After a few smaller, partial-bill shows north of the border, the highly-anticipated “Fat Wrecked for 25 Years” tour kicked off in full force at Boston’s House of Blues last Wednesday. Though the venue itself can feel much more cavernous and, quite frankly, sterile than its Kenmore Square predecessors, it was hard not to feel like the the all-afternoon show celebrating the silver anniversary of the Fat Wreck Chords served as a throwback to the all-day, all ages punkfests that occurred a generation before and a stone’s throw away.
Due to the almost overwhelming amount of activity that took place on this particular day, we’ve chosen to split the resulting story into two different photo galleries, one featuring the show’s first four bands, one featuring the last four. The split comes at a logical place. The first four bands on the bill, Bad Cop/Bad Cop, toyGuitar, Masked Intruder, and The Flatliners, represent the newer kids on the block; the up-and-coming bands that are among those that continue to breathe life into the quarter-century-old record label (toyGuitar’s Jack Dalrymple and Miles Peck’s places in part two’s Swingin’ Utters notwithstanding). Part two will focus on the old guard, essentially the pillars on which much of the Fat Wreck foundation was built upon: Swingin’ Utters, Strung Out, Lagwagon and NOFX. Stay tuned for that one.
Bad Cop/Bad Cop kicked the afternoon off at 3 o’clock sharp. For a set that got rolling in the middle of the afternoon on a beautiful, warm Wednesday afternoon, the venue being at maybe 1/3 capacity was admittedly better than yours truly expected. Making their first Boston appearance, the three BC/BC girls (bass player Linh Le was out of town, replaced instead by Intruder Yellow from Masked Intruder) ripped through a high energy set that drew heavily from their full-length debut, Not Sorry, getting the ball rolling on the day’s festivities in the best way possible. The set even brought with it the establishment of the first circle pit and the first in what would become a seemingly endless parade of crowd surfers, the highest-possible honor for an opening band, particularly one playing six hours before the headliner.
ToyGuitar were next out of the gate, and were one of the more eagerly-anticipated acts of the day among the musicians (and the wannabe music journalists) in the crowd. Jack Dalrymple has a knack for melody-and-noise-infused California rock-and-roll songwriting, and the guitar interplay between Dalrymple and his fellow Utters bandmate Peck made for the afternoon’s least moshable, but infinitely most danceable set.
The comedic stylings of Masked Intruder followed, and the four-piece of convicted felons (and Officer Bradford) certainly did not disappoint. The band’s well-crafted Ramones-ian pogo-party sounds are certainly strong enough to stand on their own, but the schtick still works in setting the band apart from the masses. Bands like Masked Intruder (and, frankly, all of the bands on this day’s bill) thrive on crowd interaction and energy, which can be easier said than done in a 2250-capacity hall that was more than half full by the time of their set, prompting Intruder Green and Officer Bradford to leave the stage for extended chunks and mix it up with the boys and girls in the pit.
The Flatliners closed out the first half of the day’s festivities in typical Flatliners fashion; by just “killing it” with their live performance (much as I hate to use that phrase). Chris Cresswell has become one of the premier songwriters and frontmen of whatever we’re calling this generation of punk-soaked rock and roll, and next to Strung Out, he and his band combined to play arguably the tightest set of the evening.
Speaking of Strung Out, you’ll have to wait for part two to check out our photos of their absolutely blistering set. For now, head below to check out the photo gallery of the first four bands!