For those familiar with my writing for Decibel Geek or listeners of the Cobras & Fire Podcast may be aware of my affinity for some of rock’s rising stars like Goodbye June and Badflower. So when it was announced those two bands were embarking on a co-headlining tour across a pretty sizeable stretch of the United States, it should come as no surprise I was pleased to see a tour stop 15 minutes from my front door. This tour appeals to my core. Guitars, melody, and rhythm. And two very different bands that are also a perfect match. One thing I’ve been noticing with a lot of great up and coming rock bands is how they are tossing aside the one size fits all sound geared toward getting played on rock radio. Let Breaking Benjamin and Hinder argue over who sounds more like Three Days Grace. Bands like Goodbye June and Badflower are finding their own sound, their own look, and their own music.
They have been alternating who went first on a somewhat random basis so I didn’t know until I arrived at the Triple Rock Social Club that Badflower would be starting first. This would be their third trip to the area since February and I am happy to say they continue to kick my ass. You can tell a lot about a band by how they react when something doesn’t go quite right. The last two shows in our neck of the woods have been tormenting to singer Josh Katz‘s guitar as he has had some sort of issue that required it to be hauled off stage by a roadie mid-song. And while never ideal, both times he handled it with grace and humility while never breaking from the song. When it comes to saying stupid shit, Gene Simmons is somewhat of an expert. But one of the smarter things he has verbally vomited was what he coined “Play your face”. No matter what goes wrong. A bad note. A broken string. Act like you planned on it happening the entire time. To that Josh played his face while dealing with a malfunctioning guitar.
They may have seemed a little road weary but let’s not forget these are young men barely of drinking age. But once they hit the first note of personal favorite “Soap” until the last chord of “Animal” these young men from Los Angeles remain a bright spot in the future of Rock Music. If you haven’t checked them out, get their EP Temper. Available almost anywhere you can download music. After your initial listen please send your thank you cards to Decibel Geek c/o Bakko.
Hailing from Nashville, TN, Goodbye June are a little less California and a lot more Southern Charm. My first exposure to their live show was last May at Northern Invasion. They were among the many bright spots of the early side stages that day. Admittedly I am still indoctrinating myself in their music but my God. What a fucking killer band. They tour with a full five piece band but they only list Landon Milbourn (Lead Vocals), Brandon Qualkenbush (Rhythm Guitar) and Tyler Baker (Lead Guitar) as official members. I find the harder rocking elements of their sound reminiscent of 80’s band Rock City Angels while they will dabble on the edge of a southern jam band in the vein of the Black Crowes at times as well.
Touring in support of their recently released full-length Magic Valley which features what may be the song of the summer in “Bamboozler”, Goodbye June rocked through a 60-minute offering of their blend of southern rock and blues. Singer Landon Milbourn has a voice that can cut through glass at one point before becoming as smooth as it. The two guitar players work in an almost orchestral coordination creating tones that arrange the music that is the backdrop to Landon’s voice. They almost shape the mood of the audience as they bring the room to silent pause with songs like “Fear of Jesus” and get the tits bouncing again with show closer “Oh No”. The perfect punctuation on a fucking killer night of Rock n Roll.
I don’t want my favorite bands to last forever. I want the bands they influenced to take their place. Bands like Goodbye June and Badflower. Millennials get a lot of shit. Yet look at these two bands comprised of Millennials. They aren’t sitting at home waiting for the world to take care of them. They aren’t yelling at their mom with their heads in the freezer that “WE” need more hot-pockets. They aren’t relying on a singing contest on TV to make their mark. They ARE returning to the roots of Rock n Roll to form their foundation. They ARE learning to play their instruments and perform in front of an audience in a way that sustains a career. They ARE writing songs from their view and establishing a sound that doesn’t get lost in the quagmire. And they aren’t the only ones. There is so much great rock music being written and performed by great new bands around this world. As a Gen-Xer, I can attest this generational poo-pooing is nothing new. So Millennials don’t want to eat at Applebees. Fine with me. Applebees sucks. Disparaging the next wave of youth is nothing more than a crotchety snipe hunt. Goodbye June. Badflower. This is your time. Seize it. And for those who doubt me. Catch this tour while you can. Because one two punches like this don’t line up often. Dates run through the end of June.