Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dropkick Murphys

by Mark Westergaard
February 24th, 2013 at the Myth Nightclub, St. Paul, MN

The Dropkick Murphy’s are a raucous band from Boston that are steeped in their Irish-American heritage.

 They have released nine studio albums and three live concert albums.  They have been together in various iterations for 18 years.   This tour is to promote their current release “Signed & Sealed In Blood”.   The best way to categorize their music is Celtic Punk or Punk Revival.  The seven man ensemble features a bagpipe, an Irish flute, an accordion, and the standard rock assembly of a lead guitarist, bass, drummer, rhythm guitarist, and two lead singers.

They came out with great drama starting with the blistering anthem “The Boys Are Back”.  From the onset the concert was high octane, at warp speed, and they kept hitting the gas pedal harder and harder.  They went from one scorching punk tune to the next with hardly a breath taken between tunes for an hour and 30 minutes.  These are fist pumping arena anthems inspired by their Irish heritage, their love of honor, drinking, tattoos, getting into trouble, getting out of trouble, screwed up families, family honor, love, mayhem, and courage.   It is masculine and muscular.  In short, this concert was an onslaught of testosterone.  

The only criticism I have of this show is that there was no chance to take a breath.  It was one power anthem after another with very little variety.  Subtly and nuance is not in their repertoire.    That said, I saw the Ramones once and they too had only one speed – hyper-fast.  The Dropkick Murphy’s are exactly as billed, a hard working intense Celtic Punk band with no speed but warp.   

The highlight for me was the only time they slightly backed off the feverish tempo and brilliantly performed my favorite tune – Rose Tattoo.  I am reminded of the Bob Segar lyric, “With the echo of the amplifiers ringing in your head…”  In the end, I liked the show more than I didn’t.   I might not be as into the Dropkick Murphy’s as the mostly young male packed house was, but still, an interesting show that I’m glad I saw.