When I first encountered Buckcherry in 1999, a wave of envy washed over me. This band, with its ingenious fusion of Guns N Roses’ unparalleled cool and modernised production, burst onto the scene with explosive force. Amidst the late ’90s musical fog, they carved a path for the resurgence of raw, unapologetic rock n’ roll. Witnessing their tour was like standing at the epicentre of a musical nuclear detonation, where the essence of GnR and Motorhead melded into a formidable powerhouse. Their sound was monumental, an awe-inspiring blend that reignited the passion of anyone who had ever revelled in the hair metal era or the hard rock vibes of the ’80s. It was a thrilling spectacle to see Buckcherry not only gain mainstream acceptance but also string together hits that secured their place in the music world indefinitely, regardless of what the future held.
Was it because they sang about cocaine on their first single? This was no gimmick. Fast forward two decades plus finds the band on tour in the UK with a stop at London’s O2 Islington Academy. A fitting venue for the band since this place seems to cater towards the rock vibe more than other venues in London. Buckcherry hit the stage with Lit Up as the opener. Didn’t see that coming but we know they’ve got plenty of “hits” to keep the set going. Frontman Josh Todd had caught a bug three days into the UK tour so there was a bit of uncertainty around if this show was even going to happen. I’ve had this bug since Christmas and it’s no fucking joke. You can barely breathe, let alone sing a song in the style of Todd. While I’m glad that the show happened, it was clear at several moments that he was clearing some shit out of his lungs.
Buckcherry’s set stood out for its refreshing focus on evolution over nostalgia. While they kicked off with their biggest hit, that nod to their debut was brief. Notably absent were classics like “Check Your Head” and “For the Movies”, making way for newer tracks from ‘Vol. 10’ and 2021’s ‘Hellbound’. It’s a bold move, as many bands from their era lean heavily on early successes. Yet, Buckcherry thrives on this deviation, delivering rock anthems like “Good Time”, “Let’s Get Wild”, “Pain”, and “Shine Your Light”. These songs, commanding respect and embracing the band’s current chapter, left no room for disappointment. Buckcherry proves that solid rock ‘n’ roll transcends time, continually drawing fans without resting on past laurels.
I don’t know how he did it, but holy shit, he powered through and I have to say was hitting the notes pretty bang on. I think he reallly found his groove in the middle of the set as he seemed to just settle in and let it rip with what he could. Outside of the cough or two, it wasn’t super apparent how bad the bug really was. We would find out a few days later when the rest of the UK and EU runs were cancelled completely. It’s cool to see the fans supporting instead of bitching.
Buckcherry heads back to the states for more headline dates and select dates with Skid Row. Vol. 10 is available now and definitely worth a listen.