Marky Ramone's Blitzkrieg At The Fonda Theatre
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By Jamie Harvey
The Ramones, Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipients, are perhaps one of the most iconic bands of all time — evidenced by their catalogue, their style and their legacy as pioneers of the punk rock genre. Sadly, most of the Ramones' original members have passed, but longtime drummer Marky Ramone is keeping the legacy alive by touring as Marky Ramone's Blitzkrieg, with famed party rocker Andrew W.K. at the vocal helm.
On Oct. 15 the band came to the Fonda Theatre, which is a far cry from New York's now-defunct CBGB, the punk playground venue that is most closely tied to the Ramones. But the Fonda served as a good backdrop to a night during which classics were celebrated and reimagined. The dramatic curtain raised and the Blitzkrieg walked onstage; they were not wearing classic Ramones attire of ripped jeans and black leather jackets, for they were not a tribute act. Ramone came to the front of the stage and waved to the crowd, his iconic bowl cut crowning his all-black attire and his Superman tank top making a statement of its own. W.K. was dressed in his trademark dirty white duds that sent me into a fit of obsessive compulsive disorder, wishing I could bleach and wash his clothes.
What followed was an hour and a half filled with 35 songs, including two encores. Punk is an action-packed genre and as the band launched into the Ramones’ "Rockaway Beach" they barely stopped for a breath between the first few songs. These speedy, poppy songs had everyone dancing and singing along, proving that the melodies have been ingrained into our existence.
The crowd was fun to watch. If you forget about the magazine layout-worthy punk style of Vivienne Westwood's plaid and safety pin fashion, you could see that this music still draws a group of misfits and rogues. There was a man in a skull-print clown suit spinning around the mosh pit nonstop, and a woman with a panda backpack. Everyone was having fun. Even though the Ramones weren't onstage, the music served as an escape from the everyday life.
Highlights included "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker," "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," which W.K. directed to a girl in the front row, "Cretin Hop," and a great cover of Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World." W.K. mixed a strong focus on delivery with some over-the-top antics, adding moments of levity to songs that absolutely deserved it. Ramone proved that he's still got it as a drummer, embellishing some of the songs with a little extra flair.
Ending with arguably the most recognizable Ramones song, "Blitzkrieg Bop," several attendees standing on the perimeter of the mosh pit all night gave in and joined the raucous crowd, shouting along to the punk anthem as it was meant to be.
To catch Marky Ramone's Blitzkrieg in a city near you, click here for tour dates.
"Do You Wanna Dance"
"I Don't Care"
"Sheena Is A Punk Rocker"
"I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend"
"Beat On The Brat"
"53rd & 3rd"
"I Don't Want You"
"Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue"
"Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment"
"Rock 'N' Roll High School"
"Oh, Oh, I Love Her So"
"She's The One"
"Judy Is A Punk"
"I Believe in Miracles"
"The KKK Took My Baby Away"
"I Wanna Be Sedated"
"I Don't Wanna Walk Around With You"
"Do You Remember Rock 'N' Roll Radio?"
"I Just Want To Have Something To Do"
"I Don't Want To Grow Up"
"I Can't Make It On Time"
"I Don't Wanna Go Down To The Basement"
"My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes To Bitburg)"
"What A Wonderful World" (Louis Armstrong cover)
(Jamie Harvey lives in Los Angeles and is the rock community blogger for GRAMMY.com. She has attended and written about more than 500 shows since 2007. You can follow her musical adventures at www.hardrockchick.com.)