Dropkick Murphys @ Nottingham Rock City – 26 June 2017

Posted by Gig Junkies on Monday Jun 26, 2017 Under Celtic, Punk

Review by Simon Saynor with photography by Mark Loraine.

Sometime in the mid-late 80s I entered Rock City for the first time for what I always maintained was the sweatiest gig I’ve ever been to (Georgia Satellites). Admittedly 19 year old me was front and centre and having a good old mosh. The older, more damaged, me was stood at the back for this one yet still ended the gig drenched with sweat. It was a veritable sauna in there. Admittedly one with bodies flying everywhere in a joyous celebration of one of the greatest proponents of Celtic/Punk there has ever been. I rather think the young me would have had a new sweatiest gig. Dropkick Murphys have brought their juggernaut of a live show steaming once again into a sold out Rock City.

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Sinead O’Connor and The Chieftains ‘The Foggy Dew’ echoes round the darkened room as the band dash on stage and launch into ‘The Lonesome Boatman’, the first of seven tracks from this year’s ‘11 Short Stories Of Pain And Glory’, although the crowd are already taking lead vocals as singer Al Barr conducts. Without a pause we’re straight into ‘The Boys Are Back’, again the crowd drowning out the band on the ‘looking for trouble’ chorus.

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The scene is set for the night. A relentless 27 song set over the space of two hours with pretty much all eras Murphys thrown in, including a 4 song medley from debut album ‘Do Or Die’. There are many things to love about Dropkick Murphys. Amongst the raucous, gunshot delivery it’s easy to forget the quality of the musicianship on show. Tim Brennan and Jeff DaRosa in particular swapping from guitar to banjo to mandolin to accordion to keyboard, often mid song. The energy on stage is palpable.
7 songs in, ‘The State Of Massachusetts’ DaRosa is in the crowd with his banjo. One young lad takes over the fret work and is note perfect. Bass player/singer Ken Casey is notably taken aback with a promise to get the kid on stage later. The band seem to play in blocks of songs, firing them off with no rest for the band or crowd. Then they have a couple of minutes chatting with the sweaty throng and we’re off again. A band more diverse than you’d imagine and with an interesting mix of covers thrown in too (‘I Had A Hat’, ‘The Fields Of Athenry’, ‘Here Comes The Night’, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ ‘If The Kids Are United’).

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My favourite, ‘First Class Loser’ comes in as song 21 before Casey invites the fret working fan on stage. George, for that is his name, stayed on stage for the rest of the show, playing mandolin and looking like he should always have been there. The traditional ‘Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya’ is another glorious singalong, quite possibly a tip of the hat to The Clash’s ‘English Civil War’. The band are big fans (Al Barr’s son is called Strummer). Plus it was Mick Jones birthday.

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‘Worker’s Song’ ends the set but thankfully they don’t leave us waiting too long. The ceiling is seriously dripping now. Sham 69’s ‘If The Kids Are United’ starts the encores before the crowd surfing pandemonium of ‘Shipping Out To Boston’. They close with another track from ’11 Short Stories Of Pain And Glory’, ‘Until The Next Time’. It is a natural show closer and by the end the band are totally obscured by the obligatory stage invasion.

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I’m guessing they’re a nightmare for security. I love it.
The fresh air was so welcome post gig but I’d have happily struggled through another two hours of the live force of nature that is Dropkick Murphys. To paraphrase one of Nottingham’s favourite adopted sons ‘I wouldn’t say Dropkick Murphys are the greatest live band in the business but they’re in the top one’.


Setlist
The Lonesome Boatman
The Boys Are Back
Hang ‘Em High
Blood
I Had a Hat
Rebels with a Cause
The State of Massachusetts
Famous for Nothing
Going Out in Style
Rose Tattoo
Sunday Hardcore Matinee
The Fields of Athenry
Paying My Way
Here Comes the Night
Sandlot
Barroom Hero
Do or Die
Never Alone
Boys on the Docks
You’ll Never Walk Alone
First Class Loser
Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya
Out of Our Heads
Worker’s Song

Encore:
If the Kids Are United
I’m Shipping Up to Boston
Until the Next Time

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