Cracking Uplifting Band: Travelling with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones from Boston, Massachusetts

If you‘ve read my earlier contribution to this blog reporting on the trip to Boston for the MMB Hometown Throwdown #20 you will immediately understand that it was an absolute no brainer to decide on following them as much as possible on their current UK/Germany tour. After all the first chance to see them again on the other side of the pond since 2011, and back then you only got to see them at 2 club shows in Vienna and Stuttgart. So I booked a flight to Manchester on Thursday, June 27, for their first show and a flight back from London on Sunday, June 30.

The Mighty Mighty BossTones (Watts Warehouse, Manchester (c) Johnny Rioux)
The Mighty Mighty BossTones (Watts Warehouse, Manchester (c) Johnny Rioux)

Arriving in Manchester early I did the usual tour visiting some record stores in the Northern Quarter not far from Piccadilly Main Central station and my hotel. After enjoying a very nice meal (recommended: Pasta Factory!) I was on my way to the British Football Museum nearby which I paid a quick visit. Again a high recommendation to anyone with the slightest interest in football, a lot of history on display.

After a short rest I made my way to the Ritz, where MMB where going to play their first UK show since early 2003. Entering through the doors I immediately met Grat, my good friend from Holland and MMB’s #1 fan, travelling to Boston for the Throwdown each and every year! Almost missed the Barstool Preachers, 1st support band fronted by T.J. McFaull, son of Collin McFaull, who’s on vocal duty for the legendary Cock Sparrer. A smart and entertaining young guy, fronting a poppy SkaPunk Band, very nice lads overall and very regular guests in Hamburg’s clubs.

Next up was Sonic Boom Six from Manchester and they play quite a variety of styles, mixing SkaPunk with Electronic Music. To be frank I didn’t really like the female singer’s voice and found their musical style rather uninspired. Their 2nd support slot made it difficult for the upcoming shows as I rather turned up late, straight to see the Bosstones perform, whereas I would not have mind to see the Barstool Preachers more often…

Then it was time for one of the best, if not THE BEST Live Band of this maltreated planet, to hit the stage. The 9 band members storming on stage as usual following the soulful introduction theme and lead vocalist Dicky Barrett introducing the band: „We are the Mighty Mighty Bosstones from Boston, Massachusetts“. Kicking the set off with the classic „Dr. D“ made everyone going nuts from the very start. They follow up playing a „very, very strong set“ as one of my best mate‘s and fellow Throwdown traveller Wriedt put it and Dicky is apologizing that the Bosstones had not played Manchester for such a long time, taking all the blame entirely on himself.

Further highlights of the set include old classics such as „Hope I Never Lose My Wallet“ or „Someday I Suppose“ as well as 3 hits of their latest album „While We’re At It“, the setlist spanning all of their 30 odd year career. As I already wrote in my Throwdown report their cover version of „I Can See Clearly Now“ is meant as a clear political message, and as I still can’t see a better way to put it:

I can see clearly now the rain is gone.
I can see all obstacles in my way.
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
bright (bright) sunshiny day.
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
bright (bright) sunshiny day

 „Look straight ahead, there’s nothing but blue skies“, that’s what we’re all hoping for once the so called „POTUS“ Trump and his fellow mischief-makers and hatemongers Bolton, Bannon aso. have hopefully disappeared without a trace. I honestly can‘t think of another band right now that has expressed their discontent and anger about the current state of political affairs in a more clever way than the Bosstones did with their latest album „While We’re At It“. Reception in Manchester was great, crowd absolutely enthusiastic, just the way it should be and what the Bosstones deserve.

Next morning I took the train to Birmingham, UK’s 2nd biggest city and a place I’ve never been to before. Finding my hotel was really easy, not far from Central station and even closer to tonight’s venue, the O2 Institute. Birmingham’s city is all new, a big, neverending shopping area with plenty of restaurants inbetween. Not really my cup of tea, I prefer cities with old buildings, nice architecture, more identity and charm to them. I still managed to visit one of the best record stores that you can find in Europe or North America. Rich, owner of Ignite Records, is a wonderful person (rather unusual for a record store owner), who manages to offer a great selection of Punk & Indie albums in his tiny little store, many of them already hard to find and up for very reasonable prices.

