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September 19, 2007

9/17: Buckcherry @ Hard Rock Cafe, NYC

Encore Blog...Rev up your engines!

“Excuse me sir…can I sit on your bike?” asks the 5’1, four-eyed English teacher. Forget fancy car shows and pimped out sedans. Four wheelers are for wussies! Monday night, Broadway’s Times Square was lined with the sweetest rides in town for Bike Night at the Hard Rock Cafe. Bikers from all over rode in to show off their choppers, compare chrome jobs and above all else, rock out to hard core L.A.-based band Buckcherry. 

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(Ross's competition)

To say I’m not much of a biker chick is an understatement. I owned leather pants once in my life, probably back in 1996 when I also thought putting my hair in hot rollers was stylin’, but ultimately came to realize that neither was a look I could pull off. And the closest I ever came to a tattoo was getting my hand henna painted down in the West Village on some incense-infused street corner. But, when Billboard asks if you’re able to cover one last show, you definitely don’t hesitate…and you definitely don’t care if it’s your favorite band playing or one you know absolutely nothing about. You’ll blog about the Wiggles if it means keeping your pro bono night job for just a little bit longer. So upon telling Billboard I was on board for the Buckcherry show at Hard Rock (though not revealing to Ross what we were seeing until showtime), I charged up my LG, did a little I-search about the artist(s) in question and stuffed my complimentary black backpack with an extra black and white marble notebook floating around my classroom. Hey, someone might as well use it!

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If teaming up with Billboard this summer has taught me anything, it’s that I’m way more versatile in my musical tastes than I ever thought I was (or than others sometimes accuse me of being). Out of the 21 shows/events I’ve covered, I can honestly say there’s never been one that I didn’t walk away from feeling either awestruck or enlightened by…those positive feelings only reinforced when trying to relive and then convey them to others through my writing. I was only slightly freaked out when I read that Buckcherry was hard rock/alterna metal…I can hang with the big boys!  The fact that AOL music compared them to both Korn and Bret Michaels concerned me a bit more. What was this…Head Bangers’ Ball meets The Bachelor? Regardless of whether or not Buckcherry blasted out on acoustic or electric guitar, I held fast to the notion that a good live show is a good live show, no matter what the genre.

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If there was any hesitation in my head as to whether or not I wanted to cover this show, the fact that it was in part a charitable event for September 11th victims quickly convinced me that I had to go…despite seeing double from a round of last minute late night blogging less than 24 hours prior. During the night, the Hard Rock and Indian Larry Legacy (Brooklyn-based builder of custom hand-crafted choppers) were said to be making a generous donation to the night’s benefiting charity, September’s Mission, an organization that supports the development of a memorial park on the former World Trade Center site. Together with Voices of September 11th,  they are working towards creating a 9/11 Living Memorial, which will be a permanent digital archive documenting the lives and stories of those lost on September 11th. Early in the night, before the band even took the stage, a sizable check for $25,000 was presented “to help remember” the victims of 9/11.

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The crowd went nuts when Buckcherry, “bringing back what rock and roll is all about,” stormed onto the stage. Raging fans flew their fists in the air, front rowers looked like their heads were literally banging on the stage, and in true R&R fashion, girls were being pulled off the stage (I tried to hold myself back to let the true fans get their shot at an up close and personal experience…don’t want to be too greedy now). It took me a song or two to really get into it, preferring gentler (relatively speaking) power ballads like “Everything” and “Sorry” (off new release 15) to the heavier, more scream-laden songs like “Porno Star.” I like when I can understand what the band is singing about, and the former tunes definitely prove that underneath his shirt of tattoos and often roaring vocals, Josh Todd definitely has an incredible voice filled with passion and harmony. That being said, it’s likely that Todd’s fiery energy and sound (as well as that of his band mates) is what gets their fans going…and rightly so.

