Buckcherry + Kobra and The Lotus + The Howling @ HMV Institute, Birmingham – 21 November 2012


Review by Peter Keevil with Pictures by Alexx Peace

Tonight is another one of those ‘tour before the full tour’ tours. The ‘please keep us in mind until our new album is out next spring’ tours. So I’m only partially surprised to see this gig in the smaller Library Room of the Institute, but despite the tour’s minimal promotion the room is rammed for openers, The Howling. They are already on stage when I got there and they looked well into it, a mass of black razor-cut hair whipping around stage. The sound is full and suitably fat as The Howling peddle a trashy/low slung rock with trad punk undertones. I’m not quite sure they have their direction sorted yet as songs like ‘Champion’ didn’t quite jigsaw fit with ‘God Save the Queen’ (the Sex Pistols classic) or closer ‘Rock n Roller’. But there was enough they to make me want to seek them out online.

By contrast female fronted power metal outfit Kobra and the Lotus need to shoot their booking agent. Sure, most fans will like a broad spectrum of rock and metal but pitched on the undercard to Buckcherry was just wrong for these guys. Yes, the name stands out as do singer Kobra Paige’s blonde dreadlocks and dream catcher apparel but songs like ‘Welcome to My Funeral’ accompanied with synchronised head banging from the males in the band and twiddly twiddly solos just weren’t right for an audience ready for the debauchery of the Crazy Bitch.

If this tour was an intentional strategic move to widen their reach, then good on them for embracing that however I think it was either a cockup by the agent or an underhand way of keeping the bar busy. Probably both…

Buckcherry are all that I have come to expect, all swagger, sweat and heroin-chic (or their more preferred cocaine). Unfairly labelled as Aerosmith-wannabes they are much more arrogant and in your face than the hip-swivelling Tyler vehicle. The only scarf you see on stage tonight would be gangster-come-Nora Batty-stylee bandana around Josh Todd’s gaunt head.

The Cherries are still burning it hard and real since their ‘comeback’ in 2005. And without a new release to push it’s very much a ‘greatest hits’ package from their five groove-laden albums of Buckcherry, Timebomb, Black Butterfly, 15 and All Night Long.

Guitarist, Keith Nelson looked like a 1940’s fighter pilot with his Dapper Dan hair gel, juxtaposed with Todd’s ADHD, chaos tattooed, adrenaline rush. They kept their set tight and rollin with little crowd interaction aside from a tongue-in-cheek swipe at California legislation to force porn stars to wear condoms – apparently it spoils Josh’s fantasy!

If their forthcoming album, due in Feb 2013, continues on par with the rest of their catalogue, we will still be counting the scratches running down our backs for a while yet.

Setlist: Ridin, Rescue me, All night long, Fall, Everything, Sorry, It’s a party, Next 2 you, Lit up, Slamin, Imminent Bail Out, For the movies, Crazy bitch

Encore: Bliss

And you can see more shots from the show here:


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