Having been raised in Massachusetts, I can tell you that one inherits some unavoidable characteristics from the area: a love for Boston sports, heritage pride, a distinct (yet, slightly annoying) accent that will sneak up on you no matter how well you conceal it, a palate for alcoholic beverages, and the ability to go off on anyone at any given moment.
Dropkick Murphys managed to bundle up all those traits into a unique musical medium of Celtic Punk Rock that, over the years, has served as the perfect soundtrack for pre-game pump-ups, post-game wins, nights out at the bar, or just driving around town as bored teenagers with nothing else to do. For me, nostalgia was thick in the air, but Dropkick Murphys are not just for the “Massholes.” That was proven at last week’s sold-out concert in Nashville.
If you’ve ever seen Dropkick Murphys, you know that they don’t let up—from the moment they take the stage to their final wave to the crowd. I saw them at Bonnaroo a couple years ago, and despite the scorching heat, they still put on a top-notch show at full intensity. Sources have told me that one of the members suffered from a spell of heat stroke following that set. That’s some Chuck Norris sh*t right there. Way to finish the job, guys!
This show was no exception. Not even five minutes in, the audience was playfully riled up. A Pabst was whipped onto the stage, and a wheelchair was being passed over heads in the crowd. An enthusiastic body soon followed that chair, causing singer, Al Barr, to grin. The crowd surfing continued throughout the night, and drinks were flowing.
Since the band brings so much power, Dropkick shows move extremely fast. Before we knew it, the guys were breaking down into an acoustic set. This was something that went over well at a recent gig they played at Boston’s historic Fenway Park, so they decided to try it out on the road. Who would think Punk would work unplugged? It did though, since a lot of their style can be contributed to that old Irish feel. The bag pipes are always the star in hidden in the clouds with this band, but in this part of the show, they had their chance to shine. The tone was beautiful and quite moving emotionally, actually.
One of the major highlights, of course, was “I’m Shipping Up to Boston,” which was played shortly after the acoustic set, sending everyone into a frenzy. People were dancing with complete strangers and singing along with all their might, beer bottles held high.
The encore topped it all off, where the band invited all the ladies onto the stage for “Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced.” There must have been forty girls on stage, the perfect scenario for the men to choose which one they were in love with. I mean, you couldn’t not love these girls. They were so fun and spunky. It was my favorite part of the show, by far.
The men were soon allowed onstage for a cover of AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” and at this point, the stage was just overrun with drunken insanity. It was great to watch, and as more people piled on… we got to move closer for a better view.
Honestly, Dropkick Murphys are one of the smartest bands in the business. They have a brilliant concept going here—touring around St. Patrick’s Day. Many ticket holders are drinking and feeling free with that extra change in their pocket. The merch sales must be crazy. Nothing to wear on that big Irish holiday coming up? Oh look, a shirt that says “Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced with the Dropkick Murphys”… sold!
Really, it was a perfect night, and I don’t know how actual St. Patty’s Day can live up to it. If you’re around Boston, I suggest you keep up with the band’s website. They are playing a few shows in Lowell this weekend, and it sounds like they’ll be making it a little easier for you to get in. They’ll even be hiding some wristbands around Boston.
For those of us not in the area, we can check out the premiere of Dropkick Murphys: Live at Fenway on Palladia on March 17th at 9:00 PM Eastern.