Reunited Bosstones deliver a mighty good time

A review of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones at the Middle East Downstairs on December 26, 2007

, Editor-in-Chief

At their first show in over four years, one couldn\’t help but ponder which hurt the most: the Mighty Mighty Bosstones missing their hometown, or the band\’s devoted following missing the Bosstones\’ intense live show. Both waits ended on Wednesday night at one of the year\’s best concerts, the opening of the band\’s tenth annual "Hometown Throwdown" (a five-night stand) at the Middle East in Cambridge.&

With the crowd chanting in unison, frontman Dicky Barrett and company hit the Christmas-light adorned stage to a roaring ovation. "Dr. D" kicked off the set before a sing-along of the band\’s Let Face It hit, "Rascal King". The packed floor swayed, sang, and danced their way through each song. Barrett, decked out in a sharp black suit and sunglasses, was back to his usual form. He never won crowds over with his voice, but you\’d be hard pressed to find a more enigmatic frontman that knows exactly how to get a crowd moving.
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As the shows\’ quick sellouts proved, the kinship between band and fan has not dwindled as the years have passed, but even the most diehard fans had to wonder just how the band would sound after such a long hiatus. However, after a few tunes, it was like they had never left. Guitarist Lawrence Katz was in fine form while bassist Joe Gittleman and drummer Joe Sirois held down the rhythm section with ease. And the horn section of saxophonists Tim "Johnny Vegas" Burton and Roman Fleysher and trombonist Chris Rhodes was blazing with glory during "Someday I Suppose". Together they were as tight and forceful as they were before they left town.
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Arguably, no band member was as impressive as the "Bosstone" himself, dancer Ben Carr. The site of Carr going nuts during "He\’s Back" was refreshing. But what was even more remarkable was the fact that he didn\’t lose energy despite dancing the night away through nearly every song on the setlist. Carr fulfilled his role as the perfect middleman between the crowd and his performing bandmates by invigorating both sides with contagious energy.

The 80-minute set spanned the band\’s career. Old school fans were treated to a handful of tunes off the 1989 debut album Devils Night Out, including "Drunks And Children", "Hope I Never Lose My Wallet", and the title track. From there, the band progressed through fan favorites "Where\’d You Go?", "Holy Smoke", "Hell of a Hat", "The Impression That I Get", and "Allow Them". The Bosstones also added a pair of covers to close out the main set and start the encore with the poltically charged "Tin Soldiers" (Stiff Little Fingers) and The Clash\’s"Rudie Can\’t Fail", which Barrett dedicated to "all the true punk-rockers."
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"Don\’t Worry Desmond Dekker", a brand new tune off the band\’s latest release of mostly b-sides, Medium Rare, was met with a sing-along that was equal to those of the band\’s oldest tunes. It was a visibly enriching moment for the Bosstones. Wednesday\’s show also marked the tenth anniversary of Barrett\’s uncle, and thus sparked a rare and rather touching rendition of "The Day He Didn\’t Die," a song in his memory off Pay Attention, during the band\’s encore. The show ended with crowd favorite "1-2-8". &

The packed Middle East crowd didn\’t really need any warming up, but New Jersey based punk-rockers the Bouncing Souls were a delightful treat. The band\’s solid set closed out with the rousing "Manthem".& &
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Despite the pressure of months of immense buzz surrounding their reunion, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones roared back with fevering energy that many bands just can\’t obtain. Will this spark the band to consider a proper reunion? Who knows, but if Wednesday night was any indication, the band still has more than enough to deliver one hell of a rock show.

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