Kid Rock and Buckcherry deliver raucous show to packed crowd at Huntsville's Von Braun Center
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By Matt Wake | email@example.com al.com
on February 25, 2013 at 1:55 AM, updated February 25, 2013 at 7:12 AM
Kid Rock performs at the Von Braun Center stop of his "Rebel Soul Tour." (Eric Schultz | firstname.lastname@example.org
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- "What do you say we head down to redneck paradise?" Kid Rock asked his Von Braun Center audience a few songs into his Feb. 24 Huntsville show.
The rock-rap-country star then proceeded to take them there. Kid Rock and his super-tight, 11-piece backing band Twisted Brown Trucker launched into a rollicking version of the honky-tonk song "Redneck Paradise," a cut off Rock's 2012 "Rebel Soul" LP.
While Kid Rock will probably never be big with Velvet Underground or Shins fans, to Hooters waitresses and Axe-Body-Spray-wearing Joe Six-Packs he is Elvis. The Von Braun Center show was packed to the rafters. And after Kid Rock and his band left the stage following their first encore, an eyebrow-singeing performance of the thrash-rap track "Bawitdaba" from his 1999 breakthrough LP "Devil Without a Cause," the Huntsville crowd screamed the loudest I've heard a rock audience scream in a very long time, beckoning their hero to return.
Eric Schultz | email@example.com Kid Rock is blown into the air as the set opens as he performs during the 2013 Rebel Soul Tour in the arena at the Von Braun Center Sunday, February 24, 2013. (Eric Schultz / firstname.lastname@example.org)
Kid Rock Rocks Rocket City 02.24.13 gallery (21 photos)
Which he did. Kid Rock, who is from the Detroit area, and Twisted Brown Trucker re-emerged in matching gold-sequin jackets. They performed "Happy New Year," a swaying "Rebel Son" cut in which the singer promises to straighten up his act on New Year's Day – following, of course, a bourbon-soaked (one of the tour's sponsors is the Jim Beam bourbon Devil's Cut) New Year's Eve. The "Happy New Year" lyric "Let's Get S--- Faced" was projected on large video screens above the stage. The dude in front of me didn't need this incentive. He'd passed out drunk about halfway through the show and started throwing up as Kid Rock and company drew their finale to a close as confetti and balloons fell from the ceiling.
(Kid Rock fans are not a boring lot. I ran into at least two of them that had obviously dressed and styled themselves to look exactly like the singer, and were posing for numerous cellphone photos with other well-buzzed devotees amid the black-T-shirted and mini-skirted throng.)
Since initially emerging in the late-90s as a post-"License to Ill" rapper ( his rapping vocal tone is extremely indebted to the Beastie Boys' late MC, Adam Yauch), Kid Rock, now 42, has over time shifted towards a sound more influenced by country, Southern rock and gospel. And he's actually pretty great at this. "Only God Knows Why" and "Born Free" were anthemic in Huntsville. The "Rebel Soul" jam "Chickens in the Pen" pushed things into more of a funky blues shade, and if The Black Keys did this song, your hipster cousin would have it on their next playlist. Ditto the ballad "Picture."
Kid Rock's singing voice is a craggy as a Motor City sidewalk, but he hit damn near every note at the Von Braun Center and did so with soul, evoking Chitlin Circuit vocalists of the '60s. Clad in a black tracksuit-meets-country-and-western-shirt getup, shades, goatee and hat, Kid Rock remains rock-star lean, and he frequently twirled his wireless mic up in the air and caught it mid-song.
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Buckcherry opens for Kid Rock at the Von Braun Center. (Eric Schultz | email@example.com)
Los Angeles quintet Buckcherry opened the show. They scored plenty of applause themselves, and the arena was already three-fourths full during their set, which was heavy on scuzzy AC/DC, Aerosmith and Guns N' Roses style rock. Buckcherry spiced their set by performing snippets of classics, including Kool & The Gang's "Ladies' Night," The Rolling Stones' "Miss You" and Led Zeppelin's "In My Time of Dying," before launching into their own modern rock hits. Guitarist Keith Nelson was stellar. He played excellent blues-metal solos on a series of Les Paul guitars. Rail-thin and neck-to-toe-tattooed frontman Josh Todd prefaced their wah-wah laden 2006 hit "Crazy B----" by asking the crowd "How many crazy b----es in here?" From the volume of the female screams responding to Todd's question, there were several thousand crazy b----es in the Von Braun Center Propst Arena.
Eric Schultz | firstname.lastname@example.org Buckcherry performs at the at the Von Braun Center Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 in Huntsville, Ala. (Eric Schultz / email@example.com)
Buckcherry Plays The VBC 02.25.13 gallery (12 photos)
In the VBC mezzanine, merch tables sold souvenirs including a $250 leather Kid Rock "Rebel Soul" motorcycle vest and $20 black panties emblazoned with the phrase "Cucci Galore," a song title from Kid Rock's latest disc.
After an intermission following Buckcherry's set, Kid Rock burst onto the stage after being shot out of a stage-floor trap-door, pyro punctuating his arrival. During his two-hour show, he restructured some of his hits, such as a twangy "Wasting Time" and adding a Bob Seger-ish intro (complete with kettle drums and Rhodes electric piano) to the braggadocio hip-hop of "Cowboy." Lest you forget his rap beginnings, at one point Kid Rock got behind his DJ's turntables to put on an impressive display of scratching techniques, cutting up tunes including David Bowie's "Fame."
One of the few low-points of the show was the song "All Summer Long," which shamelessly apes both "Werewolves of London" and "Sweet Home Alabama." The biggest male solo rock star of his era, Kid Rock is obviously gifted in his ability to pen arena-worthy hits. He doesn't need to nick someone else's.
But the VBC crowd ate up "All Summer Long" like it was momma's gravy, singing along with the tune's nostalgic, teenage-wasteland lyrics word for word. Judging from the audience's on-their-feet joy during that song and the rest of Kid Rock's earnest, sweaty and well-executed set, the 10,000 or so in attendance definitely got their money's worth. But many of them won't be done paying for this Kid Rock show until the next day's hangovers are gone.