November 4, 2019 – One of the bright spots in world of Rock these days is the band Badflower. I had them on my list of the 5 best new rock bands earlier this year. Blending a raw intensity with catchy songs; they, along with the new breed of guitar bands such as Greta Van Fleet and Dirty Honey are creating a Rock resurgence. While Greta Van Fleet and Dirty honey are more blues-based, Badflower are straight-ahead rockers with roots in Punk and Hard Rock. With Classic Rock bands retiring or otherwise bringing their careers to a close, bands like Badflower are breathing new life into rock; and not a moment too soon.
A recent appearance at The House of Independents in Asbury Park, NJ showed just how much Badflower has gained in popularity. They have been a support act the last few years, opening for bands like Nothing More and more recently Shinedown. With a string of shows throughout the spring and summer, they felt the time was right to book a series of headlining dates in smaller clubs. Many of these dates in the U.S. sold out; including this one and it was easy to see why.
Singer/guitarist Josh Katz, along with lead guitarist Joe Morrow bring the heat with such rockers as “Soap” and “X ana X.” They feature a twin-guitar attack that provides the basis for their sound. Katz is more than just a rhythm guitarist, though. In addition to laying down the rhythm parts he also joins in two-part harmony with Morrow when the songs call for it. He also takes an occasional solo. Switching between his trusty Telecaster and a Charvel Strat, it’s evident that his playing is as important as his singing. A true professional, he seamlessly battled equipment problems in the beginning of “Soap” as shown below:
“X ana X” is one of my favorite songs of theirs from their recent LP – “OK, I’m sick.” With the irreverence of Punk and the cutting lyrics, it is a rocker with the highest intensity. The guitars drive the song, providing the single-note bottom end rhythm. There’s no solo in this one but it doesn’t need it. Katz and Morrow know how to write a song and only play what’s called for but man, is it good!?!
They have a softer side as well, which comes in handy when you’re playing live. You want to build intensity in the beginning, slow things down in the middle before taking the audience back up towards the end of the show. “Heroin” is a poignant song about drug addiction; showing that there is more to this band than just straight-ahead rockers.
All of this intensity is not without a lot of fun. Josh is a master ringleader. He interacts with the audience in between every song. Reading home-made signs that fans hold up and giving everyone a laugh, he knows how to work a crowd. The band also brought up a fan to join them on guitar, as bands like Foo Fighters and Metallica have done; playing “Animal.” Towards the end of the show, they had a guest singer (Chloe Chaidez from the band “Kitten”) come and join them for “Girlfriend.” She and Katz crowd surfing and hanging from the light towers added to the fun. Drummer Anthony Sonetti even got in a brief drum solo while Alex Espiritu was solid on bass.
This young band is making a name for themselves – giving rock-solid performances and stringing hits along the way. “Heroin” was a number one hit and “Ghost” was a hit with the Youtube and radio crowd.
The bottom line is Badflower are a kick-ass Rock band. If you’re looking for a shred fest, you won’t find it here. If you’re looking for hard rocking songs with solid guitar playing and an energy that is palpable I encourage you to check them out.
Josh Katz – guitar/lead vocals – Gibson SG and Flying V
Joe Morrow – lead guitar/vocals – Fender Telecaster and Charvel Strat.
Alex Espiritu – bass
Anthony Sonetti – drums.
Update: (11/6/2019) Badflower played to an invitation-only crowd at the site of the former CBGB site in New York City on 11/5. The event was hosted by John Varvatos, owner of Star USA Clothing, that is now a storefront at the site. The location was converted to a bar/club for the event and Badflower played an hour-long set. I was there and this was an amazing event. The band mingled with the invitees before the show and I was able to chat with Josh and Joe briefly before the show. They were very gracious and a good time was had by all. It was a night to remember!
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What’s your favorite Badflower song? Have you seen them live?