One of these days, one of the Boston-area bands that’s spent the last handful of years plying their wares in local divey establishments like O’Brien’s and the Midway Cafe and Koto is going to break through to the next level and usher in a new golden era of Boston punk rock. Maybe it’ll be Rebuilder, or perhaps Choke Up, or even Save Ends or The Hotelier. But if it’s going to be the hardest-working band in the scene to break through, that title would have to go to none other than OC45. In addition to a handful of late summer East Coast dates with Teenage Bottlerocket, the foursome spent the better part of two months on the road in the States earlier this year and headed across the pond for the first time, playing two weeks worth of shows. Upon their return, it was right back on the Stateside roads where they closed another four weeks on tour with a homecoming show at Boston’s Great Scott on Sunday night.
In some ways, OC45 are a throwback to an era in Boston history that’s fallen by the wayside. There was a time when the city was not only renowned for being a tough, gritty place to live and work, but wore that reputation like a badge of honor and spawned a tough, gritty, hard-working music scene as a result. But the Boston of the last fifteen years or so is a different, increasingly safe and gentrified and tech-savvy place to be, and I can’t quite put my finger on what the music scene even is nowadays (check out the lineups of the last few years of the Bosotn Calling Music Festival and you’ll note a lack of anything resembling “grit”). OC45 are loud, brash, high-energy, snotty, dirty and booze-infused, and seem to genuinely take pride in their community and on working their asses off. Last Sunday night was no exception, as the fellas were welcomed home to a loud, vocal crowd that was worked into a circle pit and a seemingly never-ending stream of stage-invaders from the opening notes.
Local band Diablogato provided direct support on the evening. Trying to affix a label to Diablogato is a bit difficult, but they were a refreshing change of pace wedged between two street punk bands. “Rockabilly” is probably the default label most people would affix to them, but that’s not quite right. They’re not quite psychobilly, not quite Stray Cat strutters, not quite a soul-infused rock band, and yet they’re all of those things at the same time. Regardless, they’re a bunch of scene veterans who’ve been in myriad bands over the years who combine like a sort of devilbilly Voltron and, as a result, fit in with a slew of different genres while carving out a sound that’s strictly theirs. Wait, is devilbilly a thing? It is now!
On The Cinder opened the show, as they’d been tourmates with OC45 for the last week. The Buffalo-based trio share a lot in common with their Boston-bred tour buddies stylistically and sonically, which was much appreciated by the crossover crowd, many of whom seemed almost as familiar with the out-of-towners as they were with the home team.
Head below for our full photo gallery of the evening. Oh, and serious props to whoever booked a three-band bill on a Sunday night. Maybe I’m showing my age here, but five or six bands on a bill is tedious and some of us have to work in the morning, damnit. Nice work, Great Scott!