I was born in 1984 which is on the cusp of the Generation X - Millennial border. I had an analog childhood and I’m writing this review as a digital adult. Those born in the early-to mid-1960s to the early 1980s had the privilege of growing up during a monumental time in music – a time when music wasn’t manufactured or auto-tuned, but rather a time when passion, even sometimes more so than talent, was the prominent driving force. Enter the Gen-X Summer tour, a carnival of rock music by, you guessed it, Generation X musicians. Headlined by Buckcherry with support from P.O.D., Lit and Alien Ant Farm, this tour was stacked with bands that have made a name for themselves in the rock world. Said Josh Todd, the singer of Buckcherry, “You're gonna get your money's worth on this one. The Gen-X Summer tour is gonna be one to remember for sure. I love these bands. We all came out around the same time exploding onto the scene with great summertime hits and an awesome live show.” And an awesome live show it was at the Amphitheater at Bald Hill in Farmingville, NY.
First up was Alien Ant Farm, who formed in the mid-90s but really made a name for themselves in the early 2000s with their mega hit album ANThology. Still touring with 3 out of 4 of their original members is impressive enough, but what really stands out is their attention to the audience and their ability to have fun on stage. I first saw Alien Ant Farm open for Linkin Park in February 2001 and I immediately became a fan, catching another 4 shows of theirs in 2001 alone. Dryden Mitchell is a unique front man and probably the only person who has perfected the art of snot rockets. Terry Corso is an exceptional guitarist and Mike Cosgrove dominates the drums. Tim Peugh is the newcomer of the band, having joined in 2014, but his eccentric style and tight basslines fit perfectly with Alien Ant Farm. Although they’ve headlined tours of their own, they had a short set as openers but still managed to squeeze in some classics as well as their hits. Opening with "Bad Morning" off of their 2006 album Up in the Attic, they played songs off of three of their albums and what better way to close out their set than with their hit cover of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”.
Bad Morning / Forgive & Forget / Movies / These Days / Lord Knows / Sticks and Stones / Smooth Criminal
Next up were Lit, a band everyone knows but might not know they know despite the fact they’ve technically been around the longest out of all the bands on the bill. Before settling on the name Lit and releasing their first album in 1997, there were different incarnations of the group dating back to 1988 when vocalist A. Jay Popoff was originally the drummer and brother Jeremy Popoff played guitar, while bassist Kevin Baldes also doubled as the lead vocalist. After some adjustments to the group, they settled on A. Jay taking over the lead vocals and have since incorporated Ryan Gillmore on guitar and Evan Kilbourne on the drums. As the band took the stage, YFN Lucci’s “Everyday We Lit” played over the speakers. They set the mood of the night immediately with a cover of Tom Petty’s “American Girl” which got the crowd singing along and inching closer to the stage. A majority of their setlist was from their 1999 album A Place in the Sun but they did manage to squeeze in some newer songs from their 2017 release These Are the Days. One thing I have to hand to these guys was there pure energy on stage. Everyone was zig-zagging across the stage, sharing mics and shredding to the crowd. The highlight of the set was their closer, “My Own Worst Enemy” which is a personal favorite and my go-to karaoke song. That night, I got to sing it along with a crowd full of people and the creators themselves.
American Girl / Zip-Lock / Someday Maybe / Good Problem to Have / Miserable / Four / My Own Worst Enemy
As if the night hadn’t already been amazing enough, up next was P.O.D. (Payable on Death). Another veteran to the game, these guys have been together for 26 years! Cousins Sonny Sandoval (vocals) and Wuv Bernardo (drums) teamed up with Marcos Curiel (guitar) and Traa Daniels (bass) and instituted a unique sound that set them apart from many of the bands that were thriving during the grunge era. Their alternative/rap-metal sound soon found them success as other bands began to thrive during the nu-metal era in the early 2000s. And it was from their 2001 album Satellite that they pulled their opening song, “Boom,” from. The crowd erupted into a frenzy, an energy that had been building up and was finally set free with P.O.D.’s intensity. I’ve seen P.O.D. a handful of times and I’m always impressed not only by their music, but by their message. “Youth of a Nation” was written in response to school shootings (and this song was written in 2001) which is still as relevant today. They’re thoughtful and positive, which are not normally terms you hear describing a rock band. It was fun to hear how the band has progressed throughout the years, as evident in their new song “Southern Cali in my Head” which had a more reggae feel to it, but then they threw down another new track “Rocking with the Best” that was more reminiscent of the P.O.D. I know and made me very excited for their new album. But it was the oldies that got the crowd going. And they reached far back with favorites “Southtown” from their 1999 album The Fundamental Elements of Southtown and again closing with their super hit “Alive” from Satellite.
Boom / Rock the Party (Off the Hook) / Southtown / Soundboy Killa / Southern Cali in My Head / Youth of the Nation / Rocking with the Best / On Fire / Beautiful / Alive
And then it was time. It was time for the band that drew in the motorcycle tail gate parties in the parking lot. The band that personifies American rock. I mean, they have a tambourine! Buckcherry took the stage, Josh Todd (vocals) clad in a leather jacket, fitted black jeans, dark sunglasses and a bandana. He embodied rock and roll and he knew it. They kicked into their 2001 hit “Ridin’” and didn’t look back. While Josh may be the only original member dating back to 1995, Stevie D has been playing guitar with the band for over a decade. Add in Kelly LeMieux (bass) and more recently Kevin Roentgen (guitar) and Sean Winchester (drums) and Buckcherry has never sounded better! Appealing to the ladies in the crowd, Josh and Stevie D ditched their jackets for their tatted chests. Josh danced around the stage while they played hit after hit. They mentioned that a new album was in the works and treated the crowd to a new tune “The Vacuum”. Even though no one knew the words, the crowd danced and swayed to Josh’s voice. Everything was building up to the final song of the night and undeniably their fan favorite, “Crazy Bitch” off of their 2006 album 15. The crowd went nuts and continued to chant for more as they left the stage. And Buckcherry delivered with a 3 song encore including a cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You”. Rock. And. Roll.
Ridin' / Whiskey in the Morning / Slammin' / Carousel / Lit Up / Say Fuck It / All Night Long / Lawless and Lulu / Too Drunk... / Sorry / The Vacuum / Gluttony / Crazy Bitch / Chaos Is The Ladder / Roadhouse Blues / I Will Always Love You
It was an amazing night in Farmingville, in a little amphitheater that most don’t even know exists. I have lived on Long Island my entire life and this is the 2nd time I’ve ever been there, the last time well over a decade ago. I’m glad this venue has revamped itself and if they continue to book musicians like these, they will be a force to reckon with. Kudos to Loudwire for this amazing tour and 104.3 The Shark for hosting the show.
Alien Ant Farm