Thursday, July 20, 2006

Goin' Ridin'

As I was about to get out of work on Friday, I got a call from my buddy Frank.

"Buckcherry is playing down in AC. Want to go?"

I knew it would be a bitch trying to get down there on a Saturday Night, and that it would be hell trying to come up whenever this fucking thing ended...but if you've ever read any of my other stuff, you know that Buckcherry is one of my favorite bands of all time, and they have been for about ten years. I've never gotten to see them live, and with a band that does as many drugs as they do, you never know how long they're actually going to be around anyway. I had to go. It wasn't an option.

An hour late, me and the girlfriend were on the road heading down towards the gambler's haven that is Atlantic City. I had enough dough on me for the tickets and maybe four beers (at the five bucks a shot that they charge down there...for a can of Yuengling!). For once, however, I didn't give two shits about getting drunk- all I wanted to do was to see that band. From what I'd heard, the House of Blues was a smaller venue, so I figured we'd be able to get pretty close to the actual band. I was about as giddy as you're ever going to see a guy like me.

Their new album came out on April 11th, so this tour is the supporting endeavor. The name of it is "15", named for the number of days it took to record the thing. You know that means? That means that there aren't just a bunch of guitar and drum parts thrown together to make an album- it means that it's balls to wall rock n roll, and that they just played their asses off to get it done. You can hear it in the passion Joshua Todd sings with, and you can feel it in every chord that Keith Nelson rips through. In a world of rap, drum machines, and mixers, it's rare that you hear a band that just plays. When they went on a hiatus a couple years ago, I thought that they were done forever...but they are back now, and with a vengeance.

We hung out in the casino for a while, playing quarter slots and getting free rum and cokes from the beautiful shot girls. As the concert drew closer, we worked our way over to the House of Blues, losing assorted amounts of money as we went.

The venue is a huge place with paintings of rock stars and guitars on the walls and bars all around the edges. Its size might be exagerrated by the high ceilings, of course, but it still holds that feeling that you're in a club, not in an arena. Its standing room only, so you can get as close as you want to the stage, and the bouncers aren't up your ass all the time.

When we walked in, some hard rock band was playing evil sounding songs, and it was loud enough to make your ears hurt right when you walked in. I dug it. The music was darker than I normally liked, but they were tight enough that I could appreciate it regardless. You could tell, though, what band everyone was there to see; as soon as 10 o clock rolled around, the place started filling up, ending up twice as packed as it was at 9:50. The lights went out, and movement could be seen behind the curtains. The cheering started.

A nameless guy came out, and began giving the preluide to the show. "These guys, they're bringing rock n roll nack the right way. Welcome Buckcherry!" The crowd roared, and in the midst of this excellent moment, the curtains rolled back, and the band, the legends, launched into their first song of the night. I don't know the name of the song, being as it was off the most recent album that's only been out for a couple months- I know all the songs, but the titles are something I learn last ( I figure as long as I know the words, the title can fuck off).

Like any good crowd, they were kind of quiet until a song that they knew came on. After the third song, Joshua Todd walked over towards the drums and took his jacket off, revealing the lean, muscular body that probably gets him laid like a motherfucker. Even the guys were cheering, though, because not only does this mean the show is going to get more intense, but also that Todd's tattoos come into full view. As soon as he turns around, the ink that has come to represent the band is in sight- on his stomach, the word, "Chaos" with the anarchy symbol inside the O, and the king of hearts with the word "Love" and "Desire" framing it. What makes this one cooler is that the king of hearts has one meaning- the suicide king. In Todd's words, "It's the only fucking king with a fucking sword through his head". He walked back to the front of the stage, and the twanging chords of the song "Next to You" begin clanging.

The version is brewing with life, with Todd leaping around the stage as theatrically as an androgenous, tattooed wild fucker can. The sound is incredible and loud, and I'm half in the bag by now, so now I'm roaring my approcval as best I can.

It's hard to make the crowd stay around for slow songs, and I think that every band in the world knows this. There's always a couple jerks who put their lighters in the air for these songs; even bigger jerks hold up their cell phones (again...fuck technology). But Buckcherry's slow songs aren't so much "slow" as they are "less banged out from coke"- they still rock. When they went into their new song, "Everything", Todd screamed that this is what he wants out of life: EVERYTHING. The guitars kicked up behind him, and the song launches. For some reason, as soon as I heard this song the first time, I couldn't help thinking of Ryer's ex-girlfriend, looking out over the water in Hoboken, with the winds whipping off the water, wondering what the fuck happened to her life.

Buried way beneath the sheets I think she’s having a meltdown
Finding it hard to fall asleep she won’t let anyone help her
The look on her face a waste of time she won’t let go gonna roll the dice
Loosing her grace, starts to cry I feel her pain when I look in her eyes

It sometimes brings me to tears, even though I can't figure out why.

