They just don’t make rock stars like Josh Todd anymore. Whether that’s to be lauded or lamented is open to debate. Veering from charismatic crowd pleaser to clichéd caricature of his former self, the tattooed beat messiah helmed a typically manic clusterf**k of a Buckcherry show. And it went down an absolute treat.
If the outrageous posturing adds to the underlying sense of parody then at least Todd’s consistent. A committed devotee to rock and roll’s fabled excess – if all things were equal then this man out of time deserved to be strutting his stuff during hair metal’s hedonistic late 80s peak – his sense of duty as a full-blooded entertainer remains reassuringly undiminished.
It’s impossible to take your eyes off one of the most intoxicating performers on the live music scene and that’s even before he’s whipped off his shirt to reveal that infamous ink.
At times it felt as if the edge has been taken off the snarling, grating, vocal rasp that underpinned Buckcherry’s finest moments back in the day. But almost 25 years after California’s self-styled anti-heroes burst onto a grunge-infected scene, Todd has somehow retained the ability to blast out a raw and raucous rock and roll anthem and convince a Tuesday night crowd on Tyneside that he really means every word.
Of course, this being a Buckcherry show, many of those words consisted of four letters and were far from family friendly. “Do you like smoking pot and sucking c**k,” Todd casually asked the assembled throng and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority appeared to enjoy both pursuits. Surrounded by kindred spirits, carried away on an air of youthful escapism, the beaming singer launched headlong into another frenzied salvo of sweet and sour musings related to love, loss and…f***s.
The anti-establishment ‘Somebody F***ed With Me’ has the potential to alienate huge swathes of the Buckcherry crowd. Lawyers, teachers, parents, the media and more are in the line of sight as Todd shoots down anyone and everyone who might question his mantra and criticise his ambition. It sounds like the anthem of a misspent adolescence and yet two years shy of 50 Todd just about pulled it off. He just about always does.
New tune ‘Back Down’, from forthcoming long player ‘Warpaint’, demonstrated all the hallmarks of classic, unabashed Buckcherry. Fierce and unforgiving, it’s yet another antagonistic call to arms and the perfect accompaniment to back catalogue classics ‘Lit Up’ and ‘It’s A Party’.
Big hits ‘Sorry’ and ‘Crazy Bitch’ still serve as a telling reminder that when Todd and co. do happen upon a killer riff and a catchy chorus their ability to fine tune the perfect slab of commercial hard rock is peerless. The latter set the seal on a night of unbridled abandon and if style frequently trumped substance then who gave a f**k? Nobody. This was Buckcherry, after all.
Photography courtesy of Sam Wall