The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
with the Gadjits and Flogging Molly
The House of Blues, Orlando, FL • October 3, 2000
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones are one of the greatest bands that anyone can ever see live, in my opinion. I spent about two months looking forward to the show, and even though it was my third time seeing them live, they did not disappoint me.
First up, the Gadjits. I wasn’t sure what to expect from them. They had the usual guitar, bass, drums, and a girl playing a keyboard. Apparently, the Bosstones assigned them the task of making the crowd feel good. So they launched into a set of melodic punk with rockabilly and country influences that didn’t incite moving around, but I certainly felt good. The synth riffs over the music provided a unique and almost old-fashioned touch to their sound. As the singer reminded the crowd many times during the set, the Gadjits are from Kansas City. I wish that more people had arrived early to see them, because there was hardly a crowd to start out with.
I’ll admit, I knew nothing about Flogging Molly when I walked into the House of Blues. A while after the Gadjits finished, a strange Celtic tune sung a cappella filled the sound system. It went on for just a little too long, but Flogging Molly was worth the wait. The entire set consisted of fast, brash, noisy punk rock with an Irish accent. How can I say anything bad about a band with a fiddle player, an accordion player, and what I think was a sitar player? The lead singer is about as Irish as you can get (or he does a very good job pretending to be). During the set, the band probably downed more Guinness than two-for-one night at an Irish pub. To me, it got old after awhile, but my friend was crazy about it.
Now the HOB was full of people. I have never seen so many people wearing suits with mohawks in my life. All ages and walks of life turned out to see the Bosstones. Dicky Barrett and the boys exploded onto the stage, seized control, and didn’t let up for the rest of the night. I know that many people do not take the Bosstones[not equal] music seriously; however, I think the Bosstones’ live show can erase all criticisms. Barrett is a phenomenal entertainer, and somehow makes gimmicks like throwing his tie out to the crowd work. Also, the “Boss-tone,” Ben Carr, whose sole purpose in life is to dance around onstage, works the audience. The band covered all the bases, from their older songs to hits from Let’s Face It, such as “The Impression That I Get” and “The Rascal King.” One song that I noted as being absent was the single from their latest album, Pay Attention, called “So Sad To Say.” Perhaps I missed it as I was fighting to stay upright in between crazy old guys in suits and kids wearing plaid.
One thing that I’ve always enjoyed about the Bosstones is the level of audience participation. Barrett pulled people out of the crowd to come up on stage, like two guys who were made to hug to show their unity. This backfired on Barrett later, as an eager kid accidentally pulled him off the stage and onto the hard floor. That had to hurt. But the show went on, and during the last song, members of the Orlando, Florida ska band the Spitvalves climbed up on stage. After the Bosstones exited, the noisy crowd demanded more, and the Bosstones played more.
The interesting mix of music made for an awesome night. If you are a fan of ska, or punk, or hardcore, or just good music, go and see these pioneers of the ska-core genre. I don’t see too many bands now that really know how to entertain, but the Bosstones have it down to a science. I can’t wait until they come to town again.