Live Review : Buckcherry + Hoobastank + Adelitas Way @ O2 Ritz, Manchester on February 5th 2019

I may (or may not) have overdone it on the gigs the last few weeks, but it's all been completely worth it. Or so I think. I'm early to the venue and actually kind of queasy whilst I chat with co-headliners Hoobastank (full interview to follow). It dawns on me that I'm run down, juggling work, family and charity commitments. The lethargy has cloaked me by the time openers Adelitas Way take to the stage. My head hurts.

A truly fitting opener for a band like Buckcherry, but sadly not to my own personal tastes (I like goths and industrial and guys who rap). Adelitas Way are a hard rock 4 piece from Las Vegas with a sound not too dissimilar to Red Sun Rising or even Audioslave in some parts. Stand out track of the set is ‘Notorious,  the title track from their 5th studio album.

There is an agonizingly long wait between Adelitas Way  ending and Hoobastank coming on and I am hitting the water hard like a mad bitch in an attempt to feel like an actual human being. It hasn't worked.

Hoobastank bounce onto stage with an energy that seems so far removed from the quiet guys I had been chatting with hours earlier. They open with fan favourite ‘Same Directionwhich goes down a storm with the crowd. Some guy next to me is practically windmilling in delight.

Followed by ‘Out of Control and ‘What Happened To Us?’, Hoobastank played “The Reason album in it's entirety, in homage to the album that brought them their greatest commercial success (I was 16 when that album came out and I remember it being huge amongst my group of friends). The title track obviously stirs up a huge reaction right across the venue, as this is the song everybody knows and loves Hoobastank for. However, my personal favourite has to be ‘Crawling In The Dark’ as its how I personally remember Hoobastank, as a group of guys teetering on the edge of something huge with a sound that wasn't really able to be categorised easily... were they nu-metal? Pop rock? Alt – rock? Who knew. ‘Crawling In The Dark‘ was an anthem over and above anything I felt for “The Reason" and it finished the set beautifully.

Hoobastank played with a crisp and clear sound, Doug still able to sing exactly like he could all those years ago. Whilst the band may have faded from the eyes of the mainstream, they are still held firmly in the hearts of their fans.

Another tediously long wait for headliners Buckcherry, but they swagger on to the stage eventually and kick things off with a hard rock take on Nine Inch Nails “Head like a Hole". Buckcherry are loud, loud, LOUD tonight and I've never known the Ritz bounce so hard. And me and Stewart dancing to Avatar a few weeks ago was pretty damn bouncy.

They smashed out fan favourites such as ‘Lit Up’, ‘Too Drunk To Fuck’, and ‘Say Fuck It, all as rowdy and debaucherous as ever. We were also treated to new songs ‘Warpaint’ and ‘Bent’ from the upcoming album (also called “Warpaint"). Josh Todd oozes charisma, and can also move like Jagger.

Less impressive was an array of technical hitches, and I'm not entirely sure the band could actually hear themselves properly. Todd was flat many times throughout the set, the guitars seeming to rush chaotic and out of sync to the drums here and there. There was a rather stressed looking sound guy up on stage at one point, who fiddled with something and ran back to the sound desk. After such a large gap between Hoobastank  and Buckcherry I would have thought  there would have been enough time to get the set up right. But hey, I'm not a tech person and I appreciate any number of things can go wrong playing live  (see example -  Prodigy -  2005 - Liam Howlett’s laptop switched itself off mid ‘Climbatize’. Awkward!) . I just hope that the kinks are ironed out for the rest of the tour, as Buckcherry are more than capable of bringing one hell of a party to the masses.

Technical issues aside, Buckcherry possess a tenacious energy like it's still early days for them, like they are the new kids to the party. The set finishes with their signature song ‘Crazy Bitch, and I wonder if my ear drums have actually burst. Not the best Buckcherry gig I've been to in all honesty but I put that down to combination of head ache and their dodgy sound. Looking forward to seeing them another time when my soul doesn't feel like it's seeping out my pores.

Until next time...

Words by Sarah Cummings
Photography by Johann Wierzbicki