Gig Review by Simon Saynor with Photography by Mark Loraine

Dropkick Murphys

Four bands, forty miles away, doors at 5.30, first band on stage at 6. As the doors open I’m contemplating locking my shop doors early and getting a flyer. Then the browser comes in. As the first band take the stage I’m watching a guy examine every piece of vinyl in the shop knowing he won’t buy anything.

The upshot of all this is we arrive at Rock City just in time for The Mahones’ Filthy Drunken Bastard/Teenage Kicks mash up before they depart the stage. The crowd is awash with shamrocks, kiss me I’m Irish t-shirts and lots of green (and beards). It’s the week of St. Patrick’s Day. Nottingham have just extended it by 3 days.

Dropkick Murphys

The pipes start playing and we’re into Your Spirits Alive. Rock City is already bouncing with bodies flying everywhere before security drag the crowd surfers out, usher them to the side of the pit so they can dive in and start again. Dropkick Murphys are relentless. It’s a full frontal Celtic punk assault and it’s magnificent. A 26 song set picked from the majority of their back catalogue with some spectacular covers thrown in for good measure. (The reggae/Celtic Guns Of Brixton was very special indeed). First of these covers was AC/DC’s T.N.T. As bassist/singer and primary songwriter Ken Casey has stated, ‘I think our goal is to be the AC/DC of Celtic punk rock’.

Dropkick Murphys

They epitomise organised chaos in their live shows, Casey swapping mic stands mid-song, Tim Brennan effortless going from guitar to keyboards to accordion, Al Barr barking out vocals at breakneck speed interspersed with the odd Irish jig. It’s mayhem. It’s brilliant.

Surprise of the night for me was Tessie, a song they rarely play in the UK, it being a celebration of all things Boston Red Sox. It was never a favourite of mine but live it has a new life. A singalong epic. It’s obvious the crowd are gonna flag before The Murphys but their onstage energy drags the masses along. The chaos continues with Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced and, it would seem, every single female in Rock City joining them on stage, The security looked a little overwhelmed. The stage finally cleared for set ender I’m Shipping Up To Boston and we get to take a, brief, breather.

Dropkick MurphysDropkick Murphys

Then The Boys Are Back and we’re off again. Skinhead On The MBTA leads into Sham 69’s If The Kids Are United and time for the male members of the crowd to invade the stage. (The girls did it better). And that was it. Rock City is left a sweaty mess as the Boston Celts take their bludgeoning musical assault on to the next set of willing victims.

You know you’ve been at a gig when you see Dropkick Murphys. You can ask for nothing more. Once the bruises heal I’m going again!

Dropkick Murphys

Set List: Your Spirit’s Alive 
The Warrior’s Code 
Gonna Be a Blackout Tonight 
T.N.T. 
(AC/DC cover)
Caps and Bottles 
Alcohol 
(Gang Green cover)
The Guns of Brixton 
(The Clash cover)
Dirty Water 
(The Standells cover)
Prisoner’s Song 
Cruel 
Deeds Not Words 
Watch Your Back 
(Cock Sparrer cover)
Curse of a Fallen Soul 
In the Streets of Boston 
Tessie 
Citizen C.I.A. 
Rose Tattoo 
Barroom Hero 
As One 
Black Velvet Band 
The State of Massachusetts 
Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced 
I’m Shipping Up to Boston 
Encore:
The Boys Are Back 
Skinhead on the MBTA 
If the Kids Are United 
(Sham 69 cover)

Dropkick Murphys

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