I’ve got one thing I’d like to say upfront about the Jägermeister Music Tour, which brought The Damned Things, All That Remains, Hellyeah, and Buckcherry to Louisville on Wednesday, February 9th: “I’m glad it came, and I’m even more glad it’s over!” And I could careless if I ever see another metal show again, but I’m sure this won’t be the last because I just love observing the debauchery that goes along with these shows, just as much as you love reading about it.
And while the rest of the throngs of fans who packed in Expo 5 to near capacity, I’m sure they were praying to porcelain gods come the next morning. Jägermeister’s biggest contribution to the tour I suppose. Me? I’m just glad to have made it out alive, in one piece, not physically assaulted, with my camera in-hand, memory in-tact, and coherent enough to sum up the experience. No Jägermeister for me. Been there. Done that. No thanks.
One thing about metal shows these days is that you get an overdose of virtually anything you’d expect to get an overdose of. It’s a complete f**king annihilation and assault on all of your sensory preceptors, your liver, and sometimes your patience. There is too much booze, too little free space, too many decibel level breaches, too much visual stimulation (you know what I mean), too much temptation, too many incomprehensible vocal onslaughts, and too many crazy neanderthals running around acting like drunken monkeys. But that’s OK. That’s what makes it a metal show to begin with and that is exactly what everyone came here to engage in on this night. Speaking of which, Chad Gray, lead vocals for Hellyeah, while onstage, declared “This sh*t is f**kin therapy.” My guess is he wasn’t talking about Jägermeister in this instance, but then again you never know.
The Damned Things - Photo by Jason Ashcraft
Leading off the night was The Damned Things, a hard rock super-group consisting of members from Every Time I Die, Fall Out Boy, and Scott Ian from Anthrax. They’ve got an interesting sound, which isn’t as metalish as some might expect, but definitely a summation of who is in the band. While their set wasn’t necessarily aw-inspiring, given the talent within the band, it definitely wasn’t anything to grumble at either, although I think they will continue to get better if time allows it. It’s gotta be hard to keep a band together like this with all the other projects they may or may not be involved with.
All That Remains - Photo by Jason Ashcraft
All That Remains, an intense death metal act was up next. Now, I admit, I missed most of their set. But for good reason. The University of Louisville basketball team was in OT with Notre Dame on the road. And when Louisville Basketball is on TV, nothing else much exists. Sorry folks, I would’ve liked to have caught more of the musical ferocity that ATR demonstrated in their opening song, but the timing was just bad.
Hellyeah - Photo by Jason Ashcraft
Next came, what would turn out to be, the climax of the entire night - another supergroup - Hellyeah. Now for those of you that have lived in a cave the last four or five years, Hellyeah is a masterful concoction of former members from Pantera, Mudvayne, Damage Plan, Rebel Meets Rebel, and Nothingface. Once Hellyeah took the stage, they owned it. The crowd responded to almost every note and word coming lead vocalist Chad Gray’s voice. Drummer Vinny Paul also took a moment to make a memorial shout-out to former bandmate, the late “Dimebag” Darrell Abbot, much to the audience’s appeasement.
Chad Gray of Hellyeah - Photo by Jason Ashcraft
Hellyeah electrified the audience - most of which spent the entire time moshing and crowd surfing - with their southern-metal style of rock-n-roll. They only slowed the musical pace down once with their hit single and sing-a-long favorite “Alcohualin Ass.” Hellyeah, hands-down, no questions asked, gave the best performance of the night. They basically proved that they should be headlining the damn Jägermeister Music Tour if you ask me.
Josh Todd & Jimmy Ashhurst of Buckcherry - Photo by Jason Ashcraft
So, by the time Buckcherry made it to the stage, they had big shoes to fill with what Hellyeah just brought before them. The bar was definitely raised, and I don't mean the one that the Jägermeister was coming from. On top of that, Expo 5, for some reason, had a noticeably smaller audience by the time Buckcherry made it to the stage. But, Buckcherry brought out their classic high-energy unique style of hard rock-n-roll to what was still a large crowd that hung around for them, and delivered a much-anticipated and sought-after performance.
Buckcherry - Photo by Jason Ashcraft
Josh Todd and company spent the entire set dancing around on stage and shedding another article of clothing as each song concluded. They took their audience on a ride through most of the music that made them who they are including “Sorry,” “Lit Up,” “All Night Long” and closed out the night with a rendition of “Crazy Bitch” mixed with some sampling of a few cover songs. No encore song though after that once the stage went dark.
In a recent interview before the show, I asked Josh Todd what Louisville should expect from a Buckcherry show. His response: “High energy. Low I.Q.” Well, Josh. Mission accomplished.
** Jason Ashcraft is a freelance music writer who focuses on Kentucky's original music scene. Visit his blog at www.LouisvilleScuttlebutt.com