The mood changes, and the band begins to go into their current signature song, the now legendary "Crazy Bitch". I can't even describe his prelude into this rocking song, except that he says that it's about how it's funnny that the girls who are always the most fun in bed are also the ones who are completely fucking insane. Women love, and I mean love, this song.

The intro at this concert was the same that I was at. Listen to his little monologue.

After the song ends, some broad gets up on her boyfriend's shoulders and flashes the band. Where was I? Straight back behind her. Fuck. Luckily, the guy turned around to show the rest of the crowd. That rack was top notch, I gotta say...I guess she was a "crazy bitch".

The guitarist had a collection of pics that he would use, then just chuck into the crowd. He must've given at least 15 out. With full sleeves of tattoos on both of his arms, he would play with an apathetic face- never smiling, but certainly not looking unhappy (hell, he saw that broad's tits, so he shouldn't be). He was pretty thick also- his arms are big enough that I don't believe he does any drugs at all. He spits constantly, but barely moves the whole show; this is a stark comparison to Todd's antics. It's kind of cool that this fella can get along with such a character as Joshua Todd; you can see the stoic, muscled tough guy saving his skinny coke head buddy's ass in a bar every other night. From how they are on stage, they seem quite the odd couple.

From here, they go into a bunch of older songs. "Ridin" rocks out, "Slammin" (the song "For all the girls with big tits and a big fat ass") follows suit, with Todd literally making you feel it when he says, "I'm on the stage burnin', keepin heads turnin".

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The songs are all played with abandon, and they perform like they're in front of a million people. Nothing is held back, and I couldn't hear a damn thing by the end.

"Bitches do some crazy shit for that cocaine man. I want you all to say it, "Co-caine. Co-caine. Co-caine". The crowd chants, and the women, again, are going wild. What's coming is the first song that they hit it big with: "Lit Up". I remember being about ten years old when this song came out, sitting in a hotel room in Disney World trying to catch as much MTV as I possibly could to keep up on music, when I saw this video for the first time. No one knew who Buckcherry were back then, but when this song hit, everyone knew. In the video, Todd is looking like a more cracked out David Bowie, and they're playing in a small club that is rocking to this song. I saw the second coming of real rock that day, with the lights flashing, the dark background, and of course, hot women dancing.

When those chords flare at the beginning of the song, the whole crowd moved as one. Guys who hadn't moved the whole time started jumping, and some frat looking white guy suddenly started croud surfing. It was, amazingly, just like the fucking video.

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After the song, they said their goodbyes, and walked offstage. The croud was lurching and wailing, trying to get an encore out of them. At this point, my voice was shattered to the point that I couldn't talk, and when I tried to scream I couldn't tell if anything was even coming out. In a triumphant moment for the Hegelian spirit, we all rocked together to get them back out. Soon enough, they returned.

The last song was the raucous, rocking song "Crush". The lyrics are as good as the music, and they describe me better than any other song I've yet heard. Ever wonder where I got the title for the song, "He Drinks With a Passion"? It was this song. When he says, "My mother's disgusted", well, hey, that's why I live nowadays- to disgust my mother. Seeing the live version is that much better.

The song sounded something like this, just awesomer because I was there

After the final roar of an appreciative crowd, we left the casino. The boardwalk in Atlantic City is an odd mix of glitz and ghetto, with the bright flashing lights of the casinos offset by the dark alleyways and darker interior that Atlantic City is known for. The boardwalk was loaded with mostly blacks and hispanics, along with the occaional white guy who thinks he's black or spanish. Hard looks were everywhere; starting a fight here would not be hard at all. The lack of cops was evident.

We walked to a dimly lit Irish bar with low ceilings to eat. The food was good, and dirt cheap. Unfortunately, I'd stopped drinking and the food just made me even more tired. I looked at the clock on the wall- 1 o'clock. Shit. Only seven hours till work, and I was still two and a half hours away from home.

The ride was long and tedious, with the winding, empty Garden State Parkway laying out before me. My girlfriend slept on the backseat, while me and my buddy Harry made our way back. He stayed awake the whole time; though he was no doubt as tired as I was, he was probably afraid that I'd fall asleep on the way and kill all of us. It's never happened to me before, but I figured those would be my last thoughts before I woke up in my girlfriend's car with it wrapped around a telephone poll. At every other rest stop, we'd pull over to have a smoke and bullshit.

At 4:30, I finally got home after dropping Harry off in Clifton. My ears were ringing and my voice was gone, and I had to wake up in another three hours for work. A Saturday night for the record books, I think.

1 comment:

Randolph said...

this tale left me inspired. as i've always said, go see your idols when you can, cause they may die on ya before you get a chance...all i have to do is think of joe strummer (r.i.p.) in the same A.C. back in 2001.

thanks for the visit. i'm sure i'll be back for more later.