Arriving late at the O2 Institute I still failed to miss Sonic Boom Six as the show started later than announced. Not an issue, because that gave me the chance to have a proper talk on all things personal and MMB with Grat outside in the foyer. The O2 Institute is a rather small old theatre with a nicely decorated balcony. Again the place is well packed and I decide to join Grat in the front row for a change.

He already believes that it could be a very rowdy crowd tonight, and he was right: From the start people went apeshit in the section closer to the stage and I had to concentrate on keeping people flying about away from me. Most probably it was that, or the imperfect sound (very unusual for the Bosstones as they generally manage to have a great sound), or MMB not wearing a uniform stage outfit tonight (again:very unusual), that made the show a little less enjoyable for me.

Picture by: Juliet Hounam
Picture by: Juliet Hounam

As it would continue over the course of this tour there are a few slight changes to the setlist. The fabulous „Toxic Toast“ and the ultra classic „Devil’s Night Out“ are new treats for this show which does close with the perfect „A Pretty Sad Excuse“ as the final song.

After the show Grat & me plus some fellow MMB travellers decide to visit a pub for a drink. What started very unspectacular with a handful of people in a small pub should turn into a really crazy and memorable night. I love it when you expect absolutely nothing and than you are suddenly in for a big surprise.

The following 2.5 hours we had a couple of pints with a nice Punk Rock couple from Chesterfield, Rebellion Festival Blackpool regulars who had also traveled to Birmingham for the Bosstones show, we followed the regular pub DJ from spinning some 2-Tone classics, to playing Clash, Upstarts, Sham 69, UK Subs and the Members, pleasing 2 old mods (almost 70?) all dressed up in suit and tie, doing their dance moves to „Poison Ivy“ from the Lambrettas and the Spencer Davis Group, having the pub singing along to Tenpole Tudor and Jilted John: „Gordon Is A Moron“!

Just before the last call a Liam Gallagher Lookalike got Stone Roses‘ „I Am The Ressurection“, what an anthem! It was also really nice to meet a couple of Aston Villa and Birmingham City fans, who were part of the Football Lads Against Fascism movement and loved the fact that I am from Hamburg and a long time St. Pauli supporter. Great to see just how much our club and what it stands for is respected in the world.

A night to remember, probably even unusual for British standards looking at the blank expression on the DJ’s wife face watching people singing along and dancing crazy. And a night that can only happen this way in an English Pub with the subcultural background that the UK has. 

… and on to the capital, the City of London. After arriving midday I met with my english friends from Worthing near Brighton, Jay and Andrea. I had met Jay 2 years ago in Munich when I was „on tour“ with Rocket from the Crypt. Great guy and RFTC supporter, who was keen to see MMB again, same as his lovely wife Andrea. It was extremely hot in London, approx. 35°C, feeling even hotter with the high humidity. We went to Camden, had a few drinks (too many!) and Pizza, meeting a couple more friends, and headed late to the Forum in Kentish Town, formerly known as The Town & Country Club.

I’ve seen a lot of shows here while I was living in London 30 years ago in the late 80’s and really love the place. Great turnout, almost sold out, and the most enthusiastic and friendly one yet. Everyone dancing, happy faces all around, people thoroughly enjoying themselves & being ever so grateful to be able to see the Mighty Mighty Bosstones again.

MMB all in uniform suits again today, black trousers & pink jackets, looking great, and they even changed the bass drum facing to reflect this. Once again they change the setlist a little and play „Wasted Summers“ tonight, an absolute fave of mine. A song that they will always play is „Let’s Face It“, the band’s credo I believe. And although we put the lyrics up in this blog before, let’s do it again as it is so bloody important in these troubled times, and there is no better way to put it:

Why were we put here?
What for?
We’re unsure
We sure weren’t put here to hate

Be racist, be sexist
Be bigots, be sure

If you want to tattoo a meaningful phrase, why not let it be this one.

