With any luck, some of you have been paying attention while something truly remarkable has been happening on the eastern half of the US and Canada for the last couple weeks. That something, specifically, is the Swingin’ Utters tour in support of their solid new album, Peace And Love.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Even for a master of hyperbole such as yourself, this is a new level, Stone!” You’d be correct about the first half of that statement, but dead wrong about the last. At least, that’s the overwhelming feeling I had in watching the Bay Area punk legends as they took the owned the stage at the Dover Brickhouse in Dover, New Hampshire. It was a cold, drizzly Wednesday night that saw a small crowd that gathered upstairs in the brick-and-dark-wood adorned venue that creates a vibe that’s equal parts brew pub and sports bar (especially because the flat screens showing Game Four of the American League Championship Series remained on throughout). The Utters took the stage as a four-piece, with longtime partners-in-crime Johnny Bonnel and Darius Koski joined by their newest bassist, Tony Teixeira, and by Gabe Katz, filling in on drums for Luke Ray who was away at a family reunion. In spite of the latest in what’s become a series of line-up changes, the band totally delivered from note one, in a way that’s at the very least inspiring. It might stand to reason that a setlist in such a situation would be scaled down or overly reliant on material from the new album, but that wasn’t the case. Sure Peace And Love tracks were well-represented, but tunes like “No Eager Man” and “Windspitting Punk” and “The Next In Line” and “The Librarians Are Hiding Something” were as vibrant, vital, and well-received as ever.
Support on this run (aside from three dates that find the Utters playing alongside Bouncing Souls in the greater NYC area – more on that later) came from Gallows Bound, and Michael Kane And The Morning Afters served as local opener, venturing up from Worcester, MA, for the mid-week opportunity to play alongside a venerated and influential band like the Utters. Gallows Bound, if you’re not familiar, are a five-piece from Winchester, Virginia, whose sound is delightfully hard to pin down. “Appalachian Punk Bluegrass” is what they’re billed as and is a fairly accurate description, with the acoustic-driven instrumentation and dueling vocalists (Jordan Joyes and Jesse Markle) trading duties and allowing elements of country and punk and folk and gothic undertones to meld in a unique way. Michael Kane and crew, who you may recognize as among our local favorites, are a working-class rock-and-roll band with influences that are equal parts The Clash, Tom Petty and, as evidenced by their set-closing rendition of “Born To Run,” Bruce Springsteen.
Head below to scroll through our photo gallery from the evening!