Opening Bands: Street Dogs & Gimme Danger
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It was around the end of the summer when I started hearing the rumblings about another Mighty Mighty Bosstones reunion that probably wasn’t going to happen…again. As the summer changed over to the fall, rumors kept popping up on the internet. Those rumors turned in to speculation, speculation turned into a buzz and then the buzz turned into an announcement on the radio. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones were indeed going to reunite and play their first show in four plus years. No wait…their first shows. The Hometown Throwdown was going to be resurrected for the tenth time. Tickets went on sale on October 19th and sold out in a matter of minutes. I was one of the lucky ones that managed to score a pair of tickets. I was not going to miss the opportunity to see the Bosstones again or to go to a Throwdown no matter what. This may be the last time the Bosstones ever play again or this could be the catalyst that sparks them into touring and recording again. Either way, I had to be there.
The plane tickets were booked, hotel reservations were made and on the fourth night of the Throwdown, I would be standing downstairs in the Middle East in downtown Cambridge Massachusetts pissing my pants with sheer excitement over the simple fact that I would be able to see the Mighty Mighty Bosstones again for about the 20th time. Nine o’clock and the show was on!
Opening up the fourth night were Gimme Danger, a side project band consisting of a few members of the Dropkick Murphys. Their sound was nothing like the Murphys but they had a good hard rock sound mixed in with just a slight touch of punk. The four piece was tight and had a good variety to their songs. They managed to get the crowd going early on in preparation of the second opening act, Boston’s own Street Dogs.
The Street Dogs remind me a lot of H20 and that is most definitely a good thing. Having seen them play three or four times before, this was by far their best performance to date. They seemed excited to be playing the Throwdown and the crowd seemed just as excited to see the Street Dogs thus making for a potent brew of fast music, circle pits, sing-a-longs and some good old-fashioned fist pumping oi’s! I’m not too familiar with the Street Dog’s songs so I’m not too sure of what they played, but I do know that “Tobe’s Got A Drinking Problem” is a kick ass song. The Street Dogs tore through their set at breakneck speed mixing in some hardcore cover songs with their own tunes. I was surprised that Joe Sirois didn’t come out and drum with them since he used to drum for them a few years back. Overall, the Street Dogs were a great set up for the reason for the season, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Being a band that can sell out venues on their own, it was pretty cool to see them set their status back and open the show.
With the opening acts turning in for the night, all that was left was to see one of the best live bands in the history of mankind on stage again for the first time in a long time. Well, it was only four years, but it was a long time for me. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones were scheduled to go on at 11:15 and lo and behold, the band was on time. The light got dim and the chants of “Mighty Mighty…Bosstones” roared from the crowd. A Rick James sounding funk song came on to introduce the band and just added to the intensity and anxiety of every single person in the crown. And then the stage lit up. Christmas lights covered the roof and the walls. The strobe lights flickered off and on and when the doors swung open the crowd let loose with cheers that seemed to shake the foundation and that could be heard all the way back in Pittsburgh. The Bosstones arrived on the stage, took a bow and then kicked right in to “1-2-8”. I would not be lying if I said that every single human being in the crowd was singing along at the top of their lungs, and not just for this song, but also for every other song that followed. The tones went old school with “Howwhywuz, Howwhyam”.
I had heard from other people in the crowd that the Bosstones were switching things up and playing every song under the sun. They had also been playing their new track off of “Medium Rare” called “Don’t Worry Desmond Dekker” every night much to the crowd’s delight. Personally, I wanted to hear this song more than anything and the Bosstones didn’t let me down. About three or four songs into the set, they let loose with this more traditional ska sounding song and started one of the biggest skank pits this side of the Mississippi.
As I mentioned before, the set list was diverse and contained at least on song from every album in the tones discography including ones that I had never heard them play before or play in a really, really long time like “Toxic Toast”, “Last Dead Mouse” and “She Just Happened”. There were also classics new and old abound. “Royal Oil”, “He’s Back”, “Simmer Down”, “Allow Them”, “You Gotta Go”, “Everybody’s Better”, “Someday I Suppose”, Where’d You Go”, “So Sad To Say”, “I’ll Drink To That” and “The Rascal King”. There was also a guest appearance by the former lead singer of the J. Geils Band, Peter Wolf who did a duet with Dicky of the J. Geils classic “Give It To Me”. The Bosstones then dedicated “The Impression That I Get” to Peter who watched from the side of the stage.
After playing for about two hours, the Bosstones waved goodbye…briefly and then hurried back on stage for the encore. This time, there was a guest appearance by former Bosstones guitarist Nate Albert who joined the band on guitar for “Kinder Words” and “Hope I Never Lose My Wallet”. Lawrence Katz rejoined the band, which closed the night out with “Devil’s Night Out” and “Lights Out”. What an encore it was! What a show it was!
For a band that hasn’t played together for nearly half a decade, the Bosstones sounded like they haven’t missed a step. In fact, Dicky’s vocals sounded more like the Dicky of old even when playing the newer songs. The horn section sounded crisp, clear and excellent as usual. Ben Carr was dancing his heart out all night and the crowd was singing and dancing right along with him. It was also really cool to see that the lineup was the exact same lineup as it was before they went on hiatus. It was also great to see Nate Albert back on stage with the plaid brigade once again.
As I sit here now, a day and a half removed from what is probably the greatest concert that I have ever seen, I look back on it and I know that if I had to do it all over again, that I would do it in a heartbeat. What made this concert so different for me was the anticipation leading up to the show, the uncertainty of not knowing who the opening bands were going to be and the excitement and anxiety of seeing my favorite band of all time in their hometown. I never traveled this far and spent this money on any one show or band and I know that I wouldn’t do it for any other band out there right now. There is no doubt in my mind that this was money well spent. To anyone out there right now that has never been to a Throwdown, if there is another Throwdown, go to it. It’s a Bosstones experience like no other. This was the greatest concert ever and that’s the impression that I get!