Back to the lighter side of life: if you have to pick 3 songs that made fans dance the most it’s got to be „Rascal King“, „Don’t Worry Desmond Dekker“ & the inevitable smash hit „The Impression That I Get“: People literally storming the dance floor and dancing all over the club up to the very last row.

The band at it’s absolute best tonight, just like the crowd. Looking at Dicky while the band played an instrumental part it looks to me as if he is absolutely overwhelmed, really enjoying the great crowd reaction and response MMB are getting in London, letting it all sink in. The headline for my travel review comes from a text message of Jay’s friend, who stated that tonight’s show and the Bosstones were „cracking uplifting“.

Great comment and I guess there are no better words to describe tonight’s enjoyment and seeing the Bosstones perform live. After a nice afternoon at London’s Brick Lane – just love the multicultural setting – I arrived back at Hamburg late that Sunday night.

After a fabulous show in Hamburg, my Hometown Throwdown so to say (very accurately reviewed by Dos Alert in this blog), I did miss MMB’s Berlin show because of clash of dates. I was in Berlin that Wednesday night with my mate Wriedt but we „had“ to see the Stray Cats return to the live circuit. Probably a mistake, as Bosstones shows in Berlin in the late 90’s/early 00’s always ranked among the very best for me, and although the Stray Cats received an enthusiastic welcome from the sold out Columbia Club crowd I found their performance rather routine and half-hearted.

But this is still not the end of this (long, sorry…) story as we had booked a trip to the Mission Ready festival in Würzburg the following Saturday. It was the first MMB show that we booked at the beginning of the year and at that point it looked as if the Bosstones where only to come over for a festival weekend beginning of June. Me & my mates try to avoid festivals really, exceptions are Rebellion Blackpool and the wonderful Punk Rock Raduno in Bergamo, but as Mission Ready is a one dayer we could all agree to go on that 4 hour train ride down South.

Leaving Hamburg early morning Saturday we arrived at Würzburg without much of a delay early afternoon, rather unusual for Deutsche Bahn train services. Travelling with a group of 9 people 5 of us decided to make their way to the festival straight away, 4 stayed behind to share a cab later that afternoon.

So Wriedt, Frank & Yvonne plus me decided to relax a little in Würzburg first and have some lunch plus a couple of drinks – obviously… Then we went on our way to the festival grounds, approx. 20 km away at an old airfield in Giebelstadt. When we arrived the Rumjacks from Australia were playing the Punk Rock Stage, and as often the case I prefer to see their Irish Punk Rock in a smaller club, fits much better from my point of view.

As I never cared for the Ryker’s we kept on drinking Keiler lager and made friends with some locals. Sitting on the long benches in the sun (it was really hot), talking to strangers that are sharing the same taste in music and enjoying the great selection of drinks and food on offer was a major part of the fun being here. Nice people all around, no aggression or violence (not even too many complete drunks), really clean sanitary facilities plus wonderful, independent catering made this festival one of the absolute better ones, or as Dicky put it later: „We play many many festivals, but the one’s in Europe are so much better than the ones in the US“.

We made a break talking/making friends and went to the Punk Rock stage to see No Fun At All from Sweden play. Also in the game for almost 30 years I must admit I never cared much for them, do not own any of their records and can’t recall having ever seen them play live. They do sound pretty similar to Pennywise for my ears, not bad at all, but not too special either, might as well stick with the original.

Without any break music continued on the 2nd stage, the Hardcore stage where Cro-Mags were up next. I do prefer John Joseph’s Cro-Mags, always liked his way of stage acting and singing, and after reading his Autobiography „The Evolution of a Cro-Magnon“ I had even more respect for him. Most definitely a real, streetwise hardcore guy, and when he sings about „Street Justice“, „Hard Times“ or „Survival Of The Streets“ you can believe every word of it.

