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Concert Review: Marky Ramone and Friends 6/19/05

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As a happy coincidence, get an overview of The Ramones tight HERE from uao.

Last night’s show helped to prove a couple of things for me. One, The Ramones’ music will always be alive in some form, and two, punk music, with a few exceptions, really isn’t for me. I am more of a casual Ramones fan, I have heard a bunch of their songs over the years, and they were a band that I have been meaning to check out, but kept putting off. Then I got the tribute album that Rob Zombie put together a few years back, which is excellent, and I listened to Henry Rollins relate his experience at a Ramones show. When I saw that Marky was touring with a Ramones tribute act, and that he was coming to my town, I decided I had to go. I was a little unsure of wanting to see the openers, you see, I am really not one for punk rock. I get that it is about the energy and anti-establishment and all that, but there was something about it, something intangible about the genre itself that didn’t attract me as much as say, the style of metal. I went, and what I got was a mixed bag.

I got there shortly after 7 PM to find a small crowd gathered and the first act already on the stage. The band playing was called Last Ditch Effort, and they were the best of the opening acts. I caught about 20 minutes of their set. They were a five piece featuring a female lead singer, who had apparently just joined the band. The music was tight and the singing very good. This is the kind of punk that I liked, it had some of that loose style, but there was a distinct structure and they played very well together. They joked around and seemed to generally be having a good time getting the early crowd going. This is an act I would be interested in seeing again.

Next up was a group called The Peeps. These guys were playing their hearts out, but it just didn’t do much for me. They played an upbeat, bouncy, and very loose type of punk. I felt kind of bad for these guys, the reaction from the crowd didn’t seem to be all too strong. I could see in their faces that they were dying for some crowd approval, urging for it, asking for it. They played hard, and the performance had a playful feel to it, but I just didn’t really care for it. I do wish them luck in the future.

The stage was then invaded by The Armed Suspects. Another band that did very little for me. I really didn’t care for this harder edged hardcore/punk. It was the most aggressive of the night. They also brought their own fans in the guise of some skinheads that were in the pit going through the stomp around motions and assisting the band on vocals. I just couldn’t get into them. A case of not for me, but perhaps someone else.

The final opening act had the curious name of They Hate Us. Not sure if they were just trying to be clever, or if they knew something that I didn’t. These guys were a hard act to pin down. On one hand they seemed to have a genuine creativeness to their music, but it was something that seemed failed in execution. The band seemed to have a split personality. On one hand you had a drummer, bassist, and guitar player who seemed bored and maybe a bit disinterested with the whole performance thing, not to say they were bad, but looked like they’d rather be somewhere else. The other side of the stage was a different story, the remaining two members struck me as the creative driving force. The other guitar player seemed to be attempting to channel Flea, and succeeding to some degree, flailing about in a deranged manner. The singer seemed to be alternately angry and goofy, plus he played a washboard (that’s a first for me). I can’t say I liked them, but I don’t want to be too quick to write off potential future entertainment. The crowd certainly liked them.

The time was here, it was time for Marky Ramone and Friends to show all comers just how it is done. Granted, it would have been better had all of the Ramones still been with us to take part in this, but what Marky is doing is great none the less. I had read prior to the show that Marky was planning on a set list of 30 Ramones tracks to be introduced by him from behind the drum kit, I lost track as the songs were coming at quite a pace, but that number sounds accurate. I probably recognized 10 or so songs. Like I mentioned earlier, I am not terribly familiar with the history or the song catalog, but I know what I like, and I liked this. These guys put on one helluva show, ripping through the songs with such energy. The crowd was into every second of it, singing along with many of the songs. Highlights included “Sheena was a Punk Rocker,” “Shock Treatment,” “Psychotherapy,” “The KKK Took My Baby Away,” and “I Wanna Be Sedated.” Marky sat up there behind the kit, announcing almost every song, never wasting a word. Most of it went like this “The next song is blah, blah” then the guitar player would come in with “One, Two, Three, Four!” And so it went for the next 60 minutes it was near non-stop Ramones music, it was great. I don’t recall the names of the rest of the band, but they really tore through the songs, they played great. At around the 45 minute mark the band left the stage, to return about 30 seconds later to get into an encore set, closing the night out with the classic “Blitzkrieg Bop.”

Overall, it was an up and down night, but it definitely ended on a high note. Punk may not be my genre of choice, there is some great music to be had. So remember, if Marky comes to town, go.

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