News Segment


April 19, 2006

Buckcherry suffers from some serious delusions of grandeur. Despite playing in a sweaty basement club, the Los Angeles sleaze rockers mined every arena cliche in the rock-star canon Tuesday night downstairs at the Middle East.

Heralded as a return to classic rock when it emerged back in 1999, Buckcherry actually leans more toward the hair metal side of rock nostalgia. The band is more Poison than Led Zeppelin, more Motley Crue than Aerosmith, as its opening tune, the testosterone-rocking glam of “Dirty Mind,” attested.

By the second song, extremely tattooed frontman Josh Todd already had done away with his shirt and was bucking and jiving around the stage like someone who had enjoyed a bevy of mind-altering substances backstage. Revealing an astute knowledge of his audience, Todd then prefaced a tune by asking the Miller Lite-chugging crowd, “How many of you dream of being a porn star?”

His question elicited a roaring affirmative response as the band launched into the trash-rock rumble of “Porno Star.” Despite repeatedly screaming, “Take off your clothes and shut the door” during this tribute to adult entertainment, Todd managed to immediately morph into sensitive-rock mode on the sappy power ballad “You,” which found him exhibiting some serious Axl Rose envy (the 20-something Axl, not the pathetic and strange dreadlocked Axl of today).

Throughout the set, Todd and his band did their best to mimic their Aquanet-loving heroes of the late ’80s. Drummer Devon Glenn perhaps nailed the caricature best. Thanks to the breeze from some powerful fans trained on his head that made his wild, dark mane fly about, Glenn appeared like something straight out of a long-lost Poison video.

When the band laid into its surprisingly funky current hit single “Crazy Bitch,” the audience kick-started into full headbanging, fist-pumping mode. Extreme headbanging, of the neck-injury-risk variety, commenced when Todd folded Billy Squier’s “Stroke Me” into the tune’s bridge. Buckcherry wasn’t the only one feeling the hair-metal stadium-rock vibe. Inspired by the infectious sleaze rock, several women leaped on their boyfriends’ shoulders during the set, one even partaking in the Motley Crue show tradition of lifting her shirt for the band.

The night ended on a fittingly debauched note with the undeniably catchy riff rocker “Lit Up,” a Southern rock boogie extolling the virtues of cocaine. It was good fun, but though the boys in Buckcherry may have their arena-rock attitude and style down pat, they’ve got a ways to go before actually playing in one.

A bevy of bruising hard-rock bands opened the show, the most noticeable being redneck metalheads Graveyard BBQ and the awfully named, but surprisingly impressive, Rock-n-Roll Soldiers.

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