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Though Buckcherry might be too hard for me in terms of musicality (I think my ears were ringing louder after the first 3 songs than at all my concerts put together), I can’t say I wasn’t floored by their totally-tear-it-up performance. Xavier Muriel is insane, and if you look up the definition of “rock star drummer” in the dictionary, you’ll likely find a picture of him with his arms flailing all over the place and his long dark hair blowing in the wind. This was my first hard rock concert and I think I can safely say that I’m starting to “get it.” The intense music and energy from the band producing it (or at least in Buckcherry’s case) is contagious and cathartic at the same time. I mean sometimes, you just want to rock! Obviously these guys know how to do just that, because not just any band gets to stay on Billboard's top 200 for over 72 weeks...and rack up 2 Grammy nods. If I had to choose 1 signature song from the night, it would have to be "Crazy B*tch," which is a super high energy, thunderous tune that revs up even the coolest of biker dudes. You can hear hints of Steven Tyler on this one, but Todd can definitely wail way louder and harder. In truth (and perhaps somewhat ironically), I found it refreshing to be hit with Buckcherry's louder, rocks you to the core music. Sometimes you need something a bit more intense than an unplugged jam session, like a piercing guitar riff or thunderous drum beat. For those of you who like your music served up raw but still real (not just screaming and banging to see who can do it the loudest), definitely check out Buckcherry. "Everything" and "Sorry" have already made it onto my iPod!

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Comments

Howard Meiner

Buckcherry? Sounds like a new Snapple drink.
As usual, fine photos to go with a terrific blog. And that fine picture of you with that biker friend...wait...is that your Dad still wishing for a Harley?

Reid E.

Nice review.

Lauren

What a hottie! Was Ross jealous? You are so wrong about the hot rollers and leather pants! :-) Again, sounds like a very memorable experience!

Mat

Back in the days of buying CD's for 1 song I did just that with Buckcherry. Lit up is a great song and with that said I am really glad that nowadays we can download just one song. How was Lit Up live?

Lauren Ainsworth

Sounds like a great night... Bring back the rollers!

Sarge

that looks like a crazy show. thanks for the pictures and glad you had a good time.

Melissa

Love the picture of you with the Biker!

Kathleen

Sounds a bit too intense for my ipod...but thanks for the music suggestion!

Emily

I'm placing bets you weren't the only English teacher there. Nice review :)

Gilbert

Hi Leslie,
Forget the review. What do your kids think about their biker babe teacher/music reviewer?
Gilbert

Lara

great review.

qponqueen

You sure your not a biker chick? You look pretty good sittin' on that Harley. Are you sure this is the last one??????? Good luck

Ross

I want a bike.

Laura

Love love love the pic of the bikes and you and the biker dude. Gonna miss your blog, Leslie. You should keep it up and keep us in the rock n roll loop! :) Rock on, sister!

Kolin

fun read...i enjoyed your candidness. you def have a fun style of writing! i'm a huge fan of "hard rock" shows, so i recommend checking out many more. i can def offer up suggestions - many much better than Buckcherry. :-P

p.s. that dude is hotter than Ross...i say dump the loser. BELIEVE IT!

Steph

Definitely looks like a different concert to say the least. Dig the bike though, it's a good look, I think you should stick with it!

Cuz2B

Nice ride! That picture needs to be framed.

Cuz

The best part was that is was a benefit.

Randi

Did you at least get a ride around the city on one of those bikes. I only know who Bret Michasel is now from Realty TV so I have an idea of how heavy this rock music can be. Rock on!

Jason

Oh how I want a bike!

idnar nomis

Not my type of music but your blog kept my interest and the pictures are great.

Jaimee

Les I think it's great that you've welcomed a new world with open arms - harley's and hogs and tunes in Time Square... must have been surreal!

laurie

I am not embarrassed to say I have black leather pants and hot rollers, just waiting to be Olivia Newton John for Halloween one of these days.

jazzwalk

I've always felt that I was not cool enough to ride a bike...now i'm sure.

Jodi

I love the line about the marble notebook! I enjoyed reading your blogs and will miss living vicarously through you. Thanks for all the great writing.

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