There hasn’t been an awful lot said publicly about the rise and fall and rebirth of the once-mighty Darkbuster, save for a few words here about this time a year ago when the band played what were initially billed as “reunion shows.” A funny thing happened on the way to the reunion, however, and we were left with a completely retooled lineup backing longtime frontman Lenny Lashley. The result was less of a booze-infused potential disaster of a live show and a more of a tight, focused, high energy punk rock battering ram. The retooled lineup (the core of which consists of Halston Luna on guitar, Ruben Lipkind on bass, and Lashley’s Street Dogs bandmate Pete Sosa on drums) played a few shows in the greater New England area last year and spent a month on the road in support of Dropkick Murphys earlier this year.
There is much, much more to be written as to the Darkbuster back story (by me? Maybe?), but as you can see above, we’re now calling the Lashley-led outfit The New Darkbuster (hopefully just temporarily). The band, who will co-headline the Street Dogs annual Wreck The Halls series of shows in Boston in a few months, played a one-off show in Cambridge a little while back, and as is typical whenever a Boston punk rock vet rallies the troops for a hometown show, the night felt like a sort of Punk Rock Olde Home Day. As to be expected, the band ripped through an hour-ish long set that crammed songs from throughout its catalog (including 2015’s ten-years-in-the-making No Revolution), running the sonic spectrum from blistering Oi! and street punk (“Bomb,” “Punk Rock’s Not Dead,” to gritty, horn-infused nouveau-reggae (“Rudy,” a cover of Steve Miller’s “The Joker.” The Good Ship (new) Darkbuster was joined on vocals by another of Lashley’s Street Dogs bandmates, frontman Mike McColgan during “Stand And Deliver,” and “Cheap Wine And Cigarettes,” each of which has a home high up in the pantheon of classic Boston street punk songs.
Direct supprt came from none-other than CJ Ramone (meaning that New Darkbuster drummer Pete Sosa pulled double duty on the evening). Now on the other side of fifty, Ramone still ably demonstrates why he was widely, and rightly, credited with injecting fresh life into the legendary founding punk band from which he adopted his name when he joined them more than a quarter-century ago. Ramone did an enjoyable job of peppering his set of mostly solo tracks from his excellent solo albums Reconqusita and Last Chance To Dance with classic Ramones staples like “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Judy Is A Punk,” and “Glad To See You Go.” We’ll have more with CJ around the release of his forthcoming third studio album, due out in early 2017 on Fat Wreck.
Local support came from The Warning Shots, the latest and (in my correct opinion) greatest project from Mark Lind (Ducky Boys, Sinners and Saints, a crapload of other bands). The five piece (with Lind on vocals, Rich Crimlisk and Nick Repassy on guitar, the inimitable “DiLo” on bass, and new recruit Luke Mangini on drums) have perfected a sort-of balls-out hybrid of street punk and good, old-fashioned G’N’R-style rock-n-fuckin-roll. In spite of being a new-ish band, the bulk of the outfit has been around in some fashion for a long enough time that they more than hold their own on a stage with local and national punk rock legends.
Check out our photo gallery from the evening below.