Dropkick Murphys & Mighty Mighty Bosstones @ Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ

Live Reviews | Jul 16th, 2008

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Opening Bands: Civet
Date: July 13th 2008
Venue: Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ

I believe it has been 8 years since I last saw the Mighty Mighty Bosstones on stage (Warped Tour 2000?). I was going to spend a lot of money to go see them play at the Hometown Throwdown last December in Boston but decided against it. I finally got the chance to see one of my favorite bands perform, and it feels like they never went on hiatus! Of course there’s always got to be something to complain about when it comes to concerts these days…

Now’s the time for a bitch session so you might want to skip 3 paragraphs if you don’t feel like reading it. Whoever thought it would be good to have the concert at Starland Ballroom’s parking lot is a retard. It was the most clusterfuck concert I’ve been too. Instead of parking near the venue, you had to park at some Technology building and then take a shuttle bus (a.k.a. School Buses) to the venue. So you wait on line for the bus, then get on the bus, then have to wait on the line at the venue some more, then you have to get searched (harassed) by security. I felt like being lined up to go to some prison camp to be honest with you. The people counting how many people go on the buses were stupid as well. I must have gone on 2 or 3 buses trying to get a seat. But then again what do you expect from security; I’m sure they weren’t math majors.

When I got to the press tent, they give me my tickets and passes. But the passes have VIP on them. That can’t get me into the photo pit so I began to worry. I’m not sure why I got 2 VIP passes when I specifically asked for a photo pass. It was pretty aggravating and stressful but these mix-ups happen all the time to me. I’m not really that surprised that I’ve gone to another show where things don’t work out flawlessly. I call up the tour manager after I get to the club and he pretty much said he’ll get me a photo pass after Civet’s set. I wanted to shoot their set but guess that wasn’t happening. I finally got a photo pass 10 minutes before the Bosstones went on. Thanks to Carl for getting me the pass and making the day better for me.

One other complaint I had was the crew that setup the stage. The stage was fine (although very high for a photographer) but the stage was in front of the sun. That meant that you had to blind yourself from the sun setting and made it really hard to watch the stage. So just picture yourself holding your hand up, blocking out the sun for a half hour. If you had a hat, it was okay but even when you had sunglasses on, it was difficult to see Civet and the Bosstones play. Dropkick Murphys played after the sun set so at least you could see them with the sun in your face. Ok, now let’s get back to the show.

Civet came on first and they will be releasing an album on Hellcat Records in September. I never heard of their music but they were pretty good. I’m sure they will be a popular band for obvious reasons (they’re hot punk girls). They have a California punk rock sound with many typical comparisons to female punk bands like Bikini Kill, L7 and others. They also sound like US Bombs, Rancid and even the Clash a little as well. I’ll definitely be interested in hearing how they sound on CD as well.

The next band of the show was The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Thankfully, I got my photo pass just in time to shoot their set. It was the first time shooting them so I was excited and nervous. The Bosstones opened with “Our Only Weapon” from Don’t Know How To Party and it was a great song to open with! I’m not sure I ever heard them play that one live. All the members came out sporting their ugly plaid suits, and I was sporting an ugly shirt as well. The members looked fairly the same, just a little bit older. One thing I noticed was that Kevin the old sax player was back with the band. That was great to see, it would have been nice to see Nate and Dennis back with the band for old time sake as well. That’s not a dig at the other members Lawrence and Chris, but just would have been cool to see the band members that were there for their heyday.

After “Our Only Weapon,” “Rascal King” and “Where’d Do You?” were played next. I loved hearing those songs, along with “Illegal Left,” “Someday I Suppose,” and “Simmer Down.” The band was just excellent and got the majority of the crowd to skank. After I got done with shooting the 3 songs, I watched with my girlfriend, brother and my friend. It was still hard to see the band for the beginning of the set because of the stupid sun. But I guess at least it didn’t rain. A cloud would have helped!

The band has been using the same setlist for most of their shows on this tour but last few nights seem to have picked different songs. The NJ show they played “Toxic Toast,” which is a song a fan wanted to hear. I don’t know, I would have picked a better song than that one like “Cowboy Coffee,” “Hope I Don’t Lose My Wallet,” or “It Can’t Hurt.” I’m just not a fan of too many songs off of Question The Answers. I loved that they played “I’ll Drink to That” and “Devil’s Night Out” though. Towards the end of the set, the band played the new song “Desmond Dekker,” which sounded good live. They finished their hour long set with “Howwhywuz, Howwhyam,” “Impression That I Get” and a cover from Man of La Mancha called “The Impossible Dream.” It was weird that they ended off with a song that the majority of the crowd didn’t really know. I had no idea what song that was from either. All in all, with all the aggravation I had to deal with; it was still worth seeing the Bosstones. Let’s hope they stay together as a band for a long time and make more records together. I’m sure they realize that people still want them around as a band so I’m sure they won’t be going away anytime soon.

After the Bosstones, I noticed a lot of the crowd leave. Talk about a bunch of dedicated Bosstone fans! Even though I’ve seen Dropkick Murphys a lot, I still wanted to watch the majority of their set. I haven’t seen them since they released “The Warrior’s Code.” The majority of fans were there to see Dropkick Murphys, everyone and their mother were Irish that day…Or pretended to be. “Hey look at me I’m playing the bagpipes and wearing a kilt like the band too!” Since the band got super popular from the Departed, I knew the crowd was going to be filled with college meatheads and fratboys. That’s how it was at their Scranton, PA show at least.

The band came out to their long Sinead O’Connor intro and started things off with the usual 2 songs, “For Boston” and “Boys on the Dock.” I kind of wished they would start off with some different songs for a change. The third song was “State of Massachusetts” and I loved hearing that one. I just like the banjo playing in it a lot. The band played a lot of newer material like “(F)lannigan’s Ball” “Tomorrow’s Industry,” and “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye.” From what I can remember, they also played “Fields Of Athrenry,” “Bastards on Parade” and “Curse of a Fallen Soul.” They didn’t really play too much from Do or Die, which is still my favorite album. Even more songs from Blackout would have been better. I stayed for about 50 minutes of their set and wanted to beat the crowd leaving so we all left during “The Wild Rover.” I can’t stand that song for some reason so it was fitting I left on that song. I just don’t like that song, from any band. I heard that the Bosstones and a bunch of Irish dancers came out for their encore. It would have been cool to see that, but I’d rather beat the crowd and watch it on youtube.

Overall, this show was a clusterfuck. The bands were all good, but the way it was organized was retarded. Hopefully I don’t have to go back to the Starland Ballroom anytime soon. The Bosstones were worth the aggravation.


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