The Violent Femmes - College Street Music Hall, New Haven, CT 10/15/23
It made perfect sense to attend a tour celebrating the 40th anniversary of the debut album of The Violent Femmes with friends who I've known almost that long. We were feeling blessed on a Sunday night that the New Haven food and music scene were so accessible.
Pre-show at College Street Music Hall it's hard to resist Geronimo's right around the corner. A few of their margaritas prior to the show had us in the right frame of mind prior to walking in to this sold out show. So much so that we missed all but the last few notes of opener Black Guy Fawkes.
Although the band was a bit of a mystery as to what they would sound like after all these years, there was no guessing involved in WHAT they would play - they ran through the album straight through. I mean, what else would you want to hear from this band?? Side 1of this album can hold up with anything and features standout tracks "Blister In the Sun", "Kiss Off", "Please Don't Go" and "Add It Up". The middle aged crowd knew every word, somehow the human brain doesn't forget lyrics, even all these years later. It's amazing how a song/album/band can be so associated with a particular time in your life.
We expected the alternative punk sound for which they became famous, but the Femmes did a nice job mixing in some reggae on "Please Do Not Go" and bluegrass on "Country Death Song". Side Two featured the fan favorite "Gone Daddy Gone" which the group released with a live version to mark the album anniversary.
On this evening, it wasn't necessary to break any new musical ground. We were thankful to revisit the past for a few hours, and to remember what it sounded like.