Buckcherry, ShineDown, and Saving Abel Live

Moline, IL, USA; Tuesday September 16th, 2008

by Paul Hanson

There are at least two tiers in concerts these days. On one tier, you have established bands like Rush that use traditional rock show elements like giant video screens, laser lights, and pyro to compliment their music. On the other tier, you have less-established bands like the three I saw on Tuesday, September 16, 2008, at the iWireless Center in Moline, IL.

buckcherry_200The headliner, Buckcherry, did not have a giant video screen, laser lights, or pyro to compliment their music. Instead, Buckcherry’s Josh Todd used his charismatic approach to singing to win over the crowd. Todd is a mixture of Mick Jagger, Steven Tyler, Vince Neil, and Ozzy Osbourne rolled up into a single lead singer. He struts like he owns the place, making comments about sex between songs, and smiles like he’s a fox in the hen house. If you’re not familiar with Buckcherry’s lyrical content, they sing about sex, drugs, and alcohol. Around here, “Crazy Bitch,” “Lit Up,” and “Too Drunk” have gotten a lot of airplay and, not surprisingly, those songs got the most attention from the crowd. Another highlight was their pseudo-ballad “Sorry,” which brought out all of the cell phones and lighters in the less than half-capacity audience. Shoved into the headlining spot because Avenge Sevenfold dropped off the tour due to lead singer vocal issues, Buckcherry adopted their stage show to act as if they should have been the headliner in the first place.

The same can also be said of ShineDown, the band that played immediately before Buckcherry. This was the second time I’d seen this band and, from Memphis in May 2004 to Moline, IL, 2008, the band has matured immensely. There was a calmness over the band as they play their material. They were seasoned and receptive to the crowd. They were not afforded as much room as a co-headliner would have earned so, for at least this tour, they are an opener. The band started out with the frantic “Devour” and highlighted their set with “I Dare You,” “Second Chance,” and “Fly From The Inside.” Lights flashed and shone on the band and matched the band’s intense musical performance.

I walked into the arena as the lights went down for the second band on the bill, Saving Abel. Barely allotted enough room to pace the stage without tripping over each other and without a riser for their drummer, Saving Abel made me a fan. The only songs I knew were “New Tattoo” and “Addicted,” but it didn’t really matter. Their lead singer talked about how “before we did this rock and roll thing, I worked at Wal-Mart.” He talked about how he appreciated being where he was at and, honestly, I believed him. I found their material to be not overly complex but with just enough hooks and changes to make the music interesting. I would like to see this band again on their next tour. It felt like I was watching a band in a bar instead of in an arena because of the low dough spent on the show’s production.

What was very refreshing about all three of the bands I saw at this concert was the lack of bombarding the audience with traditional rock concert crap. Sure, each band asked us if we were having a good time in their own way, but each also made their mark on the audience through their musicianship. Granted, none of these bands are going to challenge anyone as being technically superior to anyone else. These three bands were kind of like AC/DC in the sense that as they performed, they nailed their changes and individual parts perfectly, and all three bands played their guts out and left it all on the stage. I walked out of the iWireless Arena impressed.

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