Bosstones rock another Mighty Mighty Throwdown
A review of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones at The Middle East Downstairs on December 28
By Ethan Swann, Contributing Writer Link
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones' 11th Hometown Throwdown kept the the band's tradition of loud, boisterous, slightly dangerous music alive with a night of blood, sweat, and ska-core. The third of five nights, Sunday's performance at the Middle East was an onslaught of old school Boston hardcore that gave veteran fans something to talk about for days and taught a new generation of punks how its done.
The stage, sparkling and draped in crystalline holiday lights, was flanked by the traditional light up Santa and Blanta as the Bosstones opened up with "The Old School off the Bright" and blazed on through material from the band's seven-album catalogue, along with a couple of covers. Dressed in sharp suits and playing with swagger, everyone in the band acted as though they were playing for a group of friends. Various family members could be seen next to the stage, and at one point frontman Dicky Barrett brought his nephew onstage to ham it up for the crowd. Constantly giving high-fives and shaking hands with the front row, Barrett plays the rockstar role to a T, all the while letting the fans know how important they are to his band.
The show was loud as hell, punctuated by screaming horns blasting over a wall of guitars and Barrett's whiskey-gravel bellows. The Middle East's low ceiling channels every last decibel into the audience, encompassing everyone, forcing you to pay attention, driving through you, shaking you, making you feel the music all over, then it leaves you feeling numb when it stops.
"The Rascal King" brought a lighter groove into the mix, and early hits like "Last Dead Mouse" and "Someday I Suppose" had the older fans singing along. Dicky sported three different pieces of headgear during "Helluva Hat" and "You Gotta Go" was dedicated to one Brett "The Jet" Favre, who ruined everyone's football season earlier that evening. Newer hits like "Don't Worry Desmond Dekker" from their 2007 compilation Medium Rare, were well received, but the Bosstones' classics are what shone through. There were the big hits " Where'd You Go?" and "The Impression That I Get", plenty of fan favorites including "Hope I Never Lose My Wallet" and "1-2-8", and rare treats like "Guns and the Young".
Sunday night's show was all ages, so anyone wishing to drink was herded into the small upper bar area to the side of the stage, leaving the floor open for the kids to play in. And play they did. Opening up were original Boston punks Slapshot, who were absolutely nuts. Ripping through a set of balls-out hardcore classics, the concert left the crowd pulverized and singer Choke Kelly bleeding from the head. Literally.
The Hometown Throwdown's eleventh year was a success. After a long, noisy year, its nice to have a nice, noisy tradition to enjoy. Barrett didn't crowd surf (thoughhe did on the first night of the Throwdown), but neither he nor his band showed any signs of slowing down. The Bosstones may have been around for awhile, but that doesn't mean they're too old to bring it. These veterans of Boston still prove a strong example of a scene that still thrives.