When you think of the Ramones you might think of many things; denim, leather, the ability to count to 4 and the ability to churn out classic punk songs one after another. Andrew W.K. though is probably not one you would associate with the band.
Yet here we are, or there we were rather, in a sweaty club with the ever white clad party machine fronting Marky Ramones Blitzkrieg for a night of Ramones celebration.
Andrew, or to give him his correct title, the Party God, brought the party with him. A fact I’d discover the next morning when I woke up fully clothed wondering why I decided to get off the train about two miles from my house the night before.
There were no support bands, or if there were I missed them but we were through the doors nice and early. The band took to the stage and opening with Rockaway Beach was a sign of things to come (hint: sweaty insanity).
If you’re a fan of the band you could probably guess most of the setlist, not that that’s an issue though. There’s only so much material and of that the fan favourites have to be included. Included they were though, Teenage Lobotomy followed giving me hope that the order of the night was a retelling of the outstanding It’s Alive live album.
Psycho Therapy followed next though and put the end to that belief, though the individual songs essentially make up It’s Alive so I was happy.
Sheena Is A Punk Rocker was an early highlight, along with Commando and Havana Affair. I’m currently having a quick gander at the setlist and I realise I could pretty much go down the list saying this exact same thing.
Over 30 Ramones classics were fired out in some sort of ferocious joint punk party attack. The crowd who barely got a second to breathe between songs were lapping it up. Just as they started to flag they would pull one of the real classics out the bag and off the crowd would go again, Judy Is A Punk being a prime example.
As you can imagine, the closing song of the night, Blitzkrieg Bop, got the biggest reaction. The people around me lost their fucking minds for two minutes of classic sing along, or chant along, music.
It’s one of those songs that never seems to get old live, you might get sick of hearing it everywhere but you can’t help smile and tap your foot. Or in the case of tonight, go bat shit insane shouting Hey Ho Let’s Go while charging round a pit.
At the end of the day, it’s not the Ramones, but with so many of them sadly dead it’s one of the closest experiences we’re going to get. Andrew didn’t try to be Joey, he came on as Andrew W.K. and performed as Andrew W.K., his voice suited the music down to the ground and his always energetic stage presence whipped the crowd into a frenzy.
The crowd was one of the most mixed I’ve been to in a while, old punks mixing with spotty teens, people in Andrew W.K. t-shirts perhaps experiencing the Ramones for the first time and people in Ramones t-shirts hearing their favourite songs live again or for the first time.
One of my personal highlights was a cover of a cover. Right before Blitzkrieg they surprised the crowd with Joey Ramone’s version of What A Wonderful World which just made the night complete.
The next day my body was broken but my spirits were high, the sign of an incredible gig.