Music » Livewire

Lars Frederiksen & the Bastards

With the Dropkick Murphys and Reach the Sky. Friday, April 27, at the Agora.


You can only really make out one word on the brief, bombastic intro to Lars Frederiksen's self-titled solo CD, and that word is "motherfuckers." It's a fitting opening salvo from the mohawked Rancid guitarist, one of the most visible and respected figures of just-above-ground punk, who is famous for veering between profanity and incoherence. With one MF-bomb down, a few hundred to go, and a new backing band (appropriately named the Bastards) to pump him up, Frederiksen has unloaded an album of beer-soaked Ramones-on-steroids anthems hellbent on pushing him further away from the radio-friendly punk mainstream that embraced "Ruby Soho"-era Rancid. Though Rancid singer-guitarist Tim Armstrong produced the disc, Frederiksen takes the reins and dives fearlessly back into blaring, basement-bar rock, with mostly splendid results.

Some may miss Rancid's reggae vibe, pop sensibility, and severe Clash fixation. But great songs abound here, particularly "To Have and to Have Not," a fine, fist-pumping addition to the no-bullshit working class aesthetic that defines Frederiksen's music. All this pointed bombast will make for a jolly-good-kick-in-the-head sort of live performance, particularly with Irish-punk louts the Dropkick Murphys also on the bill. Of all the unholy noise generated by the Rancid conglomerate, Operation Ivy still represents the zenith, balancing punk snarl with big-time sing-along reggae jammin'. Frederiksen wasn't around at the time to help make it, but he clearly learned from it, and he carries Ivy's punk quotient to a satisfying conclusion. It may be loud and profane and a bit hard to decipher, but it isn't lazy.

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