Name the one song that sends people into a frenzy at a Buckcherry show. Yep, Crazy Bitch…and the crowd goes wild! However, during this song Josh took the opportunity to introduce the band and they each give everyone a tease of their individual playing. Well, except for Kelly and Xavier, that is. This has become my new favorite part of the night. With Kelly, who started off the show fully decked out in a pinstripe suit and that KISS shirt peeking out from underneath, they got down and got funky. It always feels like once they really get into a groove it’s time to stop. I never want it to end. In fact, I’d really love for Buckcherry to put this breakdown into a song. I mean, they’re Buckcherry. They can make anything work!
This concluded the night. But, not really. They left the stage for a brief moment, before coming back to play their version of the Icona Pop song, they aptly titled, Say F*ck It. Before going into the last song of the night, Keith got on the mic to say, “Tonight is a special night because it is Josh Todd’s birthday.” He then lead everyone in singing Happy Birthday while a crew member brought out a cake with candles and made Josh blow them out. After giving hugs to all the guys, Josh said, “These are nice people.” It was a touching moment you don’t often see between band members. However, it wouldn’t be a Buckcherry show if that wasn’t followed up by someone flashing Josh.
The night ended with Too Drunk which included Josh pretending to have a hard time staying upright as a result of being too drunk. If only there was a way to translate his expressions. Goofy drunk comes to mind. Either way, he knows how to have a good time on stage, even if he’s only acting. Also, it was at this point that someone was blowing up balloons and hitting them towards the stage. It was funny to watch the band play and sing while batting them back into the crowd. Josh thanked everyone for celebrating his birthday, picks and sticks were thrown, the band waved good-bye and the show was over.
If by chance you’ve missed seeing Buckcherry a time or two during the past 15 years, what are you waiting for? The tour just started and there are a lot of opportunities to get to a live show. I can almost guarantee you will have a great time! Find all their Spring Tour dates plus VIP options here.
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