12 May The Interrupters Rock Mid-Week Concert That Brings Out Punks, Parents, and Littles
By Marisa Torrieri Bloom
The California ska-punk band The Interrupters is best known for its rabble-rousing tracks like “Take Back the Power,” “She Got Arrested,” and “Gave You Everything.”
But last night, during the Connecticut leg of the band’s 2023 co-headlining tour at the Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford with Frank Turner, the band proved it could also slay a piano-driven ballad, invite Dad to bust out a trumpet solo, and get 10-year-olds jumping past their bedtime.
Kicking off its Wednesday night set around 8:30, The Interrupters — singer Aimee, plus brothers Kevin (guitar), Jesse (drums) and Justin Bivona (bass) — launched into a mix of old and new tunes, playing to a diverse crowd of grownups and a surprisingly high number of children under 12. Favorites included the aforementioned “Take Back The Power,” “She Got Arrested,” and “Title Holder,” as well as a bunch of tracks from their latest record (In the Wild): “In the Mirror,” “Raised by Wolves,” “Anything was Better,” and their sexy, reggae ode to gratitude, “Kiss the Ground.”
[SEE RELATED: THE INTERRUPTERS ‘IN THE WILD’: RECORD REVIEW]
Admittedly, I was a little disappointed initially to find out the concert would be held on a stage in the domed area of the Oakdale Theatre, in lieu of the bigger auditorium, where I saw Demi Lovato last fall. The sound in that part of the complex is a little weird and loud, and Aimee’s in-ear monitors didn’t seem to be working right, as evidenced by her adjusting them frequently throughout the set. My heart went out to her, and I found myself wishing, about six songs in, that I was back at College Street Music Hall in New Haven, in June 2022, when the Interrupters played the most perfect show I’ve ever seen with Tiger Army and The Skints.
Yet there were some special, fun moments at last night’s Oakdale Theater show that I hadn’t experienced at previous gigs.
One of the coolest parts of the set was when the Bivona brothers’ dad came onstage to play a trumpet solo. Apparently, the band has roots in New England, which we learned when Kevin told the audience his grandfather is a Connecticut native, and noted how special it was to have family at that show.
But the coolest part of the night transpired just ahead of the encore, when the lights dimmed, the rhythm section quieted down, and Aimee launched into “Alien,” the raw, stripped-down ballad that closes out In the Wild. With just a pianist, a smattering of drums, and husband-guitarist Kevin Bivona accompanying her, Aimee belted out the song’s lyrics with emotional conviction, singing about the struggle of feeling “not entirely female” — like a strange creature with awkward outsider tendencies — as the breeze from the fan pushed her hair back from her face. And just when the audience thought it was about to end, she sat down next to Kevin to sing the first verse and chorus of Leonard Cohen’s classic “Hallelujah.” Watching her in those moments, alongside Kevin, gave the night an unexpected, emotional counterpoint.
It was also a nice calm before the finale, the climactic sugar rush of two serotonin-boosting favorites — “Family” and “She’s Kerosine” — which the audience sung along with while lobbing big, inflatable beach balls across the room.
And while I didn’t get to stay through the end of the night to see much of Frank Turner (because I have young kids), I appreciated the Interrupters’ mood-lifting set so much, and I hope that the next time I see the band, it’s in my own backyard.
Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.