Punk Rock Bowling Day 1 report: Rancid and the Bosstones

Rancid, Saturday night at Punk Rock Bowling.
Photo: Adam Shane
Jason Harris

RANCID: The punk rockers and the moon stompers were out en masse to experience what many considered the must-see set at this year’s Punk Rock Bowling—’90s punk revivalists Rancid, playing the band’s most successful album, 1995’s ...And Out Come the Wolves, in full Saturday night at the festival's outdoor site Downtown. And unlike the big boxing match earlier this month, this main event did not disappoint.

Tim Armstrong and Lars Frederiksen traded vocals and guitar parts all night, continually matching one another’s intensity. The crossover hits—“Time Bomb,” “Ruby Soho,” and “Roots Radicals”—unsurprisingly had the crowd singing along. More of a revelation was that the audience, which ranged in age from original punkers to teenagers, seemed to know all the words to all the rest of the Wolves songs.

The duo of “End”-titled tunes, “Journey to the End of East Bay” and “The Wars End,” had moshers and thrashers throwing their fists up and changing their vocal inflections to match those of the band. Bassist Matt Freeman shined on “Journey” and set opener “Maxwell Murder.” Drummer Branden Steineckert kept a steady and blistering pace all night, keeping the band going full speed ahead.

If the night had ended with main set closer “The Way I Feel,” all the Little Sammys would have gone home more than happy. But a looser encore followed, complete with moshing goodness during “Radio” off of Let’s Go (1994) and night-capper “Fall Back Down” from Indestructible (2003). The Berkeley boys left it all out there, easily putting forth one of the best sets I’ve seen this year.

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

THE MIGHTY MIGHTY BOSSTONES “This is the real deal. The people around you are not bullsh*tting ... Just like I do, they f*cking love it.” exclaimed Dicky Barrett, lead singer of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, the ska-core veterans that filled day one’s main undercard slot.

I’ve never had double flashbacks until this event, but somehow the Bosstones got me there. First, it was to a simpler time, the late ’90s, when the ska revival went mainstream and you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing the Boston-based third wavers’ enormous hit, “The Impression That I Get.”

Then to a time I don’t remember, somewhere in the early ’80s when Madness ruled the scene. Having seen those British skankers before, it’s clear the Bosstones have always aimed to be this side of the Atlantic’s version of Suggs and Co.

“Someday I Suppose,” “Don’t Worry Desmond Dekker” and a cover of The Clash’s “Rudie Can’t Fail” had the skankers, well, skankin’. It was a solid outing for the nine-piece band. A special shoutout goes to “Bosstone” Ben Carr, still dancing with fervor all these years later. The well-placed set couldn’t have built better to the night’s Rancid crescendo.

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