Josh Todd and The Conflict performed during opening week at the recently renovated Rochaus (formerly Clearwater Theater) in West Dundee, Illinois. The makeover provided an atmosphere that was perfect for a rock show, whether you were down on the main floor or in the balcony.
While Josh Todd and The Conflict are technically a new band, two members, Todd and guitarist Stevie Dacanay, are long time veterans of Buckcherry. The band also included Gregg Cash (bass) and Sean Winchester (drums). Both of whom, based on a fan comment I overheard after the show, are the best low end duo playing right now.
Touring in support of their September release, Year of the Tiger, Josh Todd and The Conflict played just over an hour of material that included every song on the new album. Also mixed into the set were a couple of unreleased tracks and rock versions of three songs from Todd and Dacanay’s electronic-based Spraygun War EP.
For those in the crowd that were unsure of what to expect from this line up, title track and first single, Year of the Tiger immediately set the tone for the night. To those wondering, no, this is not a Buckcherry offshoot as JT and The Conflict have a heavier side. Much like Todd sang during the chorus of the opening song, “I set the world on fire,” the band held nothing back. The fists were up and they were ready to power their way through the night. Upbeat Push It lead into The Conflict, with Stevie D’s spiraling guitar tone intro that continued straight into a one-two punch of raucous tonality.
If anyone in attendance that night wondered the direction this new band had taken on, they definitely felt it during Inside. In my opinion, it’s the heaviest track on the album, but don’t let the free-flowing chorus fool you as the song is full of pummeling chaos that is equally fueled by each member’s performance on stage.
With a “stomp, stomp, clap” back beat, bluesy undertone and confident lyrical performance, not to mention the swirling, underwater sounding tone produced by Stevie D, Rain was by far the catchiest song of the night. (Watch the video below.) They slowed the tempo down even more with a very moving version of Good Enough. Easily seen as the ballad on the album, the smooth flow of words and music perfectly intertwined with each other making for an almost reflective point during the night.
They started to pick up the pace again with Story of My Life before getting to F–ked Up, which was released this past July. Once again, fans were able to witness the intensity with which each member played, including Dacanay who also pulled double-duty as backing vocalist for the majority of the night. They continued with another unreleased song, Kill You, Kill Me and a rock version of Fury, another from the Spraygun War EP. The latter of which I felt had a subtle hint of seventies flavor during the verses and a fun intensity during the chorus. Being familiar with the EP, it was great to see how they converted the songs to work within a 4-piece band.
The one cover of the night, which is also on the album, included Prince’s Erotic City. To be honest, I can’t imagine them covering any of his other songs as this one works on so many levels and even more so in the live setting. While it felt like the initial curiosity of what Josh Todd and The Conflict were going to bring to the table fell to the wayside after the first few songs, the majority of the set was met with consistent clapping, yelling and on more than one occasion, excited expletive language from fans expressing approval.
While Josh Todd did little speaking between songs, he made sure to mention he had noticed the diehard Buckcherry fans and that their attendance wasn’t going unnoticed. Another interesting dynamic within the group is that both Sean and Gregg played together several years ago. Add to this the long term connection between Josh and Stevie and you have an environment that automatically creates a solid cohesive connection in not only their recorded music, but even more so in the live setting.
The night ended just as aggressively as it started with Atomic, a song that could have easily been part of the Spraygun War EP, and also included some killer guitar work from Stevie D, and Bullet, another unreleased song, that at times had a slight Soundgarden feel to it. They wrapped up with OMG, another from the Spraygun War EP, but a song that really stood out in the rock setting.
Find all Josh Todd and The Conflict tour dates here.
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