They put on a really good show, I liked it much better than seeing them some time ago in Berlin supporting the magnificent Modern Life Is War, and it was one of the last shows playing as Cro-Mags as they have to rename themselves into Cro-Mags JM from now (J=Joseph/M=Mackie, the 2 original members). Bass player and madman Harley Flanagan keeping the Cro-Mags name. I’ll stick with Cro-Mags JM, although you cannot see them that often, with their set only consisting of the legendary „Age of Quarrel“ album in full plus a few others already for some years now.  

Straight after Talco from Italy played the Punk Rock Stage and pulled a really good crowd. People love their left wing politics brass sound, we enjoyed their St. Pauli song of course (well, apart from father and son Schreiber that is, as they support HSV, „that other“ Hamburg football club): „pirati a St. Pauli, banditi a St. Pauli“…

Then it was back to drinking and talking, making friends with the Southeners as I do not care for Ignite anymore and was not impressed by Millencolin from Sweden either. Meanwhile we had a new arrival at our long bench, Volker, who had come to the festival with his family, and his story is one of the stories I absolutely love, and remarkable enough there are quite a few of these stories surrounding MMB, just shows passion of people for the band.

Volker had convinced his family, wife and kids, to drive to the camping at Mission Ready as part of their holiday, and after cooking a nice meal for them he left them and made his way to the festival to see his favorite band of all time, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. What a lovely person, same as the young Vic Ruggiero (The Slackers) Lookalike from Stuttgart who had a tattoo of his little daughter on his chest and a 1 Liter cup of Cuba Libre hanging around his neck. We instantly decided to buy one of those at the festival Cocktail Bar prior to the Bosstones hitting the stage.

It had turned dark now and the Hardcore Stage headliner Agnostic Front had taken the stage. By now almost everyone at the festival was in attendance, I guess approx. 7.000 people. We heard Agnostic Front play a really great set, including all the old and new classics, from „Friend Or Foe“ or „Crucified“ to „Gotta Go“. As planned we had bought our Cuba Libre and took our positions in front of the Punk Rock Stage for the Bosstones show. Different than the usual MMB club show they had their banner already hanging on the stage and we took the opportunity
to shoot some nice photos:

After Agnostic Front had played the last chord there was only a very short intro and the Bosstones directly took the Punk Rock Stage with „Old School Off The Bright“. We all agreed that the sound was brilliant, especially for an Open Air festival, great! So we were treated to the brilliant „Everybody’s Better“ one more time, another setlist regular with it’s witty chorus: „To Be King You Don’t Need A Castle“. Pinpoints & Ginjoints‘ „Graffity Worth Reading“, „Sunday Afternoons On Wisdom Ave.“ from The Magic of Youth album or „Green Bay Wisconsin“ from their latest „While We’re At It“ album.

Having met Dave Vermillion, bassist of Washington DC’s terrific Ska band Pietasters at Bosstones Hometown Throwdown 1.5 years ago, and staying in touch with that nice guy since, I still wonder what

She met the guy that plays the bass for the Pietasters
She had little to no interest, but he chased her
Scalawags Scally cap and Sherman suit
Inequity and ill repute
She drank a pint of Guinness Stout and got away      

is all about… Have to find out sometime when the Pietasters are playing some shows in Europe again (hopefully), having a drink with Dave.

It was great to see MMB playing another wonderful set, Dicky introducing the band one more time and of course I could go on and on praising every one of the Glorious Nine, but this report has become very, very long already. Thanks Dicky, Joe, Ben, Chris, Tim, Lawrence, John, Joe and Leon Silva, „the newest, youngest and some say best looking Bosstone of all time“ – you made a lot of people very, very happy!

Having followed this tour to some extent I can report that I’ve met a lot of people who told me that finally seeing the Bosstones live is a long dream come true for them. Young and old, different backgrounds, this band truly unifies, same as only Rancid, Specials, and a few others can from my point of view. Hope to see you play Europe again soon(er).

