Skid Row & Buckcherry

The Fonda Theater – Hollywood, CA

Saturday, December 9th, 2023

Review/Pics: Will

This is what I’d call a very uneven type of evening.  First off as a photographer when a band goes on and the lighting is the equivalent of a dull, red bulb, one’s mood tends to get a little damp.  After all, as important as a review is, I love having pictures to help tell the story of the evening. But hey, that’s my problem and I take it as a challenge. Also, whoever was sound mixing this show was not having a good night.  The bands would sound great and then all of a sudden a guitar solo was ripping your ears off. (And not in the good way).  Sometimes the bass got cranked up to a clatter and the acoustic intro to “I Remember You” had some people sticking their fingers in their ears. But I (kind of) digress…

Another thing I wasn’t aware of is that during this Buckcherry/Skid Row stint, that each band would only be playing for an hour each. Now, an LA crowd on a Saturday night tends to need a bit more foreplay to get them to fever pitch.  The opening act was… well…they were there.  That more or less made Buckcherry the opening act of the night.  Even with a compressed set time, Buckcherry were still intent on giving their all and firing up the crowd and they did just that.

Josh Todd danced his ass off across the stage, and as usual his shirt was discarded to display his fully tatted torso. Stevie D. was looking more dapper than ever.  Billy Rowe (Jetboy) has slotted in nicely on rhythm guitar and makes a great addition to the band. Francis Ruiz with the solid pocket at the back, and who doesn’t love Kelly LeMieux bouncing around on bass giving the band an extra shot of energy. 

Their set offered most of what a condensed BC setlist should contain kicking off with “Lit Up” and “So Hott” plus they even kicked off the seasonal cheer by throwing in their latest holiday song “Tell ‘Em It’s Christmas“.

I do feel that they were just starting to hit their groove towards the very end of their set.  Even though the fans were there in force, the Fonda crowd finally woke up a bit and found their voice as they got to their final two songs, “Gluttony” and their closer “Crazy Bitch” which was lengthened into a medley that included “Sex Machine” – “Bad Girls” – “Irresistible Bitch” and “Proud Mary“.



I’d been looking forward to seeing Skid Row ever since they announced former H.E.A.T. singer, Erik Grönwall as their new frontman. Having seen Erik with his former band (And catching him doing some nifty “18 and Life” Karaoke on the Monsters Of Rock Cruise), I knew that he could more than handle the Skid Row catalog.  And he does, in spades. 

Skid Row came out with a bang and a chugging riff right into “Slave To The Grind“, and if that doesn’t get your fists pumping, nothing will.  “Big Guns” was up next and that led into their monster hit, “18 and Life” and the first big sing along of the evening.

Erik’s voice sounds very similar to a certain, former singer of theirs who recorded all their classic songs, but the difference now is that Erik can hit all those notes as they were originally recorded. I saw their previous 2 singers (R.I.P. Johnny Solinger and based on his Facebook page, R.I.P. ZP Theart’s career) and I’m happy to say that Skid Row finally have the frontman they deserve.

What’s even greater for the band is they are also pumping out some of their strongest material since “Slave…”.  The newest album, “The Gang’s All Here” is a banger and there is so much great, new material that screams to be showcased.  As I mentioned this was only an hour long set, so a lot of it is going to have to wait for a solo headline slot with more time.  What we did get to hear was latest single, “Resurrected“, “Time Bomb” and “The Gang’s All Here“.  All of which went over gangbusters with the Fonda Crowd.  I can’t wait to get to hear newbies like “Hell Or Highwater“, “Not Dead Yet” and “October Song” live someday.  Also missing from tonight were “The Threat“, “Quicksand Jesus“, “Wasted Time“, “Makin’ A Mess“, “Sweet Little Sister“… I mean a 2 hour, all killer no filler, set is right there for the taking.

But what we did get was all great. The OG’s, “Snake” Sabo, Rachel Bolan and Scotti Hill were in fine form.  Scotti is the most animated on stage and a photographer’s delight. It’s crazy to think that Rob Hammersmith, who dutifully banged away behind the lads all night, has been with the band for almost 14 years now.

But this tour and a lot of the focus is on how Erik would be received.  Early reports from their opening slot on the Scorpions Vegas Residency stint were great, and I can now concur. I’m happy to say that the band look to have a steady, solid path forward.



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