Violent Femmes Rocked the Wellmont Theater

The Violent Femmes rocked the Wellmont Theater's stage just like in the old days, giving the crowd an energetic performance with a mix of old and new songs.

The Violent Femmes brought ecstatic fans back to the 80’s with an unforgettable performance.

violent femmes
Photo by Emma Gallof for The Montclair Dispatch.

On Saturday, Oct. 1, acoustic punks The Violent Femmes took to the stage of The Wellmont Theater, giving fans an unforgettable show. Attendees varied in age, ranging from teenagers to adults, showing the diversity of The Violent Femmes’ music. Seats filled quickly as general admission filed into the show, making their way towards the stage. The Violent Femmes are coming off their first full-length album in over 15 years, which also happens to be their ninth studio album, making this a show not to miss.

The energetic crowd erupted as The Violent Femmes walked out onto the stage, with bassist, Brian Ritchie, immediately jumping into the opening riff of fan favorite “Blister in the Sun.” The Wellmont Theater filled with the voices of the crowd as everyone began to sing along. The Violent Femmes played hit after hit, playing favorites like “Kiss Off” towards the beginning of the night.

As the show stretched on, bassist Brian Ritchie paused to dedicate the song “Issues” to “the loud mouthed individual in the back,” getting a shout back from the excited concertgoer.

The dancing never stopped, even as The Violent Femmes played newer songs such as, “I Can Be Anything.” They received a standing ovation after each song, and even prompted some fans to write messages on the backs of their tickets and to hold them up to the stage, in hopes of the band noticing (which bassist Brian Ritchie did, pointing at some of them throughout the night).

The Violent Femmes are an incredibly talented group that ranges from folk and bluegrass to punk and rock. During the song “Jesus Walking on Water,” singer Gordon Gano played a violin solo along with Ritchie on acoustic bass, prompting some people to wave their napkins from the bar in the air.

After the show, I stopped to talk to father and daughter, Evan and Sydney Parker. Sydney said she enjoyed the show, and found it “amazing how many instruments they can play.”

It was evident that throughout the night, even though The Violent Femmes started back in the 80’s, they can still shred even better today. At 53 and 55, Gordon Gano and  Brian Ritchie, along with John Sparrow, can still rock a stage and bring people back to their teenage years.

“The last time I saw them was 32 years ago, at a small theater in New York City. They had just broken through with their first single, and they were much more raw than now. At that time they didn’t have all the instruments that they have now, and there were only the three members of the band playing. Since then, they have grown much more polished, and I thought this concert was a good mix of new and old songs,” said Parker.

There was never a dull moment at The Wellmont Theater, as drummer John Sparrow used a barbecue as part of his drum set, lead singer Gordon Gano playing a violin along with his guitar and bassist Brian Ritchie moved to the xylophone for the song “Gone Daddy Gone” as well as playing a conch shell and his bass at the same time during another song.

To hear more from The Violent Femmes and their new album check out their website,, as well as check for upcoming shows at The Wellmont Theater.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login