With the very last chords of „Pretty Sad Excuse“, which was mixed with „Unified“, and MMB leaving the stage, there was lightning in the sky and some heavy rain came down. Seemed like the gods are angry about MMB finishing this set and their European tour… Luckily only for a short moment so that we could make our way to the bus shuttle to take us back to Würzburg and our B&B.

After a rather short night we were lucky to get on an earlier train around noon. So it was back to Hamburg in the train restaurant for the 9 of us. Drinks again and lots of fun, including playing Kerresinho‘s Hardcore Bands quartet game (with contribution by Dos Alert).

It must have been the alcohol and too little sleep (again) that made me laugh hysterically when it was my turn and I had the Cro-Mags card up for play: I knew immediately that you can’t beat the Cro-Mags when it comes to the  „Distance from CBGB’s“ question: 0km, that’s close and as Wriedt asked: „Did they live there?“. We must have been extremely loud and noisy and really wondered why the train crew really seemed to like us, even being sorry leaving the train because of a crew change.

One of those unsolved mysteries…

Finally I would like to promote touring and travelling for the bands and music you love once more. At least for me there is a hardly anything better than seeing live music in various places, being able to compare venues, sound, band form, cities and last but not least meeting fans and people – ideally and as happened quite a few times already making long or even life lasting friendships with people of other countries.

Cheers Grat, Jay & Andrea, great to know you!

Thanks to Jay for London Pics.

And fanx to Frosch for providing this excellent storyline … indeed #thereaintnuthinbetterthanlivemusic!

… mutual appreciation: Back together after 21 years and still in love.

Oh Boy, that was just like the Descendents last year: They took 21 years to come back, for them BossTones it took also 21 years to grace Hamburg again. Unfortunately not at the Markthalle, though the Freiheit would provide more space to people (but with a much more annoying setup).

That’s a hell of a time away from us over here, though one specific Punk Rock Hamburg connoisseur and BossTones maniac took every effort to see them (travelling near and far). Next to him plenty of mates where around and the show i guess was near full (or maybe even sold out).

On tour with The Mighty Mighty BossTones where The Bar Stool Preachers, Brightons brightest. Last time i saw them i noted „i wish them making it big“ and that is how they returned to Hamburg (yet again): On a big stage, supporting a big band.

The setting was professional rock show again, they had to set up their gear in front of the BossTones stuff, luckily the stage at the Freiheit is indeed spacious.

The Bar Stool Preachers (Grosse Freiheit 36, Hamburg, 02.07.2019 (c)

They had to kick off early and thus to a small circle of friends in front of the stage. But song by song not only that circle did grow but also the rest of the audience got into them. By the end they and their stage charm commandeered the audience and they got good feedback. For my ears though they sound more and more polished and professional but i still wish them to keep growing and find commercial success too.

And with a swift and professional changeover that made way for the lot from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Dark stage, surprise reveal of the rather orange back drop and … 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 … 9 BossTones entering the stage and storming into The Rascal King.

The Mighty Mighty BossTones (Grosse Freiheit 36, Hamburg, 02.07.2019 (c)

From the first chords and from the first vocals of Dicky the BossTones magic was there. The space to front was for Dicky, the space on the wings was for Ben and they where supported by the massive backline: John on Keyboard (behind a neat cover), Lawrence on guitar, Tim on Sax, Joe on drums, Chris and Leon on further brass and Joe on Bass.

The Mighty Mighty BossTones (Grosse Freiheit 36, Hamburg, 02.07.2019 (c)

For a fun moment i imagined that troupe on the smaller stages of my preferred clubs, eg. Hafenklang or Monkeys, and i had to admit to myself that it would not work. They need space, they need also volume of sound and that is what the Freiheit provided perfectly. And it also provided plenty of space for the audience to dance thus indeed a dance party the whole show would turn into.

