Marky Ramone Brings the Blitzkrieg Back To New York

Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg
January 17, 2015
Gramercy Theatre-New York, NY

     Saturday night at Gramercy Theatre was like taking a time machine back to the late 1970’s. Though all original members of one of the most iconic rock bands in history are no longer alive, it felt like they were during Saturday’s show. The group that is punk rock royalty, The Ramones, was there in spirit as 36 of their hits were played during a virtually non-stop set. Marky Ramone, Brooklyn native and The Ramone’s drummer for fifteen years, played the New York show on a current tour supporting his new autobiography, Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone.
Fans clad in Ramones tee shirts and leather jackets lined the street with his book in hand, hoping to get a signature on a front or back cover from the former drummer of The Ramones. The scene was reminiscent of the LES music scene during the heyday of CBGB and bands like The Ramones, Patti Smith, and The Talking Heads. The only difference was the age range of attendees. Many middle-aged men and women were present, as were teenagers and even young children who were tagging along with their parents, trying to get a glimpse at a part of rock history.
DSC_1626Before the show began, a video montage was played including various clips of live musical performances from the early 1960’s to the late 1970’s. Fans exploded when a live performance of The Who came on, Baba O’Rily drifting into everyone’s ears. The montage led up to the early appearance of The Ramones and other artists at CBGB who found the club to be their home. Shortly after, the projection screen was raised and the band members walked humbly onto stage, making no climactic entrance and expecting no grand welcome. The welcome they got as they walked on, and during the performance, however, was more than grand.
The band opened with Rockaway Beach, a song about the Rockaway Beach area of Queens, NY. The lengthy, two-page setlist included Pet Sematary, The KKK Took My Baby Away, What a Wonderful World, Rock n Roll High School, Miracles, Judy is a Punk, and Pinhead among many others. Singer-songwriter Andrew W.K. attempted to fill the shoes of Joey Ramone on vocals, while Mark Neuman and Graham Vanderveen replaced Johnny and DeeDee on guitar and bass. W.K. is most known for his single, Party Hard. While no one can truly replace The Ramones, these guys came pretty close. From the first song, a small mosh pit emerged and crowd surfers didn’t hesitate to get the party started. W.K.’s spot-on vocals paid homage to the unique sound of The Ramones while bringing his own style into the performance. His energy was definitely different than that of Joey Ramone, but that’s what made it so enjoyable. This was not a cover band attempting to look and sound identical to The Ramones, which is a feat anyone would surely fail at. The band Marky Ramone enlisted for this tour was simply having a great time playing Ramones songs for a room of hardcore fans.
There were two encores, which were the only pauses during the entire performance. Marky also took a few moments before one encore to thank everyone for attending and give mention to the book that spurred this tour. He also thanked Hilly Kristal, owner and founder of the famous CBGB, without whom The Ramones, Marky, and everyone in the venue that night would not have been there. His modesty about being in one of the best and most well-known rock bands of all time was impressive. After 35 songs had been played, the band closed with none other than Blitzkrieg Bop, The Ramones 1976 debut single off the album Ramones. A sea of fists hit the air in repetitions of four with each “Hey-Ho, Let’s Go!” chanted. Even after 36 songs, the show was still too short and fans lingered in the venue, basking in the feeling the music left in them. For any Ramones fans, Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg is a must see.
Review by: Ashley Rodriguez