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CONCERT REVIEW

Bosstones Welcome Students At Disorientation 2000

A Mighty Mighty Large Crowd

By Usman Akeju

Last Saturday Boston City Hall Plaza was host to the largest concert in its history. The New England-based FNX Radio Network had advertised and sponsored Disorientation 2000, a free concert geared toward the new and returning college students of the Boston area. The main attraction: The Mighty Mighty BossToneS.

This ska/punk/metal band attracted between thirty and forty thousand concert-goers, both diehard fans and non-fans alike. Although I hate to admit it on their home turf, I was one of the latter. After the excitement of rush, however, I felt as I was going through “freebie withdrawal” and was constantly looking anywhere I could for free stuff. When I heard of the event, I simply couldn’t resist.

Upon arriving at City Hall Plaza and immediately losing track of the entire group of people I’d arrived with (yes, it was that big), I found a nice “cozy” spot to watch the concert from -- smack in the middle of the crowd. Sinners & Saints, one of the opening bands had just finished, and the stage was being set up for the BossToneS. As the stage was set up, a person behind me started to shout “Mighty Mighty!” and immediately following his call was the crowd’s booming answer of “Bosstones!” This went on until one of the FNX Radio crew assured the crowd that they’d be quick, whereupon the crowd changed their mantra to “Yankees suck!” Being a native New Yorker and Yankees fan (no, I’m not sorry), I was about to counter with a “Let’s Go, Yank-ees!!” when Mayor Menino appeared on stage (probably saving my life) and introduced the eight very well- dressed figures that followed. The crowd went wild, thus marking the beginning of the concert.

From the moment Dicky, the band’s lead singer, stepped on stage in his plaid glad rags and shiny sunglasses (which he later threw into the crowd), I could tell that he definitely knew how to keep the audience under his control. The ’ToneS started playing their set, and almost out of nowhere I was in the center of some kind of riotous crowd of people doing something which resembled a sick, Bostonian version of a mosh pit. It was like bumper cars with people -- bumper people. Anyway, it was then that I reconsidered my position in the mass of teens and twenty-somethings, but they had already reconsidered it for me as I found myself being pushed back until I was in a more calm part of the audience.

At one point in my journey through the mob my glasses were knocked off my face by what was one of many free Frisbees that had been given out before the concert [Note to concert planners: never give out objects which can be thrown before a concert!] and were lost amongst the falling bodies of crowd-surfers and the stomping feet of the bumper people. Still, I managed to recover the pieces and put them back together mid-song (my triumph of the night)! Yeah, “Mens et Manus!”

The ’Tones performed both old and new songs throughout the free event. At one point, Dicky invited the mayor onstage, but Menino objected for lack of a suit. Instead, a random kid jumped onstage, but Dicky wouldn’t let the event staff take him off until he got to dance with the enthusiastic fan.

Coming away from the experience, I can only say that every moment was a crowd-pleaser, and the consensus of the fans was that the concert kicked ass. Surprisingly, I thought it was pretty damn cool, too. As I said before, I was not really a big fan of the BossToneS before the concert -- I didn’t love them, I didn’t dislike them, but could listen to them -- but after this concert, I really gained a lot of respect for them as artists. Their lyrics are excellent and even somewhat poetic. Though I wouldn’t call myself a “fan” yet (and I don’t see myself shouting “Yankees suck” anywhere in the near future), I definitely plan on listening to a few MP3s, and possibly even buying a CD.

The concert had been part of the Warped Tour. The BossToneS are promoting a new CD, “Pay Attention,” and are touring the US and Canada through November.