Live Review: Buckcherry – O2 Academy, Newcastle, July 28th 2009

l_e615c1a0d08b8334e9c84d3ba8ab7e20Buckcherry‘s short Sonisphere-fuelled jaunt around the UK rolls into Newcastle tonight. With this being the only upgraded show thus far on the tour, the band, along with Dear Superstar, Heavens Basement and The Crave in tow, are playing to their largest audience tonight. This is, on paper (or rather, ticket) a four-pronged rock beast not to be missed.

Hailing from Brighton, radio-friendly rockers The Crave start things off. Having witnessed the band playing upstairs in the same venue before, I was doubtful their tunes would play well on a bigger stage; disproved, the tracks scream ‘arena’ and The Crave sound positively massive tonight. While the majority are somewhat reluctant to move along, (and granted, a lot of the crowd haven’t made an appearance in the venue yet) the 4-piece really impress; songs like The Stray and forthcoming single High sounding tight as hell, with a real feel good vibe. Carlos Garcia‘s guitar solo’s on most of tonight’s tracks are nothing short of impressive and strangely laid back, and the band go down very nicely to start proceedings.

Heavens Basement definitely sound more “classic” than their predecessors, but they certainly start with a bang, and get a well-deserved reaction from the definitely more aged contingent. Supporting basically every overseas rock band as of late has really put their profile on the map, and listening to them, it’s really no surprise. They sound a lot heavier and meatier live; it’s fast and heavy, it has some real swagger, and it goes down a treat; frontman Richie Hevanz commanding the crowd, who lap it up in good manner. If Heavens Basement keep their live acts this slick and energetic, they should most definitely be playing to crowds the size of tonight’s of their own accord sooner, rather than later.

Manchester’s Dear Superstar ultimately fail to live up to the standards of a Buckcherry main support. Maybe it’s just the unfortunate billing of a band that sounded far more at home supporting Papa Roach pre-download, or maybe it’s because tonight, they sound flat, quiet, and somewhat lame – their performance hampered by a lack of microphone sound. Jacoby Shaddix lookalike Micky Satiar pulls out stage moves that are beyond ridiculous, complete with a hideous drift into an American accent between songs, and the crowd, unfortunately, don’t seem to buy it. It can’t be denied, their tunes are catchy; they’ve certainly got the hooks to win a crowd, they definitely have an energetic rock factor, but tonight is not the band’s night. Not even a slightly better rendition of closer Brothers In Blood save them, and all but a few of the audience come away unfulfilled and unimpressed.

Buckcherry make the sound of an ultimate party band, and tonight they don’t disappoint. They set about in delivering a high octane set that sounds massive and so energetic right from the off (via a laugh-out-loud Mission Impossible entrance). Vocalist Josh Todd sounds just like he does on record. That snarly, sleazy voice with the energy of a rabid dog, and it positively infects his audience, incurring the first proper crowd movement of the night. He once again probes just what an awesome frontman he really is.

The rock swagger of Talk To Me, and the balls-out anthemic quality of new album Black Butterfly‘s intro track, Rescue Me, prove more than just highlights, they’re just sheer party starters in the form of five men playing very tight, very great music. The floor is absolutely packed by this point, men and women of all ages have come together, and it’s truly a sight to see a band get this kind of energy out of their audience.

The sets undoubted highlight, in amongst the sweat and hair, is crowd favourite Crazy Bitch (possibly the one song every single person in the room will know the full words to sing along to) and it goes down an absolute storm. Judging by this fantastic performance, it’s definitely clear that all four bands will give Sonisphere a real shaking this weekend, but Buckcherry look set to positively blow their faces off.

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