Badflower Continue Their Path of Rock Domination

All images are taken by Lauren Silvestri

While Badflower may still be climbing the ranks of rock n’ roll stardom, the LA-based band already has created a diehard fan base in Philly. Their show last Thursday, May 4th at the Underground Arts Black Box was their third time playing the City of Brotherly Love, and a group of dedicated fans that has seen them play each time were ready to enjoy the infectious hooks and riffs once more. From the young fan who came with her father, to the older gentleman known affectionately around town as “Evil Pierre,” the consensus was clear: something is happening in this small room that’s far too rare in 2017 – an electrifying dose of rock n’ roll!

For rock music lovers, it’s no surprise why Badflower has been deemed as a breath of fresh air in the current music scene. Their debut EP, Temper, bursts at the seams with grit and raw energy. The lead single, “Animal,” contains a carnal desire not unlike in the spirit of Guns n’ Roses debut Appetite for Destruction. What inspires these raw emotions? “Real life events,” explains vocalist and guitarist Josh Katz. “We have a tendency to write about the sort of subtle emotions that aren’t the obvious ones, and then make them the obvious ones, and I think that’s what this record was all about – highlighting the subtle emotions that you feel in life and relationships and love and hate and all that stuff.”

While Temper is definitely reminiscent of the loud, riff-heavy rock of decades past, it still feels very current. All four members carry different influences that meld their modern rock sound. “Musically we’re influenced by more classic [rock], but lyrically we’re influenced by more modern [bands]. Lyrically I’m influenced by new folk like Death Cab for Cutie, Bright Eyes, and bands that don’t sound like us at all,” says Josh. “For how I approach this music, just rock n’ roll you know – Rage Against the Machine, Chili Peppers, Nirvana, Soundgarden, etc,” says drummer Anthony Sonetti. Meanwhile, lead guitarist Joey Morrow enjoys The Eagles, The Beatles, The Fratellis, and HAIM, while bassist Alex Espiritu has been really digging The Cure recently.

Despite signing to major label Republic Records, Badflower’s members have a very strong DIY ethos. They wrote, engineered, and recorded Temper themselves, literally in a garage. “Some of it was fueled by necessity, it was just way easier to record in a garage where we lived,” says Alex. “We had made [another record previously] that [Republic] was considering releasing, but we didn’t want to release that one because we thought we could do a better job… so we just kinda made [Temper] without telling anyone and then when it came down to have the conversation we just submitted it,” shrugs Josh. “I think our experiences leading up to it, recording with other people, proved to us that we know how our stuff should sound more than anyone else,” adds Anthony.

This process did not come without its challenges, however. “There were more challenges than we could have expected. It was all done on my MacBook Pro that has been dropped way too many times, and there were moments when we had to place my computer in the freezer to keep it from overheating,” Josh explains. “Most of the record was done in one take … we can hear how rushed it was but it gives it that character and I think people will like it regardless.”

That character captured on Temper only intensifies in the live setting for Badflower. The band has gained a reputation for their high-energy shows, which certainly was the case last Thursday. There doesn’t seem to be a method for their madness though; the band did not divulge any pre-show ritual secrets. “I try not to think about the show until I’m onstage,” says Anthony.

After an explosive opening set by local band Foxtrot and the Get Down, who scored the perfect blend of blues, rock and soul (and deserve a whole lotta praise that I can’t fit here), Badflower tore up the black box, attracting even the most serious wallflowers to the front. Each member brings his unique persona on stage to form a juxtaposition of controlled chaos. Josh in particular is mesmerizing as the lead singer. Like a well-trained actor, his expressions oscillate seamlessly into different roles, usually all within the same song: the emotional, lovelorn weeper; mad scientist; and punk lothario. After playing their EP in whole and a few others, such as the heavy-hitter “Soap,” the crowd was wild for more.

             

At the impromptu meet and greet following the show, all four members had a euphoric glow while they chatted and took photos with their fans, who were equally as euphoric. Badflower is still at a special, early place in their career where they have not become accustomed to adoration; not only do they truly appreciate their fans, but they remember them too. These guys seem genuine enough that I don’t think that attitude will fade as they grow in popularity.

The band has a lot of touring to get through the rest of the year, but a full-length album is in the works. “It’s the light at the end of the tunnel for us,” says Alex. Until then, you can download Temper and sign up for their mailing list here. Let this post be a warning: you won’t want to miss the next time Badflower comes to Philly.

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