Badflower at The Machine Shop in Flint, MI

Badflower gives fans a holiday treat of great rock at world-famous The Machine Shop for the Banana 101.5 Holiday Nutcracker.

Badflower from Los Angeles, CA have been riding high this year since the release of their hit album OK, I’m Sick. The album has generated many singles that rose the rock and alternative charts and garnered rave reviews. Having toured endlessly this year with many stops at major festivals, their fanbase has expanded quickly, and they continue to wow fans with their high-energy and emotion-packed sets with songs that take on subjects like depression, bad relationships, anxiety, and politics. The fans tonight are in for a treat at one of the top smaller venues in the country, if not the world. 

The lights dim and messages scroll on a large display behind the drum set. Finally, the band takes the stage and they immediately fire up the crowd, kicking their set off with “Wide Eyes,” a slower song but with a heavy chorus. “x ANA x” finds lead singer/guitarist Josh Katz going a bit crazy as he jumps about the stage and thrashes on his guitar. He even throws in one of his famous back arches that seems to defy gravity. The fans are amped up and loving it and show their appreciation with deafening cheers. They keep it moving with the non-album song “Soap” from 2015 and “White Noise” from the 2016 release Temper.

“Die” is a raucous and distortion-heavy song that takes direct shots at Donald Trump, which might not sit well with some, but you can’t tell from the crowd’s positive reaction. Josh even gets them to join him in putting their middle fingers in the air. Josh spots a fan wearing a Santa hat and gets him to toss it to him and he puts it on. Slowing it down, they play “24,” a rather sad song as far as the lyrics, yet it pulls you in with Josh’s heartfelt delivery. It draws whistles, huge cheers, and the fans wave their arms and put up their horns. It is an early highlight of the show. Another non-album single “Move Me” has Josh once again singing with conviction as the song transitions from strumming guitar to a full-on jam with strobes flashing swiftly. 

Next up are three songs, “Drop Dead,” “Animal,” and “Let the Band Play,” all from Temper. While Josh is the main focal point, the rest of the band are stellar musicians. Guitarist Joey Morrow provides the catchy riffs and soaring leads and solos on many songs and during “Animal” he breaks into a bluesy jam toward the end. To the fans’ delight, Josh climbs out on top of the crowd and hangs from the rafters before dropping on to the crowd and surfing back to the stage. It is definitely one of the highlight songs of the evening. Anthony Sonetti may not have the biggest drum set, but he plays it powerfully, often crashing the cymbals with authority. Bassist Alex Espiritu lays down a heavy groove that is dialed in tight, actively whips his hair about, and seems to be having a blast throughout the set as he jumps, spins and kicks.

The fans are a bit wild tonight and a bra makes its way to the stage, which Josh puts on and makes some jokes. Josh then starts singing a brief snippet of Oasis’s “Champagne Supernova” and immediately the crowd sings loudly and even does parts without Josh before it transitions into an older song, “Mother Mary.” They finish it with the rest of “Champagne Supernova” including some inspired jamming by Josh and Joey. Their latest #1 hit “Jester” has the crowd moving and singing along once again. They follow it up with a cool cover of Billie Eilish’s “Bury a Friend” that has the whole band thrashing about in parts. “Girlfriend” closes out the main portion of their set and features a killer drum solo by Anthony.

Returning to the stage to loud cheers again, they slow things down with the haunting and chart-topping single “Heroin.” They keep it on the slower side with another emotional song and #1 hit “Ghost” that has the fans singing along. Josh announces that this is their last show of the decade, but in February they start writing new songs. The fans certainly received an early Christmas gift with that news and with this killer show. Wrapping it up, they close out their set with “Promise Me,” a song about the fear of growing older. The fans once again show their appreciation with a huge round of applause. Josh thanks them before he and the band exit the stage.

BADFLOWER
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THE MACHINE SHOP
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About Gary Pahlow 23 Articles
Gary is located in Rochester Hills, MI and has been officially photographing and writing concert reviews since early 2016. His main music interests are metal and hard rock, but he is also a fan of most genres including alternative, indie, jazz, and even some pop and country. When not covering or attending concerts, you can find him traveling with his wife or watching the Detroit Red Wings.