Words & Photos by Adam Parshall

No Bouncing Souls banner hung above the stage at the House of Blues in Boston on July 2nd. In the place of a headliner banner, as well as scattered around the mezzanine barriers, and popping out on t-shirts and posters at the merch table, were three simple, stark white words: “We’re With Stu!”

The real headliner for Boston’s Lansdowne Street punk gathering was Brendan “Stu” Maguire, former bass player for Bane and Reach the Sky, and beloved crew member and ever-present face in the Boston music community. Maguire had sadly passed the Sunday before the show, planned initially as a benefit show for his family, with bands like the Bouncing Souls, Sick of It All, H2O, and Boston’s own Rebuilder taking the stage for a night of friends and music. However, it turned into a celebration of Maguire’s life, his family, and the community to which he was so beloved.

Tributes for Maguire were plentiful and heartbreaking, from Rebuilder closing their opening set with a Reach the Sky song, H2O’s Toby Morse and Sick of It All’s Lou Koller’s impassioned pleas to celebrate life and hold your friends close, the Bouncing Souls transforming parts of “Manthem” and “True Believers” to fit Stu’s nickname, and, of course, a surprise reunion by Massachusetts hardcore legends Bane.

Before the Worcester band’s set, Maguire’s Fender Jazz bass stood propped against an amplifier on stage, lit by a sole spotlight, as a clip of his voice played over the PA in the venue. The bass would remain there during Bane’s whole set, a stark reminder of Stu’s massive impact on not just Boston’s music and punk community, but the music and punk community stretching far outside of New England. As each band would remark throughout the night, this show had been all Stu’s: picking the bands, planning the setlist, everything. The whole night, it was like he was waiting in the wings of the venue, guiding the proceedings like usual.

Merchandise to support Stu’s family can be purchased here.

The Bouncing Souls

Bane

H2O

Rebuilder

Sick Of It All

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