In Southern California, choosing a band or a show to go to on any weekend night is usually a pretty daunting task. You see, we’re spoiled here in L.A. On this one particular night, Friday the 13th,, it was an especially difficult task what with Maidenfest in town, the Uproar Festival just up the I-5 Freeway, and countless Southland venues offering up all kinds of musical talent.
I had made my decision. Small venue. Huge band.
Buckcherry, winding down more than twelve months on the road and new album release, rolled into the sold-out Coach House and gave the die-hard fans assembled a solid ass-whooping’ they’d not soon forget.
Even before Buckcherry hit the stage, the vibe was as high as the late summer temperatures in south Orange County. The evening’s musical lineup included a couple of blistering sets by the standout local hard rock trio Red 9, who were then followed up by Seattle’s Girl on Fire. GoF have spent the last three months touring with Buckcherry and this was their final night supporting them. Both opening bands quickly got the eager and appreciative crowd into their own unique brands of rock n’ roll.
After a short intermission, the lights dimmed and Buckcherry hit the stage. The sold-out crowd rose to its feet and greeted OC-native Josh Todd and the rest of the band like warriors at a coming home party. Todd, dressed in sailor blues, mirrored sunglasses and a bright red bandanna, tore into Lit Up from the band’s self-titled debut. Without much banter between, the group moved right through a nice mix of songs taken from both pre- and post breakup. Rescue Me from 2009’s Black Butterfly album was followed up with Broken Glass from 2005’s major release 15. Eventually, Buckcherry pulled five songs from that album, including Everything, Sorry, Next To You and the main set finale Crazy Bitch.
The pounding rhythm section of Xavier Muriel on drums and Jimmy Ashworth on bass layed down a tight groove all night, even bringing some classic AC/DC into the set with a short snippet from Big Balls. Constant banter with founding guitarist Keith Nelson and suggestive lyrics were a common theme as Todd baited the women in the crowd with a barrage of sexual innuendoes and ass grabbing (his own) and making it well known his dislike of “granny panties.” Try as he might, no women’s undergarments were tossed on stage, although it did seem to increase the body heat in the house as Todd and guitarist Stevie D both had shed their shirts to unveil the beautiful body art that both they and the crowd are fascinated with.
In my experience, most bands come right out the gate with the newest songs, to get them out of the way so to speak so they can wind up the show with the “greatest hits” send off, not so with Buckcherry. In a sign that this band is comfortable in its own skin, they waited until the last third of the night to slip into the best tunes from their latest album Confessions. Released last February in the midst of a year plus tour, some of the best songs of the night were saved for last. Referencing the theme of the album and the Seven Deadly Sins, the band rocked the crowd with Gluttony and held them tight with Nothing Left But Tears. After the aforementioned Crazy Bitch, the band left the stage for the first time. Goodnight? The roaring crowd wasn’t having any of it.
After a brief respite, the band came back out and acknowledged their fans. They then proceeded to wrap up the evening with epic versions of two of my favorite songs from the new album, Greed and Wrath.
Then that was it. The band then left the stage again…but this time for good. The thoroughly satisfied crowd spilled out into the warm seaside night and began to reflect on what the hell had just happened.
For me, I had made a decision this night and it very much turned out to be the right one.
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