August 3, 2011

Rock Over Boston: Big Audio Dynamite | House of Blues | 8.2.2011

Not to get all fanboy on you, but there was a point in tonight's Big Audio Dynamite US all-original-lineup reunion tour kickoff where I transitioned from "oh, shit - that's Mick Jones from The Clash!" to "hey, that's Mick Jones from Big Audio Dynamite!" (Though, sadly, at no point did anyone say "oh shit - that's Mick Jones from Carbon/Silicon!").

And, yeah, that means something. I mean, yes, of course - there's no denying that this is an exercise in nostalgia. But that we can so successfully celebrate Mick Jones' band after The Clash is really saying something. I mean, what if Paul McCartney convened a Wings reunion tour that ignored that he was in The Beatles? OK, I would effing love that, actually, so bad example. Maybe you still get my point?

Obviously, this was mainly about the hits (especially those from 1985's debut This Is Big Audio Dynamite) though with a few deeper cuts for good measure. There was one new song called "Rob Peter To Pay Paul" that Mick Jones explained was about our current financial predicament, and it seemed to be classic Mick Jones. It skewed more rock than the proto sample pop surrounding it and was more engaging than anything we've heard from him in some time.

There's not much to explain beyond that, really. Jones introduced encore "E=MC2"saying "this is what we've all been waiting for," and indeed we were. The crowd - mostly enthusiastic already - exploded, and the remaining encores of "The Bottom Line" and "Rush" had everyone dancing and thinking only of B.A.D.

As for opener HR/Human Rights... Well. Much respect to his legacy with Bad Brains, but his opening set didn't really go anywhere. It seemed fairly well-received, though, so this is just one man's opinion.

On the subject of encores: Sure, they're mostly phony these days. Usually just a cynical exercise where the act pretends to be done and we pretend to beg for them to come back. Plus, anyone following along on the internet can find out the rough setlist and know what's coming up. The trend now seems to be that a band finishes its main set and leaves the stage and most of the audience just stands around (tweeting, perhaps?) and waits for them to come back, with just diehards cheering for it. This actually has me reversing my opinion on the subject. You want the band to come back? Clap and cheer a bit. Maybe we've come full circle on this thing.

-Michael Piantigini

Big Audio Dynamite: MySpace (seriously?) | Facebook | YouTube
HR Human Rights: Facebook | MySpace

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