Joining the trio (singer/guitarist Gordon Gano, bassist Brian Ritchie, and new drummer John Sparrow) were saxophonist Blaise Garza, and additional horns section: Todd and Mike.
Personally speaking, I really like the extra brass sound, and so did the audience... every time Garza played the subcontrabass (this gigantic saxophone), people went nuts.
For ‘I Held Her in My Arms’, Ritchie dedicated the song to Steve Mackay, who wrote the saxophone portion of the song. Mackay passed away last year at the age of 66.
If you look at many of the Violent Femmes’ songs, you can start to see a certain pattern: teenage angst, desire/need/drive for sex, memory or lack of, and sometime a little religious/old timey tales. It’s these themes that fans growing up in the 90s can identify with.
These fans probably haven’t seen the Violent Femmes in a long time. That is because, shortly after touring for Freak Magnet in 2000, Gano decided he just about had it with the tough touring life... then the band broke up in 2009 because of bassist Brian Ritchie sued Gano for, basically, selling out to Wendy’s.
It basically boils down to the fact that fans probably haven’t seen VF for 16 years. That’s a long time, but, based on hearing almost every song sung back, word for word, these same fans clearly haven’t forgotten about the Violent Femmes.
They saved two of their biggest singalong classics ‘Kiss Off’ and ‘Add It Up’ for the encore. Sandwiched between the two favorites, was a request for ‘Rejoice And Be Happy’, which they said that they haven’t played in a long time. However, like their new album We Can Do Anything, the band proved that they can play anything.
Violent Femmes’ remaining tour dates:
Jul 20 Stubbs Austin, TX
Jul 22 Newport Folk Festival Newport, RI
Jul 23 Kerfuffle 2016 Festival Buffalo, NY
Jul 24 Massey Hall Toronto, Canada
Sep 24 The Park at Harlinsdale Farm Franklin, TN
Violent Femmes at First Avenue, Minneapolis (05 July 2016)