The power of your example is far greater than what you say!
and their ain’t no band who set a better example than the Dropkick Murphys. Love, loyalty and friendship. Ray Ball was lucky enough to catch the Murphys on only the second leg of their St. Patrick’s tour in Rochester, New York.
So, we all know this is a DKM show. And I’ll get into that later, but I wanted to get into a couple of the other groups that played.
First on deck was Jesse Ahern. Before walking in the doors even, I was a big fan. I got turned on to him when he was supposed to see him on a tour that got cancelled opening for DKM. Admittedly I’ve got all the records on my phone and keep them going pretty steadily on rotation in my car.
But he’s got a classic act down. One guitar, a harmonica and his vocals when he plays live. The records have more instrumental parts but it is bare bones, solid, working-class folk music. Solid solid set, early on and probably didn’t get the attention he deserves but I was definitely right up front and center.
Next came on The Rumjacks. First and foremost, replacing a band member is hard. I don’t care if you’re playing in a garage or were AC/DC trying to replace Bon Scott. Obviously a singer can also make or break a band. A new one-well damn. Uncharted waters. But they did it well.
The sound has changed. Personally I love the newer material-yes the ended with “Irish Pub Song” but ironically I wasn’t to familiar with the rest of the set. The overall sound and vibe is definitely headed in a direction I like. It makes me think definitely of what I wanted to sound like on record-only much, much better. No frills, crazy lighting, etc. On, straight Celtic punk, filled with whistles, bouzouki’s and a set of highland pipes, and go.
The Bombpops are not a group I would have bought headlining tickets for. Just not in my normal spectrum. That said, they had come cool music. Even though in my mind it shouldn’t be, it’s always unique to see two girls on stage. To me, in my own work I could really care less who you are as long as we have a good vibe and make good music. But it made me think of the bonus track on “Elgin Avenue Breakdown” by the 101ers. The track is a live cover of “Gloria” in which Joe Strummer goes into talking about women in the punk scene. “I’ve seen Patti Smith do it…” he says, and in a long tangent into how the whole idea of the punk movement was to break down those walls of convention.
Have we since 1976 when that was recorded made that headway? I’m not certain. I think we could argue both sides. I’m not entirely familiar with Bombpops repertoire. But I want to say, girls onstage in any act-punk or no-should not be a novelty. I personally don’t care if you’re a guy, a girl, black, white, purple-if you can play solid music and mean it I will listen. And damn, their guitarist played some of the most true punk palm-muting-all-downstroke machine gun sounding guitar playing I’ve seen in a very long time.
Ok, onwards. Dkm. I don’t need to introduce anyone here. But there were a few key points. Al Barr is out of the current tour on account of family matters. Much much much respect. The first thing I thought of when I heard that news was “Do you think Mick Jagger took time off from the Stones to help his sister take care of their mom?” Much respect to those who made it possible for him to do that. Frankly I don’t know much about Mick Jagger’s life, but I’m thinking I’m going to err on the side of probably not.
That leaves a hefty job for Ken to hold down. And he did it like an absolute champion. I’m willing to bet that everyone reading has at least seen them live on one of the Live Streams if not once or many times over the years. You know exactly what a good show you’re in for. But the one thing I will point out-the set list. “Do or Die”, “Caught in a Jar”, Caps and Bottles” and “Curse of a Fallen Soul” (some of which are mostly Al songs) came out of the vaults. The opened with “Cadence to Arms”. I’ve seen them every chance I get since 2004 and don’t think I’ve ever heard that done like that. They also did a mean cover of AC/DC’s “ Rock n’ Roll Singer ”. Old school my friends. A lot of us there were on the older side of the spectrum. There were even a few wee ones with their parents at the front.
So overall, some music I love, some fresh sounds, some impressive unexpected artists? Yes. Some serious nostalgia? Sort of. It got a bit rowdy and we were yelled at by two street preachers waiting on doors to open. It’s a crazy world, and it’s a punk show. Expect anything.
Set-List : Hang ‘Em High / The Fighting 69th / Sunday Hardcore Matinee / Deeds Not Words / Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya / Never Alone / Time to Go / Cruel / Going Out in Style / Take ‘Em Down / Echoes on A. Street / Devil’s Brigade / Boys on the Docks / The Dirty Glass / The State of Massachusetts / The Irish Rover / The Burden / Your Spirit’s Alive / 1953 / Barroom Hero / I’m Shipping Up to Boston / Encore / Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced / Skinhead on the MBTA / T.N.T. (AC/DC cover) /
Dropkick Murphys WebSite Facebook Store
Dropkick Murphys – Fan Page
Now seems the perfect time to mention the #1 Dropkick Murphys group on Facebook. Ran by fans for fans. Simply click the link and join up and join in the Murphys related fun.
Thanks to Ray Ball for the great review and all photos. He has already featured on these pages as the driving force behind The Fighting 69th from Buffalo. The review of his 2-volume set of Dropkick Murphys covers was one of the most viewed of the year. One of the most prolific and diverse artists in the Celtic-Punk scene we are proud to have Raymond on board the London Celtic Punks team. Writer, artist, musician he is a credit to the American-Irish community and you can find a wealth of his material available at his Bandcamp site .