PHOTOS — Buckcherry 2023

Buckcherry w/ Gunshine • July 20, 2023 • Bilheimer Capitol Theatre — Clearwater, FL • Photos by Randy Cook —


Buckcherry | July 20, 2023 | Nancy & David Bilheimer Capitol Theatre, Clearwater, FL
Review by: Randy Cook

Touring in support of their recently released tenth studio album, “Vol. 10”, Buckcherry brought their tour of the same name to Clearwater on a steamy summer Thursday evening. The venue is nestled in a quaint little section of downtown Clearwater and this show was only my second time seeing a concert there. With a capacity that maxes out under eight hundred, we fans in attendance were in for an awesome and intimate show.

Gunshine was the opening band, and from the description of the band on their website “…A musical love child conceived during the pandemic… this group lays down face-melting guitar solos, catchy riffs, soaring vocals and a lethal rhythm section which all come together to create a sonic boom harkening back to a time when music was raw, blisteringly energetic, and loud. In a world where it is commonplace to play it safe, Gunshine throws the rule book out and plays it straight from the heart, no tricks, no frills, no BS. This is rock-n-roll, the kind you’ve been missing.” I went into this show highly encouraged I was going to discover a new kick ass band.

I came out of the show a new fan of what I thought was a kick ass band! I thought Gunshine was fantastic. Hard driven rock and roll, with a party atmosphere in their songs. My concert going companion Amy and I both felt like we were at a keg party back in the day of our youth listening to this band. Amy said she saw a mix of Vince Neil, Axl Rose, and Sebastian Bach in the mannerisms of lead singer Jordan Benson and I added in Michael Starr of Steel Panther seeing as how Jordan was wearing a Steel Panther shirt. We both had a lot of fun during this set and they got the crowd primed and ready to go for the headliner. They definitely have a new fan in me and I want and need to listen to everything they have released!

With a band name inspired by a drag queen acquaintance of theirs, Buckcherry was formed in 1995 and their debut single literally “Lit Up’ the airwaves upon its release, becoming the band’s only number one song on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The band’s song construction revolves around hard-hitting, emotionally charged rock music with strong hooks, anthemically memorable choruses, and an unapologetic attitude blending elements of hard rock, glam metal, and punk rock. While the band has gone through some considerable lineup changes over the years including a three year hiatus between 2002 and 2005, I felt that the crowd around me was here for the music, more so than who was playing it.

Opening their set with my favorite song of theirs, ‘Lit Up’, the crowd is immediately on their feet singing along with hands and phones in the air. Singer Josh Todd said, “‘Lit Up’ is about the first time I did cocaine. I knew a couple of dealers in high school and had a lot of fun with that until it wasn’t fun anymore – haha!” For me, it is this kind of in your face raw honesty that song tells that I can relate to from experiences in my youth before I ever even knew there was going to be a band named Buckcherry.

While best known for their 2006 song ‘Crazy Bitch’, which Josh said the song was inspired by the 2004 Paris Hilton sex tape. He added, “That kind of sparked the idea. All the guys that we know have had crazy girls like that in their lives, so we wanted to write a song with an idea that people could latch on to.” In this day and age where the smallest thing can be labeled as offensive, I find it interesting that this song seems to bring out more of an into the moment response from the ladies in the crowd more so than the guys. Buckcherry is far from a one hit wonder band as across their nine prior studio albums there are several of their songs that are favorites of mine, which as of late have been in pretty heavy rotation as soon as I knew I would be attending this show.

Heads, hands and phones relented for the second and third song I was able to photograph, which was from the soundboard and that presents its own set of challenges. Before I knew it, my three songs behind the lens came to a completion and I made my way a few rows down from the soundboard and settled into my seat next to Amy to take in and enjoy the rest of the show.

This was my third time seeing Buckcherry. This is a band where their songs connect with the audience and leave a lasting impression. When a band’s songs have catchy, repeatable melodies, it is easy to see where a chorus line can be turned into a verb like statement between friends (I will let that statement go to your own imagination). In a live setting, this band thrives on engaging with Their audience and aims to keep the energy levels high throughout the concert, ensuring there are minimal lulls and downtime between songs.

When the band launched in ‘Too Drunk…’, once again the crowd was fully on their feet and singing along. I thought their song, ‘Let’s Get Wild’ off of the new album was a continuation of the hard driving rock this band has been putting out for almost twenty five years and that song alone made me want to check out the new release. The song ‘Sorry’ was written as an emotional dedication to Josh’s wife, but it is easy to see in the crowd as it was being played how the song has a deep effect on certain couples in attendance and I am sure it is the same every night it is played.

As the main portion of their set came to a close, the question was asked what song did we want to hear and of course the answer is and was ‘Crazy Bitch’ which elicited that eyebrow raising response among some of the ladies within my field of vision. Midway through the song came the band member introductions, which each member took the front of the stage for a brief period while the rest of the band performed an amazingly perfectly practiced electric slide behind the highlighted band member. Not only did that little addition of flair bring a smile to my lips, it was easy to see just how much fun the guys in the band had while doing it! This led to a medley of both ‘Bad Girls’ by Donna Summer which segued into a dedication to Ike and Tia Turner with a few lines from ‘Proud Mary’. The medley merged back into the closing portion of ‘Crazy Bitch’ and then the band thanked us all for attending the show, wished us a good evening and safe travels home.

As with every concert I have ever been to, a portion of the crowd files out either thinking that the show is over or they have heard the songs they came to hear. The band re-emerged from the wings and played a slower song that I was not familiar with and then closed out the show with a cover of ‘Summer of 69’ by Bryan Adams along with another expression of appreciation for coming out to a rock show on a weeknight. It was a fantastic show and both Amy and I thought that the sound engineer for this show needed to be given props because both bands sounded excellent. It was a highly enjoyable show and I encourage anyone on the fence of seeing this tour to get your tickets and go!

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