SHOW REVIEW: Big D and the Kids Table at Middle East Downstairs 4/16/16

On April 16, 216, Big D and the Kids Table played their 2004 album “How it Goes” in its entirety. With the pipes in the ceiling of the Middle East Downstairs sweating profusely, with a sold-out 500 person crowd full of life and excitement, this evening was unforgettable.

I arrived too late to catch The Pomps’ set, but made it just in time for The Far East. The comforting reggae stylings of Maddie Ruthless and her crew made for some great background music as the crowd filled in. The Doped Up Dollies absolutely slayed in their performance, full of energy and life, even bringing Ms. Ruthless up on stage for a couple of songs, including the phenomenal “Oi DJ” which got the entire crowd moving. Counterpunch was the final opener, providing an enjoyable half hour of punk rock.

Then Big D hit the stage. 20 years as a band culminated in this night in front of a hometown crowd that could not wait to see this album in its entirety. “The Sounds of Allston Village” got the entire crowd moving. You could feel the excitement in the air as everybody knew what they were in for – an epic 76 minute set of 20 timeless ska punk classics.

But when “LAX” hit, the place exploded. The Middle East was buzzing with anticipation before the song even hit, and when it did, the entire crowd became one. Everyone instantly became everyone else’s best friend. Strangers were putting their arms around one another as they danced and moshed and threw themselves around. The energy and passion was something I had never felt in a concert in my life. It was incredible.

And it didn’t let up throughout the night. From “New Nail Bed” all the way to “A Moment without an End,” the band kept things exciting and energetic, taking only brief breaks for frontman David McWane to give a few heartfelt speeches of appreciation and thanks. Neither the crowd nor the band ever let up. Everyone stuck through it until the end because it was that damn good.

The band closed out with a two-song encore of “Shining On” and “Noise Complaint,” the latter finishing the show with so much power you’d think they just hit the stage. Big D was joined on stage by Westbound Train’s Obi Fernandez, as well as the Doped Up Dollies (who also popped up from time to time during the main set to provide additional vocals), making the show go out with an absolute bang.

Big D celebrated their 20th anniversary by doing what they always do: giving it their absolute all on stage for a group of people who love them. Here’s to the next 20 years!

Michael Spada

Michael Spada is a ska music enthusiast from the Boston area. He has written for numerous publications and corporations about music, games, and entertainment. You can follow him across all social media at @mgspada.

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