Have you ever seen a band live that somehow sounds better than they do on an album? For me, that was Badflower on October 2nd at The Bottom Lounge in Chicago, IL; the first sold-out show of their This Is How The World Ends tour.
As with most of us, this was one of my first shows post-pandemic and to say it was a religious experience is putting it mildly. It was not just the fact that I was back in a venue surrounded by others who would have the same experience, but that the room was full of die-hard fans of the entire lineup: Dead Poet Society, Teenage Wrist, and Badflower.
While waiting for the show to start, I overheard a cacophony of conversations relating to the last time fans had seen both Dead Poet Society and Badflower at the same venue in 2019; the room was buzzing with excitement.
Right on schedule, Dead Poet Society or “DPS” opened the show, and promptly at the first lyric, the crowd was singing along. A rock band from Boston, Massachusetts, DPS had a short set but killed it with their catchy songs and banter.
Los Angeles natives Teenage Wrist were up next and played songs off their 2021 sophomore album, Earth Is a Black Hole from Epitaph Records. While their set was also short, their songs including “Dweeb,” “Yellowbelly,” and “Silverspoon” made me a fan.
Badflower’s set began uniquely with the voice of “Karen,” emanating from an umbrella light center stage. As Badflower’s hype-woman, Karen killed it with the dad jokes while simultaneously getting the crowd hyped up and ready for lead singer Josh Katz’s entrance.
Immediately capturing the crowd with the first lines of “Fukboi” off their new album This Is How The World Ends, I knew this would be one of the best shows I had ever seen. Following their intro was the radio-charting tune “Don’t Hate Me,” a personal favorite of mine and my first introduction to Badflower as a band.
Continuing to play songs off both their new album and previous discography, Badflower took us on a journey through deeply personal lyrics and alluring stories in “Johnny Wants a Fight,” “30,” and “Only Love.”
“Stalker” is when everything got real, and this is when it truly hit me that Badflower is a group like no other, one that can transport you to a different place. Encasing a range of styles and textures, this catchy tune with dark lyrics and inspiration from Eminem’s “Stan” gave Josh a fearless new persona, as he left the stage and waded into the crowd during the chorus.
Badflower’s calling card of catchy beats with brutally honest and emotive lyrics was especially realized during “Machine Gun” when the venue became deathly quiet. All eyes were on Josh as he sang the final lyrics of the song. And to be honest, I have never felt as emotionally connected to a band as I felt in that moment.
If I walked away learning one thing from the show, it is that Badflower is a band you cannot miss.
See them on the remaining dates of their This is How The World Ends tour if you can.
10/7 – Englewood, CO – Gothic Theatre
10/9 – Sacramento, CA – Aftershock 2021
10/10 – Boise, ID – Knitting Factory Concert House
10/12 – Seattle, WA – Neumos
10/13 – Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory Concert House
10/16 – Los Angeles, CA – Fonda Theatre
10/17 – San Diego, CA – The Observatory North Park
10/18 – Phoenix, AZ – The Pressroom
10/20 – Houston, TX – The Studio at Warehouse Live
10/21 – Corpus Christi, TX – Brewster Street Ice House
10/22 – Dallas, TX – The Hifi Dallas
10/23 – Little Rock, AR – Revolution Music Hall
10/24 – Huntsville, AL – Mars Music Hall
10/26 – Mobile, AL – Soul Kitchen Music Hall
10/28 – Fort Lauderdale, FL – Culture Room
10/29 – St. Petersburg, FL – Jannus Live
10/30 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade (Heaven)
10/31 – Nashville, TN – The Basement East