The year was 2006. I was still in community college pretending to have a clue what my plan in life was. I had been playing guitar for a few years but never joined a band. A coworker of mine named Matt Hockenjos invited me to try out for his band “The Bandits.”
Terrible band names aside, I wanted in. I wasn’t a big punk guy but I was a huge fan of ska, so when they asked me to try out with a few Rancid songs, I fell in love with the band. Roots Radicals got me into my first band and I’ll never stop playing it.
This show was the one big concert Kelsey and I were looking forward to this summer, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. A sold out Summer Stage show is always a treat, but Rancid coming to town would have been enough for me to fight the crowds. Add Dropkick Murphys and you make it a show I refuse to miss. Then for good measure you add The Bouncing Souls (18 year old me is super jealous) and Jake Burns – just because why not make the night even better.
Unfortunately we got stuck in traffic on the way to the venue, so caught only part of Jake Burns from the parking lot and walking in too late to shoot for The Bouncing Souls. Fast forward our story to the first band we got to get in the pit for – Dropkick Murphys.
Hailing from Boston, the ‘Boys are Back’ in full strength on their 2017 tour. We got to see them at Shamrock Fest a few months back and we got to catch their headlining set at the final Skate and Surf Music Festival in Asbury a few years back. I feel like if I ever see Dropkick Murphys on an indoor stage, I just won’t enjoy it as much. The mandolin, the banjo, the bagpipes and even the accordion all popped out during the set to a very appreciative crowd.
Two years ago, Kelsey and I joined our friend Ryan Weil (of Weilhouse Productions) on a long weekend road trip up to Montibello, QC. Yup – Canada. The land of free healthcare and friendly people – well at least everywhere outside of the Amnesia Rockfest campgrounds! A full weekend of music with bands such as Flogging Molly, System of a Down, Snoop Dogg and of course – Rancid.
I’ve spent the better party of my adult life waiting for Rancid to A) play a show close to my home and B) not be sold out when I find out about it. The second tickets went on sale, I had confirmation – I would finally get to see these guys in my home state! Getting a last minute photo pass was the icing on the cake. I wish I could have gotten closer for the encore – Dropkick joining Rancid on stage (special appearance by Kevin Bivona of The Interrupters) for a full encore to end the night!
Never, and I mean never miss a Rancid or Dropkick Murphys show. Catch them next time they come by!
Click the below pic for the full album of photos!