Concert Review: The Sonics, March 25, Danforth Music Hall

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The Sonics are undisputed legends of garage rock. The Tacoma band, famous for songs like “The Witch” and “Strychnine,” have been going for over 50 years (admittedly with a bit of a break in the middle) and fittingly, their stage setup includes a backdrop of their second album cover from way back in 1966. It’s a good way of recognising the band’s legacy, but at the same time, it’s also a little weird to be performing behind a sign that basically says, “This is what we looked like several decades ago. Judge us accordingly.”

Yes, The Sonics are considerably older than they were when they started and there’s not that many original members left in the current touring band (a quick glance at their Wikipedia page shows nearly 20 former members). Sure, bassist/lead vocalist Freddie Dennis resembles Danny DeVito when he donned a Beatles wig on It’s Always Sunny more than he does your typical rock frontman, and saxophonist Rob Lind, who handled most of the stage banter, sounds a bit like your granddad telling stories about the old days. But it’s still a treat to hear all those old tunes live as well as the newer stuff from their most recent album This is the Sonics. And your granddad’s stories about the old days probably weren’t as cool as tales of touring with the Hoodoo Gurus or the Kinks anyways.

And old guy jokes aside, the band can damn well still play, as they proved in a set that included classics like “Sugaree,” “Have Love Will Travel,” and the perennial “Louie Louie.” They lose a couple points in my book though for saying “we’ve only got time for one more song” when it was very clear they were going to do an encore. Why do bands even pretend otherwise anymore, especially in an age when setlists are readily available online? But when that encore includes the one-two punch of “Strychnine” and “The Witch” as well as a Ray Charles cover for good measure, its pretty easy to forgive the charade.

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Posted on by Paul in Concerts

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