Street Dogs @ The Rex Theater Pittsburgh, PA

Live Reviews | Jul 23rd, 2018

Date: June 13, 2018
Opening Acts: Latecomer, The Bar Stool Preachers, The New Darkbuster
All Photos Courtesy of Melissa Haslam

Heading out on the road with fellow Bostonians the New Darkbuster and the Bar Stool Preachers from Brighton, England, the Street Dogs had a date with the punks of Pittsburgh for a night of debauchery and loud music. Always up to the task, the Street Dogs and crew gave the Yinzers exactly what they wanted…a good old fashioned punk rock show with a dose of ska punk on the side.

Unfortunately, we arrived late to the show and managed to miss the opening band Latecomer but with a name like that, I’m sure they didn’t mind. It wasn’t long after our arrival that the next band, the Bar Stool Preachers took the stage. I wasn’t sure what to expect of them since they looked the punk rock part but had a keyboard on stage as well as an acoustic guitar. They opened with a couple of slower acoustic punk songs but soon kicked it into high gear with some ska-influenced punk, some faster punk as well as some straight-up third wave ska punk. The rest of the crowd was pleasantly surprised and a few skank pits broke out around the hall. The Bar Stool Preachers set the tone for the rest of the night as they got the crowd singing along, dancing, sweating and having a good time.

Setting the stage for the Street Dogs was the modern iteration of Darkbuster now known as the New Darkbuster. Also guitarist and lead singer Lenny Lashley was doing double duty as a guitarist in the Street Dogs. Now, I’ve been waiting for years to see Darkbuster live in concert and even though they go by a slightly different name now…tomato/tom-ought-o…I was finally getting the chance to see them play in person. Nothing against the Street Dogs who I’ve seen dozens of times in concert, the New Darkbuster was worth the wait and the highlight of the night and, most likely the live highlight of the year for me.

They opened the show with “Punk Rock’s Not Dead” from their latest release “No Revolution” and then tore through punk rock tracks such as “Stand and Deliver”, “Many Moons” and the fan favorite “Skinhead”. There was also a heavy dose of Darkbuster-style ska punk mixed in with “Happy Days”, “No Revolution” and “Rudy”. The crowd was familiar with most of the songs and they were even more rowdy and rambunctious than before. It was also pretty cool to have Lenny dedicate a song to one of the best Pittsburgh ska bands from back in the 90s…the B-3s. The New Darkbuster may be devoid of most original members but they still tore the stage up and sounded great.

With a crowd that was getting more and more into the show with each band, the Street Dogs were finally set to blow the fuse on the powder keg at the Rex Theater. They hit the stage running with a furious setlist of old and new songs. Having just released a new album, “Stand For Something or Die For Nothing”, they played quite a few songs from that as well as fan favorites “Tobe’s Got A Drinking Problem” and “There Is Power In A Union” to name a few. Mike McColgan has always been one to get involved with the crowd and came down into the audience on a few occasions to sing with the fans. He also promotes audience members to go up on stage and sing with the band. At one point he asked a younger boy probably around 10 or 11 years old up on stage to rock with them and then told him that the crowd will catch him so he should stage dive and crowd surf. The people on the floor obliged and carried the kid around the room for a minute or so and then dropped him back off on the stage so he could do it again. There was also a wedding proposal that the band was in on. Here’s to a life of love, happiness and punk rock! The Street Dogs have always been about their fans and don’t want or need barriers between them and the audience. As Mr. McGolgan said…”the stage is as much yours as it is ours”.

After the show I was a happy fellow. I finally got to see the New Darkbuster play Darkbuster songs live, I got to discover an up-and-coming ska-influenced punk band and the Street Dogs killed it once again with their furious punk rock as well as their setlist of songs for the people by the people. While the crowd was smaller than I would expect for a punk rock show in the ‘Burgh, it was a Wednesday night and those that were there had enough energy for a sold out show. Here’s hoping the blue collar boys from Boston keep Pittsburgh on their radar for their next punk rock outing.

Bar Stool Preachers

The New Darkbuster

Street Dogs


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