Just a few minutes into Buckcherry’s show opening Tired of You last night at Rupp Arena, an elusive but obvious revelation came to light – that this, despite any other stylistic tags you felt compelled to employ, was a rock ‘n’ roll outfit at work.
OK, so maybe that is not the most insightful estimation of what the West Coast band was capable of. But you had to deal with everything that came before – specifically three bands spaced over 3 ½ hours that dragged thundering, foreboding and ultimate stagnant tunes through a variety of pop makeovers – to fully appreciate the loose charm of a Buckcherry performance.
Of course, the modest Rupp crowd of 4,800 probably wouldn’t have known that just by looking at the band. Josh Todd, the generously tattooed frontman, along with mates decked in black, possessed that same detached, metal-savvy appearance as the bands that opened the evening. But as Tired of You bled into Next to You, the evening’s plentiful angst faded away. By the time Ridin’ upended the metal fatigue completely, the mood was all bluesy, boozy barroom rock.
Sure, some of the tunes – such as Onset and Too Drunk, not to mention the latter song’s near plagiaristic appropriation of a title and sentiment expressed decades ago by punk forefathers The Dead Kennedys- possessed the sort of cheap sex talk that seemed generically adolescent. But the makeup of Talk to Me, with guitarists Keith Nelson and Stevie D. at the helm, compensated with references to dirty soul grooves of the mid ‘70s.
Todd set the tempo, though. He was as energetic as any of the evening’s other vocalists. But instead of the drone-like howls of Avenged Sevenfold’s M. Shadows or the over-the-top combustibility of Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix, Todd just let go. (The Virginia metal band Burning Halo rounded out a bill that began at 6:30)
Little of his performance dwelled upon choreographed aggression. Like the rest of Buckcheery, he simply locked into a groove built around vintage arena rock, soul and, at times, funk. With all that on his side, Todd simply let the music roar at a pace that was vital, organic and, above all, fun.