We all remember our “firsts,” many of them from high school and college, from times growing up. Well, even though I’m now grown-up, this past weekend had many memorable firsts, seeing Riki Rocksteady, the Scrapes, The Pubcrawlers, Neutral Nation and The Mahones at the Fête Lounge in Providence. The music, the energy onstage, and the vibe that everyone brought was contagious and is a memory I hope to always keep!
The night started with the calming acoustic melodies of Riki Rocksteady. Their tunes mixed with a few 50’s covers and a relaxing Caribbean ska beat, giving the feeling of being on a warm beach enjoying margaritas. They easily made us forget the cold 40-degree weather outside.
Before the next band went on I had noticed a guy milling about the audience. He looked like a he had just come from Casual Friday at work, wearing glasses, a button down shirt untucked, and a loosely bound tie. Next thing I knew, this Clark Kent took off the glasses, moved on-stage, and metamorphosed into the screaming, rage-driven lead singer of the Scrapes! Formed in 2008 by some members of the well-known local punk band Gang Green, they are definitely continuing the fun hardcore tunes of the eighties.
I didn’t know any of the songs, but found myself screaming along anyway. Near the end of the set Riki walked up to the stage with the boys from another local band, the BarRoom Heroes, to sing along with the Scrapes. The room felt like it was packed with friends; everyone hanging out together whether they had known each other for years or had just met.
The Pubcrawlers were next, with the players for guitar, bass, drums, bagpipes/tin whistle, mandolin, fiddle, violin/banjo, and lead singer all barely fitting on the small stage. Bringing a self-described “throw-your-fist-in-the-air-sing-along mix of traditional Celtic drinking tunes and melodic punk rock,” they entertained with every song. The lead singer got more and more rambunctious by the minute, screaming out songs, pouring beer over himself, pulling his pants down, and interacting with the crowd.
He made a comical show of trying to read his setlist, now doused in beer and hanging in tatters from his fingers, but continued from song to song without a problem. I was surprised once again when this lead singer then metamorphosed into another glasses-wearing Clark Kent and joined the audience for the rest of the show!
Neutral Nation, another iconic hardcore band from the eighties, came on next and if possible, brought even more energy to the stage. They looked to be in their element, bringing their blistering sounds to the room and getting people on the floor, slam-dancing like it was the 80’s again.
After these four bands had finished, The Mahones took the stage at around 12:30am, ready to rock and excite the crowd with their songs. The band is led by a friendly,bearded Irish fellow who smiles as he sings and his knockout leggy accordion player, Katie Kaboom, who steals the show. They constantly interact and play off each other, partly for our pleasure, but also for their own I’m sure.
They sang many songs including the well-known: Celtic Pride, Drunken Lazy Bastard, Paint the Town Red, Shakespeare Road, and an amped up version of The Irish Rover. The kids from BarRoom Heroes joined this band too, jumping onstage and singing in the last song, enjoying the party that no one wanted to end.
Then it all seemed to come to a close too soon. Even though the early-morning hours had already started when The Mahones left the stage I wanted them to stay and keep playing. What I really wanted was to take them and all the other bands home with me and continue the songs and party there! Hopefully, this will be a first of many more. I’m already looking forward to the next!