Music News & Reviews

Trio of acts pumps up the volume at Rupp

Buckcherry, Avenged Sevenfold and Papa Roach

6:30 p.m. March 27 at Rupp Arena. $39.75. (859) 233-3535 or Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000 or

Spring might be here, but expect the musical mood at Rupp Arena on Friday to remain a bit wintry as three West Coast bands from the school of hard rock knocks say their piece and then some.

Technically, the program is co-headlined by Buckcherry and Avenged Sevenfold, two loud and proud outfits from Southern California. That means they alternate each night as to which act gets to close the show. But the bands' stage time, much like their artistic demeanor, is essentially equal.

Buckcherry, which blasted into a post-grunge world more than 13 years ago with bruising, raucous tunes like Lit It Up, is well into its second life as a band. Three of its five original members walked out in 2002 followed, for a time, by singer Josh Todd. But Todd and co-founding guitarist Keith Nelson reassembled Buckcherry three years later, slightly streamlined the band's clenched-fist sound and wound up with a mega-hit album titled 15. The follow-up record, Black Butterfly, shot into the top 10 upon its release last fall.

The Orange County rockers of Avenged Sevenfold steer closer to metalcore, or at least they used to. 2005's breakthrough album, City of Evil, tamed the throaty angst of the band's first two albums, even though the band became a mainstay attraction of events like Ozzfest in ensuing years. A self-titled 2007 recording took a bashing from critics for broader soundscapes that incorporated choirs, brass and strings into some songs. But the recordings still hit big with fans.

Avenged Sevenfold's newest recorded creation can be found on a tough-to-swallow tribute album called Covered. The record features Warner Bros. artists, of which Avenged Sevenfold is one, cutting songs from the label's past. Some of the entries are borderline unlistenable. (Adam Sandler singing — yes, singing — Neil Young's Like a Hurricane? Country-rock star James Otto attempting the Van Morrison soul classic Into the Mystic?) Avenged Sevenfold, though, manages an authoritative take of Black Sabbath's Paranoid. While it's tough not to miss the fuzzed-out madness of Ozzy Osbourne's original, the song is at least a neat fit for Avenged Sevenfold, which pumps the tune full of clear-headed fury.

Papa Roach, which hails from near the San Francisco Bay area, has evolved — well, changed — considerably since its rap-and-roll beginnings. The band's new album, Metamorphosis, which was released Tuesday, sounds weirdly like Motley Crue at times. That makes sense to a degree, as Papa Roach, along with Buckcherry, were part of last year's Cruefest tour.

You'll have to get downtown early to catch every earsplitting moment of the multiact parade: Papa Roach kicks off the evening at 6:30.

Junior Brown

8 p.m. March 28 at The Dame, 367 E. Main St. $15. (859) 231-7253.

It was in spring 1996 that Lexington got its first live look at Junior Brown through a series of shows at the now departed Lynagh's Music Club.

Brown and his band looked as if they had just walked off the streets of Dallas right around the time John F. Kennedy was president (they still do, in fact). The music that followed them had a similar retro fit.

Though loosely categorized as country, Brown's brand of surf, psychedelia, blues and even Hawaiian music — all executed on a double-neck guitar beast of his own design called the "guit-steel" — was a roots stew inspired by everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Ernest Tubb.

Granted, Brown isn't the most prolific of artists when it comes to making records. He hasn't issued a new album since the concert document The Austin Experience in 2005. Similarly, there hasn't been a new studio album to follow 2004's Down Home Chrome.

But Lexington has still championed Brown's music when all it had to cling to were infrequent concert appearances at the old Dame location on West Main or special occasions like the guitarist's opening set for Bob Dylan at Applebee's Park in August 2006.

The faithful will be rewarded this weekend with a Saturday night full of Brown's surf-savvy, honky-tonk twang at the Dame's current home on East Main.

You can pretty much predict the set list: the subtle roadhouse strut of Broke Down South of Dallas, the vintage slow-poke country of My Wife Thinks You're Dead and instrumental covers of Apache and Secret Agent Man.

Despite the familiarity, you can bank on the fact the guit-steel will revved up and ready for action.

Pop fluff

For more than three decades, Glenn Tilbrook bas been one of the most tireless pop voices of the times, whether it was through music with Squeeze co-written by longtime songwriting partner Chris Difford or the more modest confections cooked up in recent years with the post-Squeeze Fluffers. While the alliance with Difford was rekindled in 2008 along with renewed touring alongside a reconstituted Squeeze band, Tilbrook continues to hit the clubs this year with The Fluffers and a pair of new recordings. Last year's digital-only EP, Binga Bong!, was a warm, infectious pop delight that suggests Tilbrook's well of alert melodies might never run dry. A new 14-song Fluffers album, Pandemonium Ensues, is due out April 7. An initial single, the pop-soul flavored Still, is a continuation of the bright pop flow of Binga Bong!, which, in turn, is simply a happy update of the Squeeze sound. But Tilbrook will be beating Pandemonium to the streets this weekend. Along with The Fluffers, he will perform Saturday at The Southgate House, 23 East Third Street in Newport. (8 p.m. $15 in advance, $18 day of show. (859) 431-2201.


Eric Church introduced himself to Lexington audiences two years ago while on tour with Bob Seger. On Sunday, Church — who this week issued his sophomore album, Carolina — will headline his own show at the Singletary Center for the Arts. Jonathan Singleton and the Grove will open. (7 p.m. $13.50. (859) 257-4929.

■ Also returning to town after a lengthy absence will be Vancouver, British Columbia's The Clumsy Lovers. The band's new album, Make Yourself Known, slams Celtic, bluegrass and folk yarns together with rockish glee. You could almost say the resulting music was punkish if the band's performance profile weren't so audience-friendly. The fun ensues Monday at The Dame. (8 p.m. $7.)

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