I was severely jetlagged from an arduous trip to France, Poland, and finally, Ukraine. The latter was under attack from a relentless lunatic, and I’d had to run to a bomb shelter more than once (in actuality, just a parking garage beneath my hotel/apartment).
I was dealing with days of lost luggage from said trip amid memories of good people needlessly suffering.
I was hardly in the mood to celebrate when the Interrupters came to NCY last Thursday, June 30th, 2022.
But good concerts at Pier 17 at sunset and ska music always get me in a good mood.
Besides, I’ve been a fan of The Interrupters fronted by Aimee Interrupter, and their infectious ska music for years. So I soldiered on, broken toes (likely – long story) and all, feeling every bit of my years.
Flogging Molly was the other headliner, but I was there to see the Interrupters.
I must have been lost in a post-covid fog (another long story – I finally caught IT early in the trip to Paris). I had forgotten that Tiger Army was opening and arrived late in their set.
Walking into the venue, I looked up as the sun began its descent after a day of waging relentless heat on earth’s denizens below. I saw a bearded but strangely familiar figure on stage. I initially thought, “when did Ben Affleck start playing psychobilly music?”
Then heard the distinctive vocals of Nick 13 and the thump of a standup bass. I suddenly remembered seeing that information pre-trip and cursed myself for getting there so late (late post-pandemic is 6 pm or so, it seems).
Alas, I could only hear a few Tiger Army songs, but it was good to see Nick 13, like me, older, with a beard, a bit more lbs. on the frame, but still going strong. Who knows what the dedicated, uncompromising musician has been through these past few years (last I heard, he’d moved to Nashville, poor guy), but somehow, seeing a familiar face cheered my soul (see my 2007 video interview with Nick and that version of Tiger Army HERE).
When the Interrupters finally hit the stage, the summer light was perfect, and the temperature was ideal. Aimee came out, smile beaming as brightly as the setting sun, obviously loving what she was doing, dancing non-stop. She would keep this up for the entire hour-plus long set, pausing only once to catch her breath for an appreciative, roaring crowd.
Not that her bandmates were slouches. They picked up any slack bantering with the crowd between songs and looked just as happy to be there as Aimee. In fact, the entire band reminded me of the optimistic, “you’re gonna be my friend” outlook of so many of the Interrupter’s songs they belted out. Like “By My Side” – “I don’t wanna die, I don’t wanna die, but when I do die, do die, I know you’ll be by my side!”
I’m sure it was the jetlag and the leftover impact of seeing fresh graves of Ukrainian soldiers being grieved over by family members that sent a couple of tears to the fore.
Jet lag is a silent killer, IMHO. It can easily depress you, especially after returning home. But I usually snap out of it after a couple of days.
But with all the darkness I’d witnessed in Ukraine and the misery I’d returned to in the USA after just three weeks abroad, I felt a vague sense of hopelessness in humanity. And a continued pang of conscience at being unable to stay longer in Ukraine… to do more and go deeper.
But then The Interrupters hit the stage, and watching the next generation of ska punks on top of their parent’s heads was inspiring.
Fun is how I’d characterize the night. I’d characterize Aimee as hardworking, bright, grateful, beautiful, and intent on giving it her all. Remember when (or youngsters, google it) Dave Letterman gushed on live tv after seeing Gwen Stephanie’s band perform? That’s how I felt about Aimee and The Interrupters.
The chemistry in the band is a “practice what we preach” display of unity. Friends are more important than money; if you don’t have friends, “you can come with us.” But Ska punk is like that.
Happy, optimistic, the anti-thesis of these dark times amid self-inflicted wounds of one powerful country hell-bent on destroying itself from within and another, much tinier one fighting slaughter and simply being free. These were my thoughts that hazy, beautiful evening when I finally saw The Interrupters live.
I was exhausted, in a horrible frame of mind… but I left there humming… “I’m a match…she’s kerosene” on the subway home.
Enjoy the photos and videos of the evening. Thanks, Interrupters!