One of the biggest names to emerge from the Boston hardcore scene, Gang Green, brought their high-speed three-chord party thrash sound to Smallâ€™s in Hamtramck, Michigan.
May 17th, 2014 was a great night for punkers of all types to be in Hamtramck, for it had been some time since Gang Green had played the Detroit area. The anticipation was in full-effect as the crowd stretched around the front corner and down the street a few blocks.
I talked to people in line, and although the Meatmen was also playing this show, the general consensus was at least half the crowd had turned out to see Gang Green.
Originally formed in 1980 by a group of 15 year olds, Gang Green was very influential in the formation of the East Coast hardcore scene. They contributed seven tracks to the This Is Boston, Not L.A. compilation in 1982 making this their first recorded offering to the public. As stated in their official bio, Gang Green was obsessed with beer, skateboarding, sex, and more beer, and slowly added hints of heavy metal as their career progressed. This gave them a crossover appeal to both the punk and metal scenes.
From the beginning, lead singer/guitarist Chris Doherty has led the party and is the lone constant in a lineup which has gone through several changes in their 30+ years of existence. Doherty also did a stint singing in the band Jerryâ€™s Kids during one of Gang Greenâ€™s hiatuses. The recent incarnation of the band includes Chris Donnelly (guitar, vocals), Sean Boyle (bass, vocals), and Dale Kishbaugh (drums).
Dubbed the ‘King of Bands’ from their spin-off of the Budweiser motto, their simple party-hearty philosophy, combined with their irreverent sense of humor, has been a source of influence to the wide spectrum of todayâ€™s hard edge bands.
‘Out of Control’ is the best way to describe the crowd at the bandâ€™s performance last Saturday night! From the moment the band took to the stage, the pit was in full effect as Mosherâ€™s slam-danced and stage dived. The venue was filled to capacity so there was no escaping the madness! One could only hope to not get kicked in the head or accidentally knocked to the floor.
The band spun through many classic tracks, such as Letâ€™s Drink Some Beer, Another Wasted Night, and Skate To Hell. Tesco Vee of The Meatmen even came out to do a duet on the show closer, Alcohol.
With the bandâ€™s 2006 introduction into the Boston Music Hall of Fame and inclusion in the recent punk documentary American Hardcore: The History of American Punk Rock 1980-1986, the band has had a resurgence in popularity. According to Doherty, â€œThe fans keep getting younger and crazier as we get older. I canâ€™t figure it out. Kids are coming out of the woodwork everywhere we play and theyâ€™re singing along to all the fuckinâ€™ songs.â€ By the look of the crowd last Saturday night, he was right! There were many young faces interspersed with older ones.
All in all, it was a great night for punk rock. The band was dead-on, the crowd was polite and fun (even through all of their maniacal craziness!), the venueâ€™s sound was excellent (as was their staff) and the beer was COLD! Only thing I wish I had with me was my trusty old ragged skateboard I used to ride while listening to a cassette of Gang Green on my big olâ€™ 1980s boom box!
Our photographer, Chris Betea, was on hand to capture all the craziness. Here are his images from that night.
The Meatmen also played at Small’s that night. Check out the review and pics from their show.
Gang Green online: