Photos By Andy DelGiudice, Words By Farrah Skeiky
What is Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg? As one friend put it, “Ramones greatest hits karaoke performed by Andrew W.K.” This is pretty close to the truth, but that’s not to say that this wasn’t a tremendously fun show. The tenacity of party god Andrew W.K. and the precision of drummer (and the longest enduring Ramone) Marky Ramone combined to create a night of classics that always feel brand new.
These songs don’t need resuscitation or reimagining, because they’re truly perfect the way they are. The Ramones were not a complex band with detailed songs, and the simplicity along with a strict adherence to the under two minutes rule makes for memorable tracks that are easy to memorize. So why tour on these songs again? Put simply, it’s important to remind “the kids” where their favorite music comes from, what inspires their favorite bands, and most importantly, the simplicity of a straightforward and silly punk song. I say “the kids” because there were a fair amount of dads at this show, most without their kids, and they tore up the pit more than most of the teenage W.K. fans. “Dads in the pit” might be the new “girls to the front.”
And perhaps this was an unintentional result yielded by the attitude of the room in general, but this performance also reinforced that punk may not fare well as a genre these days and that its peak was back when the Ramones were performing these songs for the first time, but it thrives as a mindset and an approach to music. No one is a better example than W.K. himself, who largely left his personality out of this performance. This creates conflict: while it’s impressive that this night was not infiltrated by messages of the “positive power of partying,” it seemed that any strong vocalist could have taken his place. He performed expertly, unfaltering from lyrics or tempo, never stopping for a breather in a set that had to be at least thirty songs long (save for between the two encores). A certain amount of respect has to be paid to this historic catalogue, but it comes down to this: the exciting part of bringing a guest vocalist shouldn’t merely be the name, but what they can bring to a performance.
This is a bit contradictory to what was said earlier: these songs don’t need reviving, they are truly perfect. They don’t need anything new to shine brighter, they simply need a vocalist that will do them justice, and W.K. did just that. From the first notes of “Rockaway Beach” to “Be Your Boyfriend,” all the way to everyone’s favorite cover of “Wonderful World,” our favorite songs were as pristine as punk can ever be. And looking around, it is safe to say that this easily the most happy and genuine crowd I have ever seen at 930, simply because they allowed themselves to have fun. Even those who came strictly for Andrew W.K. and had a general idea that the Ramones are cool were in the right state of mind. Imagine the entire 930 Club is a pit, high-fiving to “Beat on the Brat.” Got it? Cool.