Photos and Review by Jason Greenough
Show photos HERE
After a year that certainly treated the Mighty Mighty Bosstones well, from a highly-anticipated new album – their first of which in seven years – to the well-received maiden voyage of their Cranking & Skanking Fest, the hometown ska-punk legends had nowhere to go but up, and finished off 2018 with a bang.
Bringing their 21st installment of their Hometown Throwdown to the House of Blues this past weekend (Dec.28-30), the plaid boys of Boston unleashed a powerful dose of punk rock and holiday cheer, all the while taking the opportunity to celebrate the importance of togetherness in these tumultuous times.
The Landsdowne establishment filled up quickly on the 364th day of the year, and it was nearly packed full by the time Marlborough, Mass. up-and-comers Color Killer took the stage. They came equipped with a searing set of fast, aggressive garage punk that had jaws dropping, and heads banging. Serving up a mix of original tracks comprised of Generation Z-centric themes, and covers of Green Day’s “American Idiot” and The Offspring’s “The Kids Aren’t Alright,” the quartet got the crowd into the show early, making it all too easy for Barrett and the rest of the Bosstones to light it up from the get-go.
Donning vibrant polka dot suits, the Bosstones took the stage to raucous applause, and wasted no time sending 2018 into the history books. The catalog-spanning setlist had fans, both loyal and new, feeling the energy that blared from the amps behind the band.
Barrett quickly got acquainted with the crowd, sharing the mic with plaid-clad fans just beyond the barricade, as they shouted the lyrics to “The Daylights” and “This Time Of Year” to light the fuse on the nearly two-hour long set. They continued with a mix of time-tested fan favorites and new tracks. By the time the rhythm section – comprised of bassist Joe Gittleman, Saxophonists Leon Silva and Tim “Johnny Vegas” Burton, and Chris Rhodes on the slide Trombone – tore into the opening riff of “The Rascal King” only seven songs in, the room was already primed for the rest of the night. Barrett, with the help of the band’s dancing fixture Ben Carr, knew he had the Throwdown crowd in the palm of his hand as he paced from side to side, encouraging fans to enjoy themselves and to get louder.
Always one to spread the love, Barrett relinquished the spotlight a number of times throughout the show, first to Burton for a rendition of “Chocolate Pudding” then to to a fan by the name of Jay Barker who serenaded his daughter Maeve to an acoustic-to-electric version of “Don’t Worry Desmond Dekker”, and lastly to Rhodes, who took the reigns for a cover of the Beatles’ classic “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” which was fitting for the Yellow Submarine spin-off theme of the weekend.
Every song, from deep tracks like “All Things Considered” and “The Punch Line” to newer tunes like “The Constant” and “Wonderful Day For The Race”, were welcomed with such enthusiasm that it was somewhat surprising to find out that it could, in fact, get louder as guitarist Lawrence Katz hastily dug into the iconic opening riff of “The Impression That I Get”.
Following “The Magic Of Youth” to close out the first part of the set, a three-song encore sealed the deal on a wild night, and ultimately the Bosstones’ year, and sent the hometown crowd home with a whole lot of confetti stuck to their bodies, and hopefully, enough energy to make it to the finish line, and to start 2019 off right.