We stopped by Slidebar in Downtown Fullerton last night to catch Los Angeles locals Badflower put on a set presented by KROQ Locals only. The show was opened up by Ghostel, an Indie pop band who's ace in the hole is their female backup singer with a surprising set of pipes. Next in line was Swimm, a poppy folk rock band, akin to Foals.
The headliners took the stage at 10 p.m. As they dive into their first song, it's clear the singer's microphone isn't working, but fortunately the couple dozen loyal fans in the audience are able to hold down the vocals to "Animal" until it starts working at the top of the first chorus. When it comes to rock n roll, these guys are by no means re-inventing the wheel. They've stuck by the tried and true formula: two guitars, bass and drums. What they lack in memorable verses they make up for on their choruses ...though what is important to note is that the band proves that this formula still works pretty damn well.
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The sonic landscape painted by the band is a marriage of late '90s hard rock with '70s psychedelic rock. (Think Filter meets Black Sabbath). The sound of the band is somewhat enigmatic, being that the songs themselves are unwashed dirty sounding rock 'n' roll, yet the meticulously rehearsed set is so polished it's practically shining. The singer/guitarist (Josh Katz) shifts between a restrained demure croon and climactic outpours of harsh screamed vocals. The verses on their songs seem to trudge along just slow enough to make you uncomfortably anxious for the resolve with the arrival of the chorus, which comes in strides every time. There wasn't any filler. Every song had an entirely infectious groove that got in your head and bobbed it's way out. There also weren't any bells and whistles. No extended self-indulgent guitar or drum solos. Just the occasional lead section and succinctly placed tom fills. Straight to the point, get in get out. The way it ought'a be.
I wouldn't be surprised at all to see these guys blow up in a big way in the next couple years. Their appeal extends pretty far: heavy and dark enough to reach a younger and grungier demographic, with hooks catchy enough to get your mom on the dance floor. (After 1 - 3 drinks, depending on the mom). By the end of the night, I was refreshingly reminded that rock 'n' roll is still alive in it's raw and unmitigated state, when you can get it...and luckily, you can get it in Badflower.