Picture this: you’re in a beloved local band, you haven’t played a show this decade, and you decide to announce 2 shows that immediately sell out. What would you do? Well, if you’re Boston’s Darkbuster , you would quickly announce a one-off show at a small venue, call yourself P. Diddler and the Fearsome Foursome, and watch as that immediately sells out, too.
Last night, Darkbuster (or rather, P. Diddler) kicked off a short string of reunion shows in support of their new and long-awaited album, No Revolution. Before taking the stage for the next two nights at the Sinclair in Cambridge, MA, Darkbuster played to a sold-out crowd at a much smaller venue. Read all about it, and check out a fan-submitted video, below.
Musically, Darkbuster does a phenomenal job of blending punk, oi!, and ska riffs into a cohesive sound, and the opening bands at their 3 Boston-area shows seem to highlight each side of Darkbuster’s style. We might call last night the true punk night, while the upcoming shows on Monday and Tuesday will have more oi! and ska sounds, respectively.
The capacity at Great Scott is only 240, and the place was already getting crowded as Boston punk act Blood Stained Brindle took the stage. This is a 5-piece street punk band that doesn’t play out a whole lot, and as a first-time listener I was immediately impressed with their songs, which sound a little like Cocksparrer minus the British accents. Rumor has it that they will be going into the studio to record an EP in October, so we’ll bring you more news on that as it comes out.
Boston punk shows are notorious for starting late, but last night moved right along, with barely time to grab a smoke and a drink before OC45 jumped on stage. You can find reviews and interviews with this band all over Dying Scene, but you really do need to see this dyanmic 4-piece live to truly appreciate that they can sound as tight as they do while moving around so much. Thanks to a slew of U.S. tours over the past few years, OC45 has developed into a band that manages to be very technically accurate while looking like badass punks who don’t give a fuck about accuracy. It’s very fun to watch, and the songs aren’t so bad either. They played a healthy mix of old songs off of their debut album, Class and Cruelty (including the opener, “The Ballad of Nick O’Shea”), plus newer crowd favorites like “Robbery,” “Strong Coffee,” and “My Best Friend Makes Bombs,” which all appeared on the band’s 2013 EP, When It Hits. They also worked in the brand new song “S.C.A.B.,” which was written in response to recent cases of police brutality. The song was co-written by Jon Cauztik of Stray Bullets, and you can hear his guest vocals on the studio version on the Burn It EP.
In their own words, Rebuilder was the only band that stood between the crowd and the long-awaited Darkbuster reunion. As the third opening act, they had to take the stage just as some fans took a breather to escape the heat of the stage area. The upside to that was that a spot in front of the stage opened up, and I was happy to get up close to this 5-piece pop-punk act. If you catch them live, you’ll appreciate the banter between co-frontmen Sal Medrano and Craig Stanton, and the dancing-while-keyboarding Rick Smith, who brings a lot of joy and personality to the stage. They focused on songs off of their 2015 release Rock n’ Roll in America, including the snarky ode to New Jersey “Le Grand Fromage” and “Heart Attack.” You can read more about Rebuilder here, and check out the new album here.
At last came Darkbuster. Although frontman Lenny Lashley has plenty going on both as guitarist of Street Dogs and with his own acoustic solo music, it seemed from the very first note that Darkbuster had never stopped playing. They were spot-on as they opened with the new song “Many Moons,” which features a horn section anchored by tenor sax player Kevin Lenear of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. They quickly broke in to some old favorites, including “Pub,” which ignited the crowd. The venue thankfully didn’t have much problem with the beer cans (and people!) flying through the air, but the pit stayed harmless and good-natured, with plenty of falls but just as many people ready to help people up. They played classics like “London Town,” “Shoulda Known Better,” “Bud,” “Motown,” “Caught in a Trap,” “Skinhead,” “Rudy,” and “Nothing At All,” interspersed with new songs, including “No Revolution,” “Believe in Packer,” and “Only Girl,” which Lashley dedicated to his ex-wife. At one point, the crowd started spontaneously singing “Grandma Was a Nazi” in between songs. The set ended with Lenny dedicating “Stand and Deliver” to the men and women of the Armed Forces, which was a brief serious note in an otherwise raucously fun night. The crowd responded, though, and the sing along was one to be remembered.
The upside to last night’s show is that there are still two more opportunities to see Darkbuster in Boston, tonight and tomorrow at the Sinclair with support from Slapshot, Yellow Stitches, Have Nots, Stray Bullets, and more. I don’t know how I’m going to feel after Tuesday, though. These guys play together like they never split up, their songs are still relevant, and they proved with No Revolution that they can still put out that perfect blend of street punk, ska, and wisecracks that they’re known for. They do have one more show (in Providence, RI, next weekend), and hints of a European tour that was ultimately cancelled. We can only hope that this reunion is only the beginning.
Check out some of the action, thanks to fan Sev Martinez:
Darkbuster’s “Many Moons,” courtesy of Sev Martinez (YouTube: @atheistpeace69).
The crowd sings “Grandma Was a Nazi” with Darkbuster. Video courtesy of Sev Martinez (YouTube: @atheistpeace69).