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Concert Review: Dropkick Murphys – March 14, 2009, House of Blues, Boston, All Roads Lead to Boston Tour

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In the late morning shadow of Fenway Park, an excited crowd dressed in more St. Patrick’s Day flair than was thought feasible — or even possible — waited patiently on Landsdowne Street for the doors of The House of Blues concert hall to open. And some, like us, only waited for the HOB’s bar to be open, and in we went.

And it must be mentioned here — the staff at the House of Blues was phenomenal. We had over an hour to kill, and P.T. and Alyssa took great care of us at the bar, and the various security/bouncer type blokes we met here and there were all gracious smiles as they directed us to the rest rooms, or checked our bags. I didn’t even mind when one man politely confiscated a squished and forgotten Cliff bar at the bottom of my purse before I entered the concert hall.

But even the most pleasant atmosphere on the outside can’t eliminate all concert woes on the inside. As much as I love a good, loud, lively show, the combination of alcohol and St. Patrick’s Day hype in such a crowded room kept the mom in me thinking, “This is surely an accident waiting to happen.” And yet, somehow the frenzied moshing and occasional pushing and shoving and boob grabbing that occurs outside “the pit” was really not that bad at all. And our own crowd of ten only suffered one real injury when Warren’s ankle received a mosh pit stomp that resulted in considerable swelling later on.

Three acts preceded the DKM: Bryan McPherson, The Old Brigade, and Civet. The only group we saw before the main show was Civet — an all girl punk band out of Long Beach, CA. They had energy and attitude, but when you can’t understand many lyrics because they’re being yelled, not sung — the appeal is diminished.

And then it was time for the main act. True to DKM’s nod to their musical ancestry, their set was heralded by a recording of “Foggy Dew” sung by Sinead O’Connor with the Chieftains. There was a raucous, yet respectful response to the ballad, creating the perfect intro. And then the boys bounced onto the stage, their visceral energy contrasting with the stained glass window backdrop. They ripped right into “Do or Die,” and never looked back.

Another rousing anthem followed, “State of Massachusetts,” the sad story about a woman who loses her children to DSS. But lest the crown feel any sort of melancholy, an adorable line of young girls step danced their way on stage, including Ken Casey’s own daughter. They smiled and bounced to “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya” in the most shiny and colorful costumes imaginable, and again graced the stage during “Captain Kelly’s Kitchen.” What great fun.

During another song from Warrior’s Code, “Citizen C.I.A.,” one citizen’s good time was tempered with a bloody injury. We saw him being led quickly out of the pit, for some fresh air and medical attention. In comparison, our Warren’s injury wasn’t so awful.

As live acts often do, during this All Roads Lead to Boston tour, DKM mixed it up by bringing Liza Graves, the lead singer for Civet, to join them during “Dirty Glass,” and Saturday’