Sunday night at WorkPlay in Birmingham was an intimate showcase of legitimate talent. Badflower and Goodbye June hit the stage to show us, what one can only hope, is the future of the rock scene.
Badflower is a four piece out of L.A. that has been busy making their rounds all over the country. They returned to WorkPlay for a second time after their last run five months ago with Pop Evil. Much of the crowd were returning fans from that very performance, myself and photographer Jessica Wallace included. This second round solidified what was already suspected. Badflower is no flash in the pan or fluke; highly expressive and mobile on stage, the band makes for one hell of a set. A charismatic and impassioned performance leads to magic on the stage.
Badflower delivers a strategic set list of uppers and downers that will do anything but get you down. Starting with anthems like "Drop Dead", "Soap" and "White Noise" make the softer tones of "Jester" and "Heroin" reel in that gut wrenching emotion. You are inevitably thrown for a sinister loop as you soak in the dark lyrics of "Mother Mary". Vocalist Josh Katz knows how to tell a compelling story and his eyes hold you transfixed. Lead guitarist Joey Morrow brings out such beauty and depth during each piece, a soulful mourn during "Let the Band Play".
Birmingham was the band's 2nd to last stop of the tour. They head back home to L.A. this week. Rest well boys, then come back, because we're ready for more.
Goodbye June comes by the way of Nashville and delivers to the world a fresh and interesting take on southern rock. The band keeps family close with its trio of cousins along with their bassist and drummer. The band gained much exposure from the use of their ballad "Darlin" on the hit TV show The Vampire Diaries this past year.
"Darlin," a departure from their set's style, is a slow building piece of art. Because, what is art, if not something that sends chills down your spine and holds tears captive on your eyelashes? The choral breakdown at the end of the song, what I naively thought to be an effect for the music video only was performed live and left me paralyzed inches from the stage.
Songs like "Daisy" not only show the vast vocal range into the upper register by Landon Milbourn but as well as guitarist Brandon Qualkenbush. The vocals are harmonious and well executed while appearing effortless by both performers. Goodbye June is revitalizing the rock genre with older 80s rock influences for a modern fan base. Similar to how bands such as Velvet Revolver and Slash's backing band, Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators did nearly a decade ago.
Goodbye June closed out the night with their high energy track "Oh No". The band provides a driving force for the vocals, a nice mix of clarity and screams. Throughout the set Landon is frequently seen fervently keeping time and adding an extra element to the band with use of his tambourine. I never knew I could admire or envy a tambourine up until now! No longer will it be thought of as just a gimmick to stick a pretty girl on the stage.
Make sure to check out Goodbye June's full-length album "Magic Valley" along with Badflower's EP "Temper". Bands like these are the reason the live music scene will never die out. Don't bother to come looking for me anytime soon. I'll be lost in the music and thoughts of their hair.