Thursday, May 15, 2014

Night #1 - A Benefit for Firefighter Mike Kennedy and LT. Ed Walsh at Great Scott!

When tragedy strikes our city (or any city for that matter!), several ideas and events come together to help those in need.  In a moment's notice, Mark Lind (Ducky Boys) and Josh Smith (Bowery Boston) set up two benefit shows that sold out quickly to support the official Mike Kennedy and Lt. Ed Walsh Fund.  They were two Boston Firefighters from Engine 33 and Ladder 15 on Boylston Street who passed away at a 9 alarm blaze in late March.  Night # 1 at Great Scott sold out within a few hours which was unexpected by some.  The show featured Duck and Cover, Burning Streets, Welch Boys, Lenny Lashley & the Gang of One, the Ducky Boys, Avoid One Thing (First show in 10 years), and the Street Dogs!  It was simply one of the best punk rock shows to come in years and it was all for a fantastic cause.  Roughly 250 people packed into a small, humid, and intimate club in Allston for an unforgettable night.

Duck and Cover were up first, it was my first time seeing them play and they had a garage punk meets 77 style kind of feel to their sound.  They played roughly a quick twenty minute set and their sound consisted of a garage punk feel along side influences of the Ramones and other 70's era punk rock bands.  They are a band I look forward to hearing more from in the future and I hope they play out more often. They're a band to keep an eye out for in the coming future as they possess a lot of energy and aggression in their music. Next up was Boston punk veterans, Burning Streets who have been in the game for quite sometime now.  In the last few years, the band has had the opportunity to hop on to some high profile shows and they rightly deserve so.  Their setlist this night was a mixture of old and new including songs ranging from their debut, Is It and Black and White? and their sophomore release, Sit Still.  Fan favorites such as Disappointed, Kiss The World Goodbye,  as well as Tea Party were in the cards that night.  I feel that every time these guys have the opportunity to play a show, they give 110% every show.  The quick twenty minute set included some newer material they have been releasing online such as Quiet House and Testament. Keep your eyes open for a brand new album coming out soon by them.

Next up, one of Boston's finest, the Welch Boys.  These guys are always a blast to see perform live and have caught the eyes and ears of many since their latest release which came out last summer.  The band opened up with the title track of that album, Bring Back The Fight and stormed through the first few songs off that record.  The set included Flesh Eater, a cover of A.C.A.B.'s, Where Have All The Boot Boys Gone? and Hand Grenade.  It was fantastic to hear older songs by them, as well.  Songs coming from their first self titled full length such as, 617, Friend or Foe, and Sink or Swim, as well.  Overall, the Welch Boys are always a great time.  They are perfect example of a band who always strive for improvement in what they do.  Lenny Lashley & the Gang of One were next.  It was a great time to see them plugged in, as well and play a ton of new songs from their release, Illuminator.  The boys opened up with Kingston and played right through the first three tracks or so which included Hooligans as well as White Man and Gates.  One of my personal favorite tracks that was played was U.S. Mail which Lenny has done a video for which can be viewed here.   That night, they were full of energy and put on a great show.

One of Boston's longest standing punk rock bands, the Ducky Boys were to hit the stage.  It had been awhile for me personally since the last time I saw them play so I knew we were in for a treat.  They kicked right into Boston U.S.A. which was pretty fitting for the event, and then right into Pass You By, and Alone Tonight which is the first three tracks from Three Chords and the Truth.  Ducky Boys played a very fast but enjoyable set that got the crowd pumped for things to come later in the evening.  Songs that you don't hear too often such as Surrogates was an excellent addition in the set and a newer song from Dead End Streets called Disappear was performed.  Both of these are sang by Doug Sullivan.  They also performed Looking Back and ended with I'll Rise Up which had crowd dancing across the floor.  It's always a great time to see the Ducky Boys play and I look forward to the next occasion.

Avoid One Thing was to follow the Ducky Boys and it was their first show back in a decade.  When word spread that they were coming around, it added to much of the excitement with the already stacked line up.  This is a band I have only been listening to the last couple of years because I was never all that familiar with them.  Anyhow, I was impressed though with their live set, especially with Joe from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Amy formally of Darkbuster and Paul Delano from Mung.  It was a solid line up of musicians.  They opened up with Bomb Building Songs and right into Yakisoba.  They played songs from both of their Self Titled album and Chopstick Bridge.  It was good to hear more familiar songs such as About You, Chopstick Bridge, and All That You Heard.  Since they were co-headlining, they played a full set to a relatively packed room by that time. It was a great set overall and it was a great thing to experience since we probably won't see them play anytime soon!

Last but not least, the Street Dogs were next and they were the final and headlining act for the night.  This was easily one of the best sets I have seen them play.  The Street Dogs are one of those bands that no matter where you see them perform, they deliver each and every time.  They entered the stage to a full house and exploded right into Jakes which was certainly fitting for the event.  That is one song I was happy to hear and I haven't heard them play in a couple of years.  Their set ranged from old and new.  They tore straight into Savin Hill, Punk Rock & Roll, and Crooked, Drunken, Sons which is a newer song from a 7 inch released on Pirates Press Records.  Many anthems were included such as Not Without A Purpose, Not Without A Fight, Strike A Blow and the fan favorite, You Alone.  They made a real effort to differentiate the set which was really nice. Other songs such as Yesterday, The Shape of Other Men, Free and even a cover of Steve Earle's Johnny Come Lately, also was a pleasant surprise.

Street Dogs who are known for their support of local causes dedicated In Defense of Dorchester to Martin Richards which incited crowd unity even more through the night.  The set ended with Back To The World as well as Fighter.  After a brief pause, it was encore time.  The six song encore was thoroughly infused with covers from both Darkbuster and the Dropkick Murphys (97 era).  Darkbuster classics such as Try To Make It Right, Stand & Deliver which was fronted by Lenny Lashley himself.  Another tune, Skinhead kept the crowd alive and going which added Mike McColgan back in on vocals.  The last three songs of the night were Do or Die, Get Up, and Never Alone originally by Dropkick Murphys.  The band has been covering these for the last couple of years and it never gets old!  It adds excitement to the set and brings the crowd in full motion.  Without a doubt, the Street Dogs played an incredible set and are a band that brings their live performance to the next level. For them, it is clear that the bar always is raised on their behalf and they always set the standard as musicians.

In the end, it was a night for the books!  Mark Lind and Josh Smith did a fantastic job setting this show up and night two at Sinclair (Cambridge, MA).  It is quite amazing what a small community can do for two families and an entire Fire Department in a time of need.  After two nights of performances, fifty thousand dollars was raised for the families of Mike Kennedy and Ed Walsh.  For anybody who attended both shows or just one of them, there is no doubt in my mind it was two shows that will never be forgotten and every was proud to be a part of.

Band(s) Info:
Duck & Cover
Burning Streets
Welch Boys
Lenny Lashley & the Gang of One
Ducky Boys
Avoid One Thing
Street Dogs

If you would like to contribute to the Firefighter Michael Kennedy and the Lieutenant Ed Walsh Memorial Fund, please use the following link: Boston Fire Credit Union/Memorial Fund Page


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