BostonSka.net’s Guide To The 2017 Hometown Throwdown Lineup

It’s that time of year again, folks: The Mighty Mighty BossToneS have announced the dates and lineups for their annual Hometown Throwdown. As we’ve noted, not only does this year mark the 20th Throwdown, it also coincides with the 20th anniversary of the band’s breakout album Let’s Face It.

The band mentioned having some big surprises in store for us, which may include playing the album in full (as the band was seen doing at select shows this summer), some sort of inventive stage set-up, and the possibility for a dose of Lovecraftian horror (in the Throwdown’s press release, the band referred to themselves as “The Mighty Mighty Ones”, officially stretching my suspension of disbelief for some sort of “ska band as ageless inter-dimensional beings” situation to it’s breaking point.) What is no surprise, however, is the strength of this year’s opening acts. As is tradition, the openers for all three nights are an eclectic mix of supporting acts that give each night it’s own notability. Take a look at the openers for the 20th Hometown Throwdown, separated by night:

Night 1:

Piebald

The opening night of the Throwdown continues the festival’s long-standing tradition of featuring notable hometown supporting acts. In what started out as a post-hardcore project a la Converge in Andover, MA, Piebald grew into an indie-rock mainstay within the Greater Boston area. The quality of the band’s music, which was filled with perceptively wry humor and catchy sing-along choruses, caused Piebald to gain national attention in the heyday of 2000’s emo. The band put out six albums in the late 90’s to mid-2000’s before initially breaking up in 2008, playing a series of final shows at the Middle East Nightclub in Cambridge. Then, after a string of one-off shows in 2010 and early 2016, the band announced an official reunion tour that took place at the end of last year. Even so, the Throwdown will only be the band’s fourth performance this calendar year (including a set at this year’s Boston Calling festival), so this is a pretty rare opportunity to be A Part Of It (sorry) and catch a local band held in such high regard.

The Doped Up Dollies

Opening up the first night is a band you’ll certainly be familiar with if you follow this website in any sense: What started as a group of backing vocalists on Big D and The Kids Table’s 2009 record Fluent In Stroll has become a significant project in it’s own right. The Doped Up Dollies’ debut record, 2015’s The New Way Out, showcases the group’s vocal talents with Big D on backing instrumentation. Breezing through their sunny takes on ska, doo-wop, soul and Brill-Building era tunes (among others), the Dollies utilize a mix of multi-part harmonies, playground clapping chants and call-and-responses in their singing style, while in turn giving each of the three dollies a chance to shine as a lead in their own right. Using the buzz created by the release of the album, the Dollies began a very busy album cycle that included debuting their own show, putting out a 7-inch split with Big D, and getting a number of music videos under their belt. Check out our review of The New Way Out, and listen to the album’s opening track “Make Your Own Sunshine” below.

Night 2:

Rude Bones

The sole international act this year, Japan’s Rude Bones play a very dance-able and energetic blend of third-wave ska-punk that is sure to get the crowd moving. According to Rude Bones’ scant social media, the band will be celebrating their 25th anniversary with us at this year’s Throwdown (though, I’ll admit there may be some discrepancy lost in translation; separate sources list the band as starting in 1992, 1993 and 1994.) The band has already had some degree of exposure to American audiences, as 1997’s There’ll Be Lots Of Hard Times Along The Way was released in the U.S. on Robert Hingley (A.K.A. Bucket of The Toasters)’s Moon Ska Records, which at least at the time was not typically known for ska-punk. The band’s most recent album, 2014’s Good Times, 7300 Days, features vocal contributions from Dicky Barrett, King Django and The Slacker’s Vic Ruggiero (spoilers on the next section.) Rude Bones’ catchy, upbeat ska-punk style should be a great way to get the crowd dancing and warmed up for the BossToneS on night two.

Vic Ruggiero

Though you almost undoubtedly know him as the self-effacing frontman of prolific New York scene heavyweights The Slackers, Vic Ruggiero has carved out an almost-equal name for himself as a solo artist. Releasing solo acoustic albums since 2001, Vic has pulled double duty performing his own material in between The Slacker’s already extensive touring schedule. This is, of course, in addition to Vic’s collaborations with Jesse Wagner of The Aggrolites (as Reggae Workers of The World) and Tim Armstrong of Rancid (as Silencers), among many others. The material in Vic’s solo output contains a lot of the high-level songwriting that makes The Slackers so prolific, however sonically often strays into the territory of blues or alt-country. Even if that doesn’t sound like your thing, rest assured that Vic makes it work, as shown by material off his latest solo album This, released back in 2014. Of course, we could have just as easily replaced this entire paragraph with “It’s Vic, from The Slackers” and you would be just as excited for Night 2.

Night 3:

The Pietasters

Just as night one was focused on more pop-oriented openers, night three of the Throwdown will be wall-to-wall third wave ska. As you could probably guess, this night is going to be filled with lots of dance-able energy, and very few bands can pull off that sort of vibe quite like The Pietasters. Formed in the Washington D.C. area in the early 90’s, The Pietasters became a staple of the decade’s ska boom, releasing six albums on Moon Ska Records and Hellcat Records, among others. A lot of the band’s music has a soulful quality to it, which ultimately lead to the band backing James Brown himself on at least one occasion. The current touring band features members from the BossToneS as well as local favorites Bim Skala Bim, which makes sense as members of The Pietasters have come out as special guests at past Throwdowns. Allegedly, the band is working on a new record, so this show would be an opportune place to hear them bust out some new material.

Kicked In The Head

Speaking of energetic ska-punk, Boston’s own Kicked In The Head will be joining the party on the Throwdown’s third and final night as well. Formed in 1996, the band made waves with their energetic live shows, playing Big D and The Kid’s Table’s annual Halloween shows and playing Warped Tour in 2003. The band’s third-wave ska sound was a perfect match for Big D’s Fork In Hand Records, on which they released two full length albums before disbanding in 2005. The band has decided to reunite this year, and will be pre-gaming the Throwdown with two back-to-back shows at Great Scott on November 10th and 11th.  Additionally, you may recognize some of the members of Kicked In The Head as having played/made guest appearances in Dancin’ Randy’s Ska Punk Time Machine back in April. Check out the track “Disregard The Runner-Up”, which was featured on the 2003 Warped Tour compilation album:

All Nights:

The Mighty Mighty BosstoneS

BostonSka.net, along with Several Hours With Free Photo Editing Software and A Severe Lack Of Judgement In How Many Liberties I Should Be Given With These Posts, present: Rejected BossToneS Memes! This Is A Mistake, We Apologize!

The Mighty Mighty BossToneS Hometown Throwdown 20:

Thursday, December 28
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Piebald
The Doped Up Dollies
Tickets

Friday, December 29
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Rude Bones
Vic Ruggiero
Tickets

Saturday, December 30
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
The Pietasters
Kicked In The Head
Tickets

Check out our Boston Ska Event Calendar for more local upcoming shows.

Alex Chiasson

Alex Chiasson is a writer for Boston Ska (dot) net. Alex's first experience with ska involved referring to it as "that music with the horns, right?". He's gotten better with categorization, but he also has this weird thing about staying humble. You can see Alex perform with The New Limits.

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