The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Devils Night Out (Cover Artwork)

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

Devils Night Out (1990)


Operation Ivy were pioneers in fusing ska and punk on the west coast, but on the east coast, it was Boston's plaid clad Mighty Mighty Bosstones who were the kings, starting it off in 1985. It would be a full decade later when the mainstream would embrace them and shitty bandwagon third wave ska bands would quickly rise and fall. But Devil's Night Out marks the cornerstone of the genre the band aptly titles skacore. Taking 2 tone-era ska and injecting into it healthy doses of punk, hardcore, metal, and rock, this was a band set out to have a great time, throwing all their influences into a messy stew and seeing what they could come up with. The energetic horn blasts from Johnny Vegas, the deft ska/punk licks laid down by guitar virtuoso Nate Albert, and the unmistakable vocal noise of Dicky Barrett are all on raw display here.

Right out of the gates, you have the classic "Devil's Night Out," with a searing guitar opening leading into Dicky growling about devils drinking and dancing up storms. You start slamming in the pit to this thrasher until the Bosstones hit the chorus and introduce you to ridiculously catchy ska, and now you're just dancing around like a drunken fool. You are now officially hooked.

The energy, passion, and humor these guys show doesn't let up until the last song is over. The frenetic pace of their live staple "Hope I Never Lose My Wallet" and "Haji" will get you moving. They give you a welcome change of pace from the more explosive skacore tracks with the excellent "Howwhywuz, Howwhyam" a song with Dicky reflecting on his past. "The Cave" is a loungy ska tune that conjures up images of a Mardi Gras party. They have an ode to the bartender and alcohol (a recurring theme throughout the album) in the uh, "The Bartender's Song." You start getting the idea that they ain't a one trick pony. In fact, they are pretty good songwriters and musicians who complement each other very well, evident both on the studio tracks and in their chaotic live shows. The horn section is top notch, and Dicky is a fantastic storyteller and one of the more underrated lyricists in punk rock in my opinion. They would only continue to get better.

My favorite track though is "Patricia," a song I've never heard them play in the dozen or so times I've had the pleasure in seeing them. It's a driving, straight up punk track that has Dicky telling a sad story about the trials and tribulations of a girl named Patricia and how she is able to overcome them and in turn inspire Dicky. They finish it all off with the mini jam session "A Little Bit Ugly," with help from Jimmy G of Murphy's Law that starts off with a harmonica intro before charging into a hyper speed ska punk tune.

Later records would accentuate different aspects of their music such as the more ska-influenced More Noise And Other Disturbances, the rock-influenced Don't Know How To Party and the more hardcore-influenced Question The Answers. Not to say that they peaked here, but I find it one of their more enjoyable records out of their vast back catalog. So that's how it goes with the hardest working band around playing in all their drunken glory with smiles on their faces, watching the ska kids and punk kids going crazy. Beautiful.