Boston was my ultimate destination in my multi-state tour from New York to see Frank Turner play his first arena show in the United States. Although I have been to Boston several times, I had not yet acquired a Massachusetts tattoo and this trip would be my chance to do it. I associate Boston with Dropkick Murphys and their song “I’m Shipping Up to Boston,” so I decided to get a tattoo inspired by another one of their songs, “Rose Tattoo.” Although I did not hate the existing cat tattoo on my neck, I did not love it because the feet looked like frog legs and it was too good of a spot for mediocre flash art that I picked off a wall. So the rose tattoo would be a cover-up.
I contacted the shop Good Faith Tattoos via e-mail even though their website specifically requested that appointments be made in person. I explained my out-of-towner blog situation and they graciously accepted the task of tattooing me. I did not request a specific artist because every portfolio in the shop was excellent and all of their artists looked like they could handle a traditional rose tattoo. I do not normally opt for traditional tattoos, but it seemed the most appropriate style for both the subject matter and the city.
I took the Amtrak from Providence to Boston and arrived with just enough time to meet my friend, Christina, at the hotel, freshen up, change, and get to the show. There would be a lot of Flogging Molly Cruise shipmates at the show, so I was excited to see them before the music started. The arena was not quite sold out, but for Frank Turner’s first and only arena show thus far, 80% was still amazing, and he and his opening acts put on an incredible show. Once again, Frank Turner wowed the crowd and Christina and I happily danced all night. One of the shipmates at the show was wearing her Tats on Tour t-shirt, which was also such a sweet sight to see. After the concert, Christina and I went across the street from the venue to fill up on some Mexican food and the coolest black salt-rimmed margaritas. Then she went back to the hotel, while I met some salty dogs out on the town. They were drinking in a very strange bar where the bouncer was not letting anyone in, especially foreigners for some reason, and we got kicked out early, so the night out was short, but it was still great to see everyone.
The next morning, Christina and I explored the area to find brunch and had some delicious tea and crepes. We then visited a bookstore and walked over to the tattoo shop for my appointment. Good Faith Tattoos was near the University campus, which made me nervous, because shops that cater to college kids do not always have the best reputations. I trusted the portfolios I saw, however, and walked in. My tattoo artist was Victor Kensinger and he was originally from Spain and one of the loveliest tattoo artists I had ever met, both in look and conversation.
Victor showed me the rose design and I was a little surprised at the number of leaves, but at the time I only cared that there were an odd number of them. I approved the design, and he placed it on my neck and got to work. It was strange being tattooed in a spot that I had absolutely no visual access to. When approving the placement, I had to do it via a photo taken with my phone. I could not move much or turn my head, so talking to Victor without being able to see him was quite awkward, but we still managed a full conversation during the piece. Christina had to leave early to catch her flight, so Victor and I talked about everything from cats to Russia. I also filled him in on the rest of my mini tour and he knew my Providence tattoo artist, another example of how small the tattoo world is.
After my tattoo, I had a couple of hours before I had to get to the airport, so I headed downtown and tried to see some sights on the Freedom Trail. My parents and I had come here when I was a child, but the only thing I remembered from it was the Paul Revere statue, which was still just as impressive when seeing it as an adult. I quickly veered off the trail and walked over to Boston Harbor and Boston Commons, where I enjoyed watching friendly squirrels running about and people precariously walking around on the frozen water. Then I had to get myself to the airport where I had my post-tattoo pint and some lobster fritters.
I really like my Massachusetts tattoo. I did not initially care for the many leaves being so equally placed around the tattoo, but it creates a nice round neck piece. I love the rich red color and the crispness of the design and depth of the shading, particularly in the leaves. Plus, it camouflaged the cat beautifully, leaving only two more pieces of flash on my body, which will soon be covered up as well. This will not be my last visit to Boston, nor will it be my last multi-state tour, but it was an excellent one—full of good music, old friends and new tattoos.