Review / photos: Mighty Mighty Bosstones suit up, bring the ska to the Ritz Ybor in Tampa
Maybe I am naive. Maybe I am just too much into the music to care. But for some reason, as soon as I heard someone say the following phrase, I realized this concert would be reminiscent of a sporting event.
“I can’t believe I’m eating at a joint called New York New York, and going to see the Bosstones. How sacrilegious.”
I turned around and there was a beefy dude wearing his flat cap and standard Boston baseball jersey, swigging a beer and firmly holding a slice of pizza hostage.
I knew the Mighty Mighty Bosstones were from Boston, and I have mad respect for the music that has originated from that area and the influence it’s had on the music world. But come on, people of Boston, this wasn’t a baseball game! As I walked into the Ritz Ybor on Friday, I surely saw folks of all ages, genders and beer gut sizes.
The house was packed — it was possibly a sell out, because when I was at will call there were only 26 tickets left to sell to the procrastinators who decided to buy the day of the show.
The fusion hardcore band Whole Wheat Bread was on stage when I arrived, prepping the crowd for the night’s events. After a short interlude, the stage lights came on and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones took to the stage. Their plaid suits formed a perfect line, from the strings to the horn section.
The crowd got loud, and it was mostly female voices I heard above the men. I know a couple things about Boston women: One, they can drink; and two, they can yell. The house was packed with ladies, so guys, if you need some advice in the “finding a lady” arena, apparently look towards Dicky Barrett, vocalist of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The women love him, and his Huey Lewis-meets-Henry Rollins stage presence apparently is a happy medium between rock and punk, equalling ska. The stage then came to life and dancer “Bosstone” Ben Carr began his rhythmic pouncing from left to right.
I thought it was unique and classy that Barrett, during his entire stage show, kept it clean — no foul language or questionable antics (are we sure he’s from Boston?). His comments, while brief to the crowd, were something the whole family could witness. And there was a respectful shout out for the recently deceased Beastie Boy Adam “MCA” Yauch who died of cancer that day.
A long setlist and an encore later, the night came to an end. From beginning to end, the show was a powerhouse. If you missed this show; shame on you. These guys haven’t played Tampa in years, and their return is questionable. We haven’t seem much from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and their 2011 release The Magic of Youth was a long time waiting. We will wait and see what their future holds, but if the energy of this show is of any indication of the future, they will surely be back.
— Review/photos by Andrew Carlton, tbt*