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After 20-Plus Years, the Violent Femmes Prove They Still Rock


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With a quirky, fun sound and a great chemistry that permeated the stage, the Violent Femmes had most of the crowd bopping up and down Thursday night at the very packed and extremely cloudy Thursday at the Square.


Best known for the early '90s cult favorite "Blister in the Sun," the Violent Femmes have been the purveyors of underground indie folk rock for more than 20 years -- not that anyone would notice, because they sound as fresh and as fun as they did when their self-titled first album was released in 1982.


They were discovered on the streets of Milwaukee by Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders (who was so enchanted by their clowning around that she invited them to open for her band).


Brian Ritchie (bass/multi-instrumentalist), Victor DeLorenzo (who plays his percussion at the front of the stage) and Gordan Gano (guitarist/vocals) have survived through members leaving and returning, solo albums and the requisite interband drama that every group seems to go through.


The square was packed with people waiting to regain their troubled youth -- with several folks dancing wildly upon the Civil War monument throughout the entire concert.


The gentlemen of the Violent Femmes seemed to have a good time themselves, busting out a bit of their country influences, as well as their best-known acoustic bass guitar riffs.


They had a comfortable stage presence that only comes from playing with each other for so many years.


And of course everyone went nuts when they started in on that oh- so-familiar opening to "Blister in the Sun."


God bless those men for having a good sense of humor about themselves.


Opening band Stand, out of Ireland, had a beautiful mellowed-out rock sound that reminded one of Coldplay, but not in that bad, derivative way.


Not to mention the lead singer tranced out on more than one occasion and had a charming Irish accent.


Mark Norris and the Backpeddlers also opened, bringing their Kinks-like rock sound to a lovely night at the Square.



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