Kerrang | By David McLaughlin | Photos by Ian Collins
How Does Mr Party Hard Party Harder? By Becoming Andy Ramone
The late, great Joey Ramone was a proper rockstar. Dee Dee and Johnny, too. True, they weren’t as flash or musically towering as Led Zeppelin or Queen, but together, onstage as the Ramones – the best punk rock band of all time, bar none – they had presence. They had magic. They were fucking rockstars. Onstage tonight alongside Marky Ramone – not an original member, but a long-standing one keeping punk’s greatest band’s name alive – Andrew W.K. and some session players do their best to spark up some of that old magic. They might not muster the same sense of star quality those classic Ramones line-ups did, but luckily for all involved in this celebration of that legacy, the durability of the songs they left behind is all that’s really needed.
Kicking off with Rockaway Beach, it’s immediately clear that Andrew W.K. hasn’t been brought along for his vocal chops. He’s more of a chief cheerleader, acting the part of loveable goof, bounding around the stage as a hulking, sweat-drenched mass of hair and stained whites. They play a career-spanning set taking in roughly 500 songs, in about 90 minutes, faster, harder and heavier than they ever sounded on record. Probably better than the Ramones ever played them live as well, with one or two moments here ever highlighting how Marky isn’t exactly a human metronome behind the kit. But, come on now, perfection was never the point of punk rock or the Ramones. Yet, on the simplest of songs – The KKK Took My Baby Away, Rock ‘N’ Roll High School, Blitzkrieg Bop – with a whole room full of fans young and old singing along, it’s a reminder of just how often they stumbled upon just that. Even two encores isn’t nearly enough. They could go all night and no-one would complain. And if anyone had any cynicism going in, the smiles on faces as they leave, says it all. In the words of tonight’s host – party tip: the Ramones.