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.