Badflower at Saint Andrew’s Hall in Detroit, MI

Badflower enthralls wild fans on the Asking For A Friend Tour at Saint Andrew’s Hall with support from Des Rocs and Blood Red Shoes.

Blood Red Shoes from England is up first with their blend of alternative rock, indie rock, and garage rock. Comprised of just two band members, Laura-Mary Carter (guitar and vocals) and Steven Ansell (drums and vocals), they deliver a sound that seems like there are more musicians. They lead with “Elijah” which starts with some sparse guitar notes and drums and then kicks in with a slow-paced, grungy sound. Steven is positioned sideways on the right side of the stage and pounds the skins hard, sending his hair flying about. Laura-Mary is center stage and delivers the soft, haunting vocals.

Picking up the pace, they play “Cold” which leads with some cool drumming and has a more fuzzy, bluesy guitar sound. After “Sucker,” they play “Murder Me” from their latest release Ghosts On Tape which has a cool and catchy guitar riff that drives it. They rev it up with the thrashy-sounding “Animal” from their 2014 self-titled album and proceed to crank up the pace even more on “I Wish I Was Someone Better” from their first album Box of Secrets. They close it out with “Morbid Fascination,” another song from their latest album. Judging by the crowd’s loud reactions, they have picked up some new fans tonight. It is a great start to the evening. The band even takes time to greet fans and sign items at their merch stand.

Next up is New York alternative rocker Des Rocs, who starts his set with “HVY MTL DRMR.” Dressed in a leather jacket and leather pants with blue flames, and looking a bit like Elvis, he delivers a solid set of rock and is a showman who knows how to work the stage and the audience. He takes every moment when not singing to dance about the stage and play up to the fans who are loving it.

“Wayne” is a fast-paced song that has a kind of rockabilly vibe to it. Following “MMC,” he plays “Used to the Darkness” where he delivers some low, almost vibrato vocals, and winds down the song by jamming on the guitar. Next is “Maybe, I” which is a slower song, driven by some clapping and also shows off his vocal talent. He must be getting hot as he removes his jacket and is now in a tank top. 

Des Rocs has been around since 2018 with several EPs and one full album called A Real Good Person In a Real Bad Place. “Ruby with the Sharpest Lies” comes from that album and he gets the crowd bopping along, hands waving, and cheering. The fans love it and he shouts, “Thank you Detroit.” “Never Ending Moment” is a new song coming out in a few weeks which has Des Rocs playing an acoustic guitar. It starts with some picking which makes it sound more like a banjo. He is very active on this song as he bounces while playing and does some circular arm swings as he plays the guitar like Pete Townsend from The Who. 

Changing over to a flying V guitar, he plays an awesome cover of Bruce Springsteen’s classic “Born to Run” which also has his bassist Eric Mendelsohn taking on some of the lead vocal duties. He proceeds to show off by playing the guitar behind his back on what sounds like the opening riffs of Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way.” He closes out his set with “Let Me Live / Let Me Die” from his 2018 EP Let The Vultures In. It has him engaging with the audience as he tells them to “raise your hands in the air.” The crowd shows their appreciation with fist pumps, waving, and loud cheers. He also takes time after his set to greet fans at his merch table.

Badflower hits the stage to deafening cheers and kicks it off with the grungy “F*ck the World,” a guitar-driven song about climate change. After “Johnny Wants to Fight,” they play the hit “Don’t Hate Me” which gets the fans singing along. Next up is “F*kboi,” a bit of a tongue-in-cheek song about fake influencers trying to take advantage of others. The song is upbeat and catchy, and the fans love it as they let out loud cheers. The sound tonight is dialed in tight, with every instrument not overpowering the other, and clear vocals.

Following “White Noise” from their Temper EP, they play several songs that are very familiar to the fans. Badflower has a knack for writing songs that can hit home and their fans can relate to topics such as pain, anxiety, suicide, and abuse. It is not just the lyrics that pull you in, the band has a way of mixing it up from haunting vocal delivery and slow-paced songs to ones that are right in your face with aggressive drumming, powerful bass, and shredding guitars. “Heroin,” “The Jester,” “Ghost,” and “24” have the fans in awe as they sing along. Lead singer/guitarist Josh Katz lets out screams and sings with heart-felt conviction during “Heroin.” One of the highlights of their set is the single “Move Me” which Josh had to stop and start over as a fan up front was singing loudly over him. It mostly has just Josh strumming the guitar and singing until the band kicks in and features Josh and Joey wailing on their guitars amidst strobe/flashing lights. Josh’s vocal delivery and facial expression can truly be felt on this song and many others.

They pick things back up with “Drop Dead” and then the rocker “x ANA x” which finds bassist Alex Espiritu headbanging and bouncing about the stage, while Joey Morrow tears it up on the guitar. Josh joins in on the action by jumping up and down and leads the crowd in some clapping and singing back. Following “Promise Me,” they play another high energy, but somewhat controversial song, “Stalker,” as the title implies. Josh leaves the stage to play behind the bar and the fans go wild. Anthony Sonetti plays a killer drum solo and is absolutely crushing it with some rapid-fire beats. They wind it down with “Machine Gun” and then “Family” which has a thunderous ending. The lights go out and the band exits the stage. The crowd cheers loudly, claps, and stomps the floor to get them to come back out.  

Returning to the stage, Josh announces that due to some technical issues they are going to play an extra song tonight. They launch into “Mother Mary” which features some squealing notes and wailing on the guitar by Joey. Following “Wide Eyes,” they wrap up their set with the angst-driven song “30” which is about when Josh was turning 30 and the fear he had of getting old. It has Josh ranting the lyrics over some catchy guitar riffs. Josh says, “Thank you Detroit,” and tosses a guitar pick into the crowd before leaving.

Badflower gives it their all and once again delivers a highly entertaining, emotional, and engaging show. The fans tonight got great sets by all three bands. Be sure to catch them on this tour and arrive early to catch the opening bands.

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About Gary Pahlow 55 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.