Photos and Review by Chris Besaw
It another above average hot and humid day in Upstate, NY. That didn’t stop fans from packing into Art Park, nestled on the bank of the Niagara River in historic Lewiston, NY to catch “The Boston to Berkeley II: tour featuring co-headliners Rancid and Dropkick Murphys along with special guest The Bronx.
Getting things kicked off in true hardcore punk style was Los Angeles natives, The Bronx. I first saw the Bronx perform a few years back at Camp Anarchy and have been looking forward to catching them again. They are a great choice as an opener, delivering a high energy performance that got the crowd primed for the headliners. Front man, Matt Caughthran backed up by Joby Ford (guitars), Ken Horne (guitar), Brad Magers (bass), and Joey Castillo (drums) brought a great mix of songs such as “Heart Attack American,” “Six Days A Week” and “History’s Stranglers” to name a few. Overall a great set and if you get the chance I recommend checking them out if you can!
Next up… Rancid! I am no stranger to seeing this amazing band live and the Berkeley punk legends did not disappoint! From the moment the intro faded, Tim Armstrong and Lars Fredericksen hit the stage firing on all cylinders backed up by bassist Matt Freeman and Drummer Branden Steineckert. They wasted no time starting their set with “Roots Radicals.” Not only was the crowd ready but it was absolute chaos and slam dancing, a site I have missed over this past year! The band played a fantastic mix of songs from their 30-year history. Highlights included, “Maxwell Murder,” “Telegraph Avenue,” and one of my personal favorites “Rejected.” Lars took a moment between songs and the chaos to thank the fans for their unwavering support of the band over the years and for sticking by them especially during the last year. Not only was their set amazingbut I feel it needs pointing out that this past Sunday also marked the band 26th birthday of the album And Out Come the Wolveswhich made the night special for all.
The stage goes dark, the smoke rolls in and “Foggy Dew” starts pumping through the speakers. The crowd is chanting that familiar battle cry “Let’s Go Murphys.” The intro cuts and a spotlight shines as Jeff DaRosa begins to play “The State of Massachusetts.” It didn’t take long before singers Ken Casey and Al Barr run onto to stage followed by the rest of gang! The crowd was even wilder than ever, singing along, crowd surfing and just enjoying themselves despite the hot temperatures all evening! One thing that can be said about the Dropkick Murphys is that they know how to put on one hell of show, whether it’s your first time or your 100th these guys go all in each time! The Dropkicks played some hard-hitting classics, “Boys on the Docks,” and” Citizen C.I.A.,” They also mixed in some newer tracks off their latest album Turn Up That Dial, like the poignant and tongue in cheek “Middle Finger,” and “Mick Jones Nicked My Pudding” a humorous song about Mick Jones of the Clash helping himself to the bands pudding years ago. Ken Casey took a moment to thank the crowd for coming out and reminded them that after all these years the band does not take their fans for granted and that they mean the world to them. He also asked if anyone had caught their livestream events over the last year and as weird as it was to play them it doesn’t compare to standing in front of everyone and playing before a live audience.
One of the amazing highlights from the night was Lars Fredericksen and Tim Armstrong of Rancid joining the Murphys on stage for “Barroom Hero.” It was great seeing them perform together. As their set was drawing to a close, Ken quipped and asked if anyone knew of a special birthday this evening? He asked the excited crowd if they knew that “…And Out Come the Wolves” turned 26? “Why don’t you all help us wish Rancid a happy birthday?” Ken screamed as the band started “HappyBirthday Mother Fucker.” Again, can’t express how wonderful it was to see them perform after the craziness of the previous year. The band closed out their set with “I’m Shipping up To Boston”leaving the fans, happy, sweaty and wanting more.
Overall, a great night for live music in Lewiston, NY. Everyone was happy to be playing and enjoying live music again. Please enjoy the photo gallery.