October 13, 2021 | Show Review by Rachael Contreras
It wasn’t a night like any other; it was one to remember. A night where you fight for your right to a spot in the line for traffic just to park and take a school bus 10 minutes away to a concert venue. A night where you walk from the drop-off point a few blocks to the venue in the dark, tripping in pot holes just to stand in a long line for the metal detector. Once you get inside, a night where you are going to see three of the best bands in modern times.
The Boston to Berkley tour – with The Bronx, Dropkick Murphys, and Rancid – ran from the beginning of August to the middle of October, and we were able to catch the local show at The OC Festival Grounds (aka OC Festival Grounds).
There was a cold snap in OC for the first time of the season, so hoodies were all the rage on this special night. The crowd was immediately ready to get down and party hard to this sonic journey and it only took seconds for these bands to connect with the crowd. Although, there were a few people we saw that seemed to take “pre-gaming” to another level since their ability to walk was less-than-stellar even before The Bronx played their first chord. Hey, we’ve been locked up for almost two years; can’t blame someone that just wants to have a good time, right?
The Bronx kicked off the cold night of music with the excitement that front-man Matt Caughthran brings to every show. I had the pleasure of growing up in elementary and junior high school with Matt, so I love seeing him sport the enthusiasm he’s always been known to have. He’s considered one of the best in the business, and he showed the crowd why. Fan favorites were “Knifeman” (off the band’s third album) and “White Shadow” (off their latest album), and the crowd showed their appreciation for the high-energy performance.
As the sun was setting, The Bronx finished their set and the crowd wanted more. There was a bit of a pause between sets, but finally, after the sun was fully engulfed by the Pacific Ocean, the anxious crowd started to see green lights appear from the stage. We heard a beautiful Irish ballad and scenery began playing on the massive screen behind the giant stage. The music started and BOOM, Dropkick Murphys came out and rocked the place! As they played and moved around the stage, there were different images on the screen behind them, changing from their logo to a boombox that matched the image on the bass drum from the cover of their newest album, “Turn Up That Dial.”
In true Dropkick form, there was a banjo, a bagpipe, very distinguishable Massachusetts accents, and so much more! Between songs, front-man Ken Casey told the crowd a story of their first show in Southern California in nearby Costa Mesa. He also shared that DKM went way back with Rancid as Tim Armstrong was the first to sign them and put them on Hellcat Records (an offshoot of Epitaph Records). Of course, Dropkick played “Rose Tattoo,” the whopping hit, “I’m Shipping Up To Boston,” and even a rendition of The Clash’s, “I Fought the Law.”
After Dropkick was done, we had a shorter pause, but the bathroom, cocktail and merchandise lines seemed to increase exponentially. Eyes were glued to the stage as the sound techs made their way through the instruments, checking their sound quality. Then in what seemed to be out of thin air, Tim Armstrong, Lars Frederiksen, Matt Freeman, and Branden Steineckert were on the stage and started playing “Roots Radicals.” Of course the crowd went crazy, and beers were flying through the air. You could see a circle of bouncing heads and hair from what was one of the pits in the enormous crowd.
Rancid had some interactions with the crowd, but they were more into playing the songs we all love: “Ruby Soho,” “Time Bomb,” “Olympia, WA,” “Salvation,” and so many more. Their playlist seemed to consist of songs from their mega popular 1995 album, “…And Out Come the Wolves,” and their 1994 album, “Let’s Go.”
The night ended with the massive crowd all needing to take the same trek back to the school buses and back to the parking lot 10 minutes away. It was a lot of work coming in and going out, but boy was it worth it! Sometimes seeing your favorite bands is worth every penny of your time because you will make memories that last forever, and this night was no exception.
VIEW THE SHOW PHOTO GALLERY
Next stop for the tour, LA Shrine Outdoors this Saturday!