There was a sense of anticipation in my car as I drove to The Armory on Saturday night. Not only was I going to see a favorite band of mine, I was also going to see one that I knew nothing about and one that I have been wanting to see for years. It’s not often that I feel that much anticipation on my way to a show but I bounced my happy butt up to the will-call counter at The Armory with a sense of excitement that really set the tone for the night.
My timing was perfect and almost as soon as I walked into the beautiful Armory, opening act THICK was taking the stage. This was the band that I knew nothing about but, based on the rest of the line-up, I knew I was going to love it. This Brooklyn-based trio wasted no time jumping into their set that, although only twenty-five minutes long, probably could have lasted for hours and you wouldn’t have heard a single complaint from the quickly growing crowd. Their music is fast, in your face, and a bit aggressive while being completely accessible. Their lyrics hit right to the core and mostly spoke of the hardships of being a woman which, as a woman, I thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed. The amount of energy these three women brought to the stage and audience was staggering and, although this was their first full US tour, it surely won’t be their last. THICK is absolutely on my radar now and they should be on yours too!
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes are a supergroup and that’s seriously an understatement. With an ever-changing line-up of legendary musicians from the punk scene, this cover band is fun, eccentric, and, did I mention fun?
Following THICK was the band that I had been wanting to see for years and, outside of catching a few tracks in passing at Riot Fest a few years ago, I’ve just never really had the opportunity– until now. Me First and the Gimme Gimmes are a supergroup and that’s seriously an understatement. With an ever-changing line-up of legendary musicians from the punk scene, this cover band is fun, eccentric, and, did I mention fun? Although I didn’t catch who all was performing in the band last night, I did catch that CJ Ramone (yes, from The Ramones) was on bass and Andrew “Pinch” Pinching from The Damned was on drums. I heard the name Adolescents at some point during the introduction and I know that vocalist Spike Slawson is from Swingin’ Utters– what I’m trying to say is the list of legendary bands represented on stage during Me First’s set was staggering and added a spark to the set. Okay, enough about the members- let’s dive into Me First’s music. Well, they are a cover band. Excuse me, I meant to say “The best cover band”. Performing songs that ranged from “OnThe Road Again” by Willie Nelson to “Rocket Man” by Elton John, this band had the entire audience dancing and smiling from ear to ear. Sure, maybe the cover band thing caught some people off guard as it’s not standard practice for giant shows like this but it didn’t take long for people to catch on and fall in love. My favorite track that they performed on Saturday night was definitely their cover of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. Admitting that no set was complete without a show tune and who doesn’t love show tunes, just hearing an edgier punk rendition of this track was amazing and so fun. Their highly energetic set was definitely a highlight of the night for me and I truly wished it had lasted longer but we still had two legendary bands that needed to take the stage.
I’ll be honest, I saw Violent Femmes back in the summer of 2019 and, although fun, they just didn’t blow me out of the water with energy or anything. That changed last night. They powered through their set with a sense of fury and fun while the audience danced and sang their way through it until the final note.
Although I cheated and knew the line-up of this co-headlining tour based on the set times my photographer let me peek at, there was a roar of applause as Me First’s banner was torn down and the audience saw the simple black banner with the name “Violent Femmes” on it. I’ll be honest, I saw Violent Femmes back in the summer of 2019 and, although fun, they just didn’t blow me out of the water with energy or anything. That changed last night. Maybe it was the change of setting, maybe it was the fact that it was the last night on an extensive tour, regardless- they powered through their set with a sense of fury and fun while the audience danced and sang their way through it until the final note was left hanging in the air. Much like the line-up of Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Violent Femmes are a legendary band. Celebrating over forty years as a band, it honestly feels like not much has changed with them. Their sound is still their distinct brand of folk-punk music and their songs still resonate with even the younger generation. There’s just something so timeless about Violent Femmes and their music and that was definitely felt throughout their hour-long set. Much like the last time I saw them, I was pleasantly surprised by the perfectly curated setlist. Although they could play for hours on end, they were able to pick seventeen songs that showcased all of the different sides of this band. From slow and steady to chaotic and in your face, hits and b-sides– seriously it was just perfect and I loved how engaging their live show was without trying to be anyone other than who they are- Violent Femmes.
One thing that really struck me about Flogging Molly’s set on Saturday was vocalist Dave King’s mention of not only First Avenue, but also The Dubliner. Although the chances of catching this band in an intimate venue like First Avenue are slim to none, I loved that he remembers those days.
Closing out the amazing Saturday night show was everyone’s favorite Celtic punk band- Flogging Molly (okay, I know that’s a bit presumptuous, but I mean, you can’t not love these guys). Much like the other bands before them, Flogging Molly wasted no time and jumped right into their set that was full of hits, new tracks, old tracks, and so much energy that I just can not put it into words. Although I’ve seen Flogging Molly numerous other times, there was something special about their set last night. Maybe it was the fact that it has been some time since I saw them last or maybe it was the excitement of successfully completing a thirty-day tour as the world is still grappling with the ongoing pandemic. Whatever it was, Flogging Molly’s set was on point on Saturday night. Although it was so fun to hear some of my favorite tracks from this band like “Drunken Lullabies” and “The Seven Deadly Sins”, it was an absolute treat to hear them play their brand new song “Croppy Boy” and revisit some old favorites like “Black Friday Rule”. Regardless of what track the band was playing, the audience was eating it up and quickly turning into a beautiful sweaty mess. One thing that really struck me about Flogging Molly’s set on Saturday was vocalist Dave King’s mention of not only First Avenue, but also The Dubliner. Although the chances of catching this band in an intimate venue like First Avenue are slim to none, I loved that he remembers those days. I’m a huge believer in always remembering your roots and where you came from so to see that sentimental and nostalgic side of this band truly made my night.
Every band that took the stage brought a sense of energy, power, and gratitude to The Armory on Saturday night and that was all reciprocated by the excited and packed audience. It was the perfect Saturday night show and I truly hope you got to experience it.
Venue: The Armory
Smell-O-Meter: Nothing Notable
Average Age of the Crowd: 42
Crowd Surfers: 3 spotted but I’m sure there were more– I just couldn’t see
Mosh-ability: 6 out of 10
Sausage-Fest Meter: 6 out of 10
Stage Divers: None
Amount of Beer Spilled On Me While Walking Around: None
Broken Bones: None Noticed
Spotted Flying Through The Air: A few drinks, a few bodies
Fights: None Witnessed
Pukers: None Witnessed
Idiots Taken Out By Security: 0
How Many Times I’ve Seen These Bands Before (or at least how many times I can remember):
Violent Femmes: 1
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes: 1
Floggin Molly: 6
Celebrity Sightings: Amanda Grace
Overall Score: 8.4 out of 10
Show on Deck: Combichrist / Davey Suicide / Modern Mimes