The Mighty Mighty BossTones (Grosse Freiheit 36, Hamburg, 02.07.2019 (c)

They played like 25 songs and for almost for two hours, including songs from all records and including crowd pleasing covers like Simmer Down (from the Wailers) and a brilliant I can see clearly now adaption (originally by Johnny Nash), that made the audience sing in the loudest possible way.

And whilst at it, they took that excitement to further heights by storming into The Impression That I Get to finish off the set. But sure it was not the end of it, they came back and Dicky specifically came back with a hats off to Hamburg shirt: He was sporting one of the neat Rude Boys Hamburg shirts that indeed makes any bearer a beauty (and yes, i have one too).

The Mighty Mighty BossTones (Grosse Freiheit 36, Hamburg, 02.07.2019 (c)

I did not dance all the two hours but was sure emotionally uplifted (to phrase it mild), others where all sweaty and soaking wet and where just our of their mind happy. It was one of these shows where a large contingent, mostly in front of the stage, looked at each other after the last chord with a fucking big smile.

Did the music really end? Where am I? What happened?

Bad thing was it was the Freiheit. Upon the last chord still running around from the wall to wall the bouncers forcibly push out customers from the front of the stage to the exit, denying them to exchange enjoyment and replenishment of liquids. Stupid practice, also commercially as then more beer is consumed elsewhere.

Some of me mates now will follow them BossTones further, one of them saw them in England too and will report back on the show at the Forum in London on the previous weekend in due cause. That one also had a lucky wife, as she was gifted with Dickys sunglasses during the set, he has an eye for die-hard fans!

And straight from his point of view, here is his account of the proceedings:

For me, being the "crazy guy that travels and tours with the BossTones" it was absolutely wonderful to see the excitement, joy and sheer happiness expressed on people's faces and friends reaction after the fabulous BossTones show in Hamburg. 

Absolutely overwhelmed by their intense show and still raving after a couple of days I am sure friends will think quite a bit different about touring with MMBT now, and understand that this is the band that you can't see often enough, you have to grab any chance!

They will never ever disappoint, not on record and surely not playing live. Dos Alert hit the nail on the head when he compared the Interrupters show a week before to this one: 

Both bands put on a show, but where The Interrupters one seemed like a routine the BossTones one was played with passion. Heart & Soul and highly intensive, that's what differentiates the BossTones from the majority of bands, and the only show that equaled this one at Große Freiheit in recent years was the Specials comeback in 2011, where they also got each and everyone dancing. 

Being in contact with Dicky next day he confirmed that they could feel the love and that they are very happy about it. So let's all hope that they won't take that long to come back this time and play more shows in Europe in the next couple of years!   


I was just happy as a fuck that they where back, that they where just incredibly (or maybe stunningly) great and i was wondering whatever made me attending that other professional rock show recently. How stupid.  Let’s collectively hope that Dicky overcomes his laziness and is willing to put another Hamburg date on the map in say … a few years.

We’re the MIGHTY MIGHTY BOSSTONES from Boston, Massachusetts, and it was that Time of Year again!

This is the 2nd time I am writing about my travel adventures to Boston to see MMB perform in front of their home crowd and if you’d like to read the full story in German you‘ll have to buy the OX Magazine, accompanied by a brilliant photo sponsored by Jay Hale from Fat City Magazine (thanks Jay!).

Actually it’s the 3rd time that I went to Boston for the Throwdown: 2010, 2012 and now in 2017 and the first time and this year weather conditions were pretty crazy. A heavy blizzard and amounts of snow that I hadn’t seen since I was a child almost spoiled the Throwdown in 2010 & the coldest temperatures ever recorded in Boston at the end of December welcomed my mate Wriedt and me in 2017 (- 20°C). City sightseeing during the day was a pretty freezing affair… I surely wouldn’t complain about a summer Throwdown, I love Boston but would want to see it in sunshine, with leaves on the trees for a change…

Hometown Throwdown #20 (House of Blues, Boston, 28.-30.12.2017) (c)

Same as for my review in OX #137, let’s report on it night by night:

1st Night: Different than the years before the Bosstones invited fans for the Meet & Greet to the Foundation Room of the House of Blues instead of the McGreevy’s (a brilliant pub owned by Ken Casey of the Dropkick Murphys). Enjoying meeting old and new friends and the band we had to give the 2 support acts a miss unfortunately: Doped Up Dollies (female back up of Big D and the Kids Table) & Piebald had to give it a go without our support.

