Buckcherry/Backyard Babies Live @ Rock City, Nottingham (UK) - 22nd March 2007

If you could view Nottingham from the air tonight, there's sure to be a bright glittering glow hovering around Rock City. The blend of excitement and nostalgia adds tension to the masses, waiting for two superb rock bands to take to the stage.

About a third of the punters have time warped to 2007 from a Friday rock night back in the early 90s, complete with Pretty Boy Floyd spandex and barely there corsets, while a large collection are clearly loyal fans of the Babies sporting the band trademark on at least one part of their anatomy. Just viewing the almost full venue from the bar makes for an interesting time.

'People like, people like, people us' is blasted repeatedly through the speakers while the Babies amble their way onto the stage, this only adds more intensity and the screams and cheers are euphoric. They blast full steam ahead into the title track of their latest release without a flaw and barely raise a sweat. Dregens playing is faultless; he is a constant whirlwind of energy throughout, with his trademark low slung twirling and his endless teetering on the stage edge raring to get to his adoring audience. His mike takes a battering several times and at one point his madness leaves frontman Nicke Borg spinning! Nevertheless this doesn't mar the singer's performance as they blast through plenty of hits from the past albums and plenty from the present.

There's an amazing contrast between Nicke and Dregens vocals on 'We Go a Long Way Back', you wonder how they discovered this union. 'Minus Celsius' is easily the most anticipated song of the night.

The whole performance leaves you spellbound and pondering the thought of how this band could ever be second place on any bill.
Buckcherry waste no time appearing but unlike the Backyard Babies before them they make nothing of their entrance. The lights come up and vocalist Josh Todd stands quietly by. Of course the audience are howling like there's a full moon and the charming frontman gives only a sly smile, a gentle hint at how pleased he is to be here but it only surfaces a few times during the night.

It's hard to believe how far and how fast this band has come since releasing their third album '15' last year and it could be a hint at why Josh seems to be in some shock at the adoration from the crowd. This guy however is sex on a stick, and if you sellotaped him and guitarist Stevie D together they'd certainly fit through your letterbox, oh hang on, they'd fit through MY letterbox hee hee! Yes there's a lot of sex involved in this bands songs and performance indeed.

It had crossed my mind how a band with so many brazen rocknroll songs would begin their set, it can't have been an easy choice, with so many favourites, but they thrust head first into 'So Far' and there is nothing on this earth that could stop you singing along. It does appear like the beginning (of their new album) and is a very good place to start. There are several very subtle moments that you are overcome with how great a front man Josh Todd actually is. Sleek, cool and confident, a Jim Morrison for the 21st century.

Moving gracefully from one song to another Josh never appears fazed by the lyrics he is singing; 'Porno Star' isn't one of their lightest songs either and manages to make me blush every time I hear it. Tiny Stevie D however loves every word and his face is a picture as he backs up the vocals 'Take Off Your Clothes and Shut the Door', like a true rock star you know he means it. Dirty! However it seems all too easy for these guys, it's hard to tell if they themselves realise how good they actually are. Standing back from the singing crowd and blasting speakers, the quality of sound is amazing and takes your breath away at how perfect the whole image is. The band is always completely in time and tone with one another, every song played true to the recordings, maybe just a little louder, but all this from a line up that has only two original members, the others brought together just over a year ago. An ideal match.

'Crazy Bitch' of course was eagerly awaited and they certainly gave it their all and a little more, in fact they pulled every last dying breathe out of the song, which otherwise could easily of been played again later on after the initial reception it was given. When a song is as popular as this has become, for some inane reason bands think you want to hear every possible version of the song rolled into one, but this becomes a long and painful experience especially when your tottering on high heels and have the very same crazy bitch that they're singing about standing right next to you, slapping you in the face every time one of the band thrust their hips in her direction! Play it and move on to the next one pretty please?

For me 'Everything' truly stole the show. Immaculately played and demonstrating eloquent artistry in the vocals, Josh Todd could just about sing anything and everything. Lead guitarist and founder member Keith Nelson steps forward for a short solo, his fingers flailing up and down his guitar with obvious ease, eyes closed, and his body writhing as if experiencing extreme pleasure.

The majority of their set was clearly aimed at further promoting the already successful '15', so for older fans, some of their classics were missed. Personally I was hoping to hear 'Whiskey in the Morning,' which could have topped the night but we were treated to 'Lit Up' as a finale and that certainly got even the coldest of pulses racing. Sadly there was no encore. After such an exceptional night you'd think the audience would have been crying out for more, but there was a faint whimper by a few and then they were gone…..

by Sharron Grainger

If anybody has any photos from the Buckcherry/Backyard Babies gig and would like to see them in this column, drop me a line @ EMAIL