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Artist: Buckcherry, The Treatment, Rubikon

Venue: London, Islington 02 Academy

Date: 2nd February 2024

'Yes, the main frontman was not at full vocal capacity tonight, but even taking that into consideration, he was still twice the frontman most people will ever be and I’d rather see Buckcherry on an off night, than most bands, period.'


@ Dawn Osborne
@ Dawn Osborne

Openers Rubikon from Boston, Massachusetts started off quite Nu Metal style with Doomy riffs, making an effort to pull their knees up high and swagger like Rappers, although the music is pretty straightforward Rock. Their singer looks similar to a modern day Tracii Guns and moves a little like Tony Wright of Terrorvision. His voice is decent enough, although he struggled at times to be heard above the band tonight. They got a pretty good reaction, with the crowd happy to clap upon command, and total buy in when he explained that his mum has Alzheimer’s and he asked the crowd all to shout hello to her on a video taken with his phone. As the set goes on, the material gets a bit more Southern Rock. and if the Poison and Led Zep T-shirts on stage are anything to go by, they have more of a Classic Rock heritage than the initial songs suggested. Final track ‘Lose It All’ has a really catchy chorus, as if it is an older song which has had some nineties, shouty-style vocals added to refresh it for 2024.

The Treatment continue to evolve, tonight being more AC/DC-like than I ever remember them before, but importantly, they have retained the attack instinct on stage that gives them a justifiable reputation for being a young energetic band, great at crowd engagement. Plus, the solos have that Angus Young tone, shining above the songs and absolutely hitting the spot with emotion, vibrancy and fluidity. Vocalist Tom Rampton confidently bigs up the crowd with his arms and gets them clapping and singing so loudly that it must have given Buckcherry a great feeling backstage that vibes were high. The Treatment must have got heavier, as final and older song ‘Get The Party On’ seemed a little light compared with the rest of the set of newer material.

Buckcherry had to cancel/postpone a couple of shows earlier in the tour due to frontman Josh Todd getting a chest infection, and it is testament to his never say die attitude that the show tonight went ahead. Of course, soon as he starts singing on opener ‘Lit Up’ the effect on his voice is apparent, but just like another great frontman Michael Monroe, who I have also seen play a show with a lost voice (much more serious that tonight’s), Todd’s sheer presence and professionalism meant that I soon stopped comparing the show tonight with his voice at full capacity, and began to simply just enjoy myself. Sparring and dancing from the off, his illness had zero effect on his usual energetic physical performance: dancing, jumping, punching and sliding, there was no diminution in his energy or determination to give 100%. The show was not cut short at all, taking in the full set from dates earlier in the tour. Further, although his voice was not at its full power, and he had to cough between lines on tracks like ‘So Hott’ and appeared to be in pain at times, he was still able to carry a melody, particularly at the lower registers, and by the time he got to ‘No More Lies’ and ‘Ridin’’ his usual voice began to be more discernible.

By ‘Porno Star’ (dedicated to Peter North, who I had to Google, but perhaps I have led a sheltered life) the adrenaline had well and truly started to kick in and the gig became like a party to me, not least because I had a ringside seat as Stevie D. the guitarist summoned me to be in the pit to shoot the whole set. By the screams from the audience I am not the only one who is having a ball. When the high notes in the Bryan Adams’ cover ‘Summer Of ‘69’ are a bit of a challenge, the rest of the band and the audience helped out. I remember lovin’ the ballad ‘Pain’ and I don’t remember if all the notes were hit perfectly or not: that ladies and gentlemen is Rock ‘n’ Roll with the show going on, come hell or high water. ‘Let’s Get Wild’ begins to ramp up the energy with a solo with particularly beautiful tone from Stevie D. The energy got higher with big hit ‘Sorry’ and ‘Gluttony’, with the audience now loudly singing along without being asked. ‘Good Time’ from the new album appropriately followed. A medley of ‘Crazy Bitch’, ‘Sex Machine’ and ‘Irresistible Bitch’ ensued, and I do believe Todd’s voice sounds pretty much recovered.

Introductions of the band, guitar and bass solos and the famous Buckcherry synchronised side to side slide, lead to ‘Proud Mary’ to finish the main set, with ‘Shine Your Light’ and an energetic version of ‘Say F*ck It’ as an encore. A scenario that would have defeated most bands and frontmen was well and truly pulled off. As I was leaving I heard absolutely no complaints.

Yes, the main frontman was not at full vocal capacity tonight, but even taking that into consideration, he was still twice the frontman most people will ever be and I’d rather see Buckcherry on an off night, than most bands, period. I still went home on a high. While part of me is concerned for Todd that it might not be great for recovery from a chest infection to do one full on Buckcherry gig, never mind several (most people couldn’t manage the same performance if they were fit and well) I would have been disappointed if they had cancelled. It was what it was, AND a kick-ass Rock ‘n’ Roll start to my year.


Review & Photos: Dawn Osborne





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