MMB had decided to kick off the Throwdown by performing their double platinum hit record LET’S FACE IT in full. The 20th anniversary of this fantastic hit by hit record, containing the title song that might sum up what MMB is all about best:

We sure weren’t put here to hate
Be racist, be sexist
Be bigots, be sure
We won’t stand for your hate

Such great lyrics mean so much in these crazy times.

MMB continued to play a dozen more songs across their 30-year career as a band that night, one of them a Johnny Nash cover version: “I Can See Clearly Now”, which they performed every night and which served as a protest song against the current state of the world and the US of A Government presently in charge in particular:

Gone are the dark clouds that had me down
Raising hope for better times
It’s gonna be a bright bright bright bright sun shiny day

The Mighty Mighty BossTones (House of Blues, Boston, 28.12.2017 (c) 2018)
The Mighty Mighty BossTones (House of Blues, Boston, 28.12.2017 (c) 2018)

2nd Night: We arrived early at the House of Blues to catch VIC RUGGIERO of SLACKERS fame starting off the evening with a rather quiet set of acoustic songs. Then a murmur went through the crowd and Bostons mayor Marty Walsh officially declared what fans could already read in the Boston Globe and several Punk Rock websites the day before:

December 28 is the official „MIGHTY MIGHTY BOSSTONES Day“. What an honor for the band!

Later on during the set Dicky is going to tell the audience what kind of liberties he took „on his Day“: Shopping in the city without paying and parking his car in the middle of Boston’s busiest crossroad – it’s his city after all!

Next on stage are the RUDE BONES from Japan, a long running fellow ska core band MMB had toured with before and invited especially for their 20th Anniversary. They really got the crowd going and played a nice cover of THE SPECIALS “Little Bitch” at the end of their set. As a side note: While the lyrics to their songs are sung in English, the singer couldn’t speak without notes when addressing the crowd, he had to read every word off a notepad. Pretty funny.

Then we got treated to another 25 MMB songs cutting across all of their albums. Dicky points out once more that this year’s Throwdown raffle benefits the Shout Syndicate, a fund supporting youth arts projects, something the current government has absolutely no interest in as Dicky emphasized. Look out for recent interviews, Dicky is making absolutely clear what he thinks of Donald Trump, same as he did when George W. Bush was in charge.

The DOGMATICS cover of “Xmas time (sure don’t feel like)” opens the encore tonight, Xmas as seen from the perspective of a homeless guy, and they do have a really tough time in these kind of weather conditions! This thought-provoking song is followed by the fan favorite “Toxic Toast” and the wonderful “A pretty sad excuse”.

HTTD20 - SET LIST - DAY 2 ( (c) 2018)
HTTD20 – SET LIST – DAY 2 ( (c) 2018)

3rd Night: With the first 2 nights almost selling out there are absolutely no tickets available for tonight’s show. KICKED IN THE HEAD from Boston kicked this show off, followed by the mighty PIETASTERS from Washington, a band I was extremely looking forward to see once again, it must have been 20 years when they played Hamburg the last time. One of the very best in the genre, although their Ska is rather Soul infused with only a little bit of punk in the mix. Stephen Jackson has a phenomenal, very soulful voice and the 5 horn players are pushing their sound all the time.

Playing songs spanning their 27 year long career I could have done with some more songs from “Willis”, widely considered PIETASTERS best album – although I really love each and every one of them. Let’s hope they somehow manage to tour Europe again sometime soon – not exactly easy for a Big Band like this.

