Central Florida music lovers of young and old fill the House of Blues Orlando to spend a night with punk legends the Violent Femmes. 

Faster than a blistering sun….hordes of vintage purist punkers and representatives of the modern punk movement unite and converge on the HOB Orlando for a historic night of folk-punk memories.  Legendary status best describes the power trio known as the Violent Femmes.  Case-in-point solidified by a packed to capacity venue that acquired sold-out status in 60 minutes.  This evening, we find young fans, older fans, and a strong presence of “middle-aged” fans, many sporting vintage concert swag of the 80’s and 90’s.

It is 8pm, on a Thursday night and the House of Blues stage is looking more like a rummage sale than the setting for an epic concert performance.  The scene is cluttered with amplifiers, guitars, percussive devices, and a Bar-B-Q grill, strait out of the local Walmart.  8:15 pm a distant tribal beat is heard developing somewhere amongst the second-floor patrons.  Minutes transpire and the crowd begins parting, revealing none other than the Violent Femmes Marching Band.  Fans gently move aside as house security ushers the legendary folk-punk trio to the stage, marching to an impromptu cadence and whacking away at unique handheld percussion accessories.  Arriving at their destination, the trio blast child-like grins to the adoring fans as they secure their instruments.

Senior members bassist Brian Ritchie, and singer/guitarist Gordon Gano simultaneously extend an acknowledging wave to the audience as drummer John Sparrow begins a familiar backbeat.  Fans are treated to a set list of folk-punk classics including “Prove My Love,” “Promise,” and “Memory.”   We see Sparrow (the newest addition to the latest VF edition,) is on point and up to the task.  He masterfully rotates through all the percussive devices, including a slick and tasty application of the jazz brush/Bar-B-Q grill combo, and a unique performance on a Cajon (an 18th-century style, percussion box.)  Mid-set, a climactic pause preempts the iconic rhythm plunked through Ritchie’s magical, acoustic bass that the cult following knew instantly as the intro riff to “Blister In The Sun.”  The building is electrified and concertgoers begin a synchronized punk bop to the legendary track, with all mouths chanting along with Gano’s vocals.  Droplets of sweat could be seen mid-air as the venue began to look more like an aerobics class than a concert venue.  

Gano and Ritchie kept the energy high as their set kept serving crowd favorites including “Jesus Walking On The Water,” “Country Death Song,” “I’m Nothing,” and the classic “Gone Daddy Gone.”  The camaraderie of the Femme fans was in full force as young, old, friend and stranger danced and bopped the night away to the band’s tunes spanning nearly 40 years.  Just as a sports coach gives the team a break on a hot summer day, Gano roused the crowd into thinking the evening was coming to an end.  Seconds into the calm before the storm, Gano starts the chilling line “… Day after day…” and the crowd is sent into a frenzy. They end the night with a smoking encore of “Add It Up.” 

The last note rings, the stage lights dim, and the phenom known as the Violent Femmes have left the stage.  Concert goers with ringing ears and sweat-drenched concert shirts leave this evening with a deluxe parting gift: a musical memory of a “blister” that lasts “day after day.”  A Violent Femmes concert experience is a highly recommended addition to your live show bucket list.  Current tour details and dates can be found at the band’s website.

Violent Femmes
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Event Date: 20-July-2018