Riding through the eucalyptus scented Laurel Canyon is always an interesting drive especially at night in the pouring rain. It’s silent as the fog thickens. You can’t really see the road as you’re winding onto Crescent Heights Blvd; not until you hit Sunset Blvd. Once you take that turn it’s nothing but the sleazy streets of a cold and wet Hollywood; wall to wall lights, people and jetting in between cars past the Seventh Veil and the Body Shop (wink). So where are you headed little Red Riding Hood? Why to the infamous Viper Room to see Buckcherry, of course.
To celebrate the release of their latest CD, Confessions, LA’s own big bad wolves, Buckcherry sold out the Viper Room and opened the first of three nights in the shady little club that started it all for them. They landed a record deal playing the Viper Room and fifteen years later they’re rocking that intimate little stage again not as the unknown bad boys they were chasing the dream, but as the bad-ass multi-platinum selling rock band they are, living the dream.
At 10pm straight up, Josh Todd (vocals), Keith Nelson (guitar), Stevie D. (guitar), Jimmy Ashhurst (bass) and Xavier Muriel (drums) hit the stage performing a twelve song set opening with Rescue Me from the 2009 release, Black Butterfly. Todd is not a shy-type of front-man he stepped into the lights with such verve of energy the crowd bounced in unison; all 250 of them. The Viper Room is very small for those of you yet to spill your drink on their floor. During the course of the evening, Todd spoke of the days when he’d get his fix on (his choice) and sit atop the Whisky baking his cookies. And with that he said, “I was thinking about building a fucking empire.”
iPhones and Androids swayed back and forth in people’s hands and above heads as they snapped pictures and took video of the band’s performance. When Buckcherry went into Sorry and It’s A Party, a beach ball bounced above our heads being softly pushed by those it touched; not because the aura of the room was so serene but because you couldn’t truly move your elbows; yet we managed. The band slowed things down a bit with the tune The Truth, off their new disc, Confessions but the soft soothing side of Buckcherry didn’t last long as the shirtless Todd kept the mood down and dirty asking us, “Are you a fucking sinner?” We’re at a Buckcherry show; what do you think? The roar of the fans was bigger than the venue could bear as the band launched into Crazy Bitch, showcasing the seedy and sexy underbelly that is Buckcherry’s sound. Seeing them in a small setting; as in watching the sweat drip off their bodies and hoping you don’t get wet, really brings home how polished and tight they are live. There’s no hiding your demons behind the soundboard or the light show; you either are that good or you’re not because “in-between” sucks.
No way would the band think of not doing an encore – Oh My Lord and Wrath off Confessions, closed the evening after their 70 minute blitz of music, which spanned six albums. There’s a lot of water under that bridge and water carries emotion. No wonder their songs touch areas of your mind and body your parents told you not to let anyone do.
And what of you, Red? Did you escape their evil clutches? Well, remember, we’re in Hollywood and this is a different kind of fable; for the hunter is Buckcherry—and the big bad wolves of rock prevailed.
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