Following on from this perfect support MMB kicked into a brilliant, really strong set themselves. “I want my city back” and “They came to Boston” paid tribute to THE city early on. Saxophone player Tim “Johnny Vegas” Burton singing “Chocolate Pudding” was a special and rare, or rather “Medium Rare” (lol), treat.

Time for some statistics: If you are travelling to the Hometown Throwdown you’re not seeing the same show every night, all in all MMB play close to 60 songs spread across the 3 nights. I did count 5 songs that were played every night: “Someday I suppose”, “Rascal King”, I can see clearly now”, “Don’t worry Desmond Dekker”, the song about friendship and unity that you will always find in a MMB set list I suppose, next to the inevitable “The impression that I get”, their biggest hit to date, still played on the radios and turntables worldwide 20 years after it’s release.

I also had to think about the many smash hits that they didn’t play: “So sad to say”, “Wasted summers” or “The daylights” – just proves what an extraordinary band MMB are. Later in the set we got treated to the absolute highlight of this Throwdown, and of any Throwdown I’ve been to until now. MMB perform the PIETASTERS song “Ocean” together with them, same as “The Impression that I get” and finally, of course, “Lights Out” to end the regular set. With the power of 8 horn players on stage and 4 vocalists singing “A little bit ugly” this was a very, very special treat.

Next to Dicky, Stephen Jackson and the singer of a MMB cover band from Chicago the vocalist of the Australian Skapunk Legend PORKERS took the stage for this song. On the guitar, on all 3 nights of the Throwdown, MMB were joined by a special friend for a couple of songs, Tim Brennan from the DROPKICK MURPHYS.

Tonight’s encores are “737/Shoe glue” and “Pirate ship”, hardcore fan favorites to end a great night. The night shouldn’t end just yet though as we joined the aftershow party at the Foundation Room once more. While my mate Wriedt got his old MMB show tickets signed bassist Joe Gittleman told us that the new MMB album called „While we’re at it“ should be out in May (might be June or July now), dancer Ben Carr would love to tour Europe again, hopefully that works out with the new album being released. And hopefully they return to the Markthalle in Hamburg, there are still so many fond memories from their last show there. Give it a try MMB’s!

Hometown Throwdown #20 Aftershow Party (House of Blues, Boston, 30.12.2017) (c)

Last but not least my dutch mate Grat, who must be Bosstones worldwide supporter #1, never missing a Throwdown, got presented with the bass drum logo for the 20th Throwdown by drummer extraordinaire Joe Sirois. A nice addition to his MMB museum in Venlo (he is still hoping that MMB will open it officially some day).

Grat & Joe with HTTD20 Bassdrum Cover ( (c) 2018)
Grat & Joe with HTTD20 Bassdrum Cover ( (c) 2018)

New Year’s day in Boston: NYE got spoiled by the weather somehow, no fireworks due to the extreme cold. Still had a great night out at McGreevy’s with pictures to prove it… Before our flight back to Hamburg on 1st Jan 2018 we visited the Middle East club in Cambridge, home to many Throwdowns and the MMB “Live at the Middle East” album from 1998.

And we got really lucky. Started a conversation with the barkeeper, dutch old school punk Paul, and as he was showing us around the owner took over and showed us everything, including the main club downstairs, with a limited capacity of 575, and the double platinum record of “Let’s Face It” on their wall. Unfortunately, the Middle East became far too small for MMB as the owner is pointing out, tickets were sold in a couple of minutes…

NYE at The Middle East (Middele East, Boston, 31.12.2017) (c)

A superb finish to another great trip to Boston to see the best band in the world. We got lucky and just missed even more severe weather conditions that would have led to flight cancellations and made the news back home. I’ll be back for sure when MMB play their 25th Hometown Throwdown in 2022!

(A big KISS to Frosch and Wriedt for this one, a more than worthy show to report on late – thus here you are (4 month into 2018). Let’s hope them BossTones indeed release a new record and make a surprise stint in Hamburg just like them Descendents)