The Interrupters brought the tail end of their headline tour in support of their most recent album, Fight The Good Fight, through Boston early last week. It was landmark night for a few reasons, not the least of which was brought on by the constant upward trajectory of the headline act over the better part of the last half-decade. You see, the festivities took place at a venue called Big Night Live. When the show was initially announced, legions of local fans immediately took to the comment sections of their social media page of choice to ask the same question: “What the hell is Big Night Live?” The answer, as it turns out, is a brand-spankin-new 1500-capacity venue located immediately in front of the TD Garden (home of the Bruins and Celtics) in what was, until very, very recently, the players’ parking lot (and, if you rewind the tape far enough, the still-not-100%-completed building that is home to Big Night Live occupies roughly the same footprint as the old, legendary Boston Garden).
A quick scroll through the upcoming calendar for Big Night Live reveals a lineup that includes the likes of Rick Ross and Lil Jon and Black Starr and something called Lil Dicky, but for this night, the doors opened to BNE’s first rock concert in the form of the four-piece (five if you include touring multi-instrumentalist Billy Kottage) first family of California ska/punk. The venue is longer than it is wide and, while it’s all one level, is tiered several times from the front to the back, meaning there aren’t many bad sight-lines in the middle third of the floor. Due to a handful of behemoth support girders, however, the same can’t be said for the far left and right wings. Still, everything was new and sparkling clean (oh, and the bathroom had one of those dudes that hands you a paper towel, which is a weird thing at a punk rock show), and the light show was a non-stop assault on the senses, perhaps better suited for the band’s 2020 run of stadium shows supporting Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Weezer.
From a sound perspective, this may far and away been the best I’ve heard The Interrupters sound over the course of the half-dozen shows I’ve taken in over the last few years. There’s a reason the band’s trajectory has continued in a seemingly unstoppable upward direction. Their energy and positivity are infectious, with every song, whether it be their own anthems like “By My Side” or “A Friend Like Me” or “She’s Kerosene” or their scalding-hot covers of Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” or Berlin’s “The Metro” becoming a sing-along dance party of its very own. Brothers Kevin (guitar) and Justin (bass) Bivona somehow manage to find the time to contribute backing vocals in spite of non-stop trading sides of the stage. The force of nature that is frontwoman Aimee Interrupter spent probably as much time at the barricade and leaning into the crowd (and, at one point, circumnavigating the entire cavernous venue, gold-covered wireless mic in tow) as she did singing and dancing from stage, her voice sounding as strong and crystal-clear as ever. Jesse Bivona even took a couple minutes to blaze through a part-tribal groove, part-Neil Peart drum solo, the likes of which are few and far between at a punk show. As it turns out, maybe The Interrupters were the perfect band to break in what will, in all likelihood, be more of a dance club than a rock hall.
Support on this run came from everyone’s favorite English sea shanty singalongers, Skinny Lister. The six-piece are another band that’ve been on a slow, steady upward path over the past half-dozen-or-so years on this side of the Atlantic. Much like The Interrupters, Skinny Lister are a constant ball of collective family energy centered around a dynamic frontwoman, Lorna Thomas. And while there might not be a flagon full of rum shared amongst the band’s members this time out – Thomas and her husband, lead vocalist/guitarist Dan Heptinstall are expecting in the new year! – there’s still more than enough good-time energy to go around. The packed house in attendance were willing participants in the start-to-finish singalong festivities.
Kicking things off on this run – and so technically the first band to officially play Big Night Live (Steve Aoki technically kicked things off the night before but that’s different) were Sharp/Shock. The LA-by-way-of-UK – or is it UK-by-way-of-LA, I always forget how that works – trio are tight and punch and melodic as hell. To my knowledge, it was their first Boston-area show, and a solid number of people showed up early enough to take in their crisp melodies, even singing along to tracks like “I Don’t Want To Be A Millionaire” and “Troublemaker.” As I’ve mentioned before, Boston can be a little fickle when it comes to newcomers and to punk rock bands of a certain style, so this was a super welcome sight!
Check out our full photo gallery below! As I mentioned above, it was mostly fog machines and swirling, strobe lights, making a tough row to hoe for a rank amateur like yours truly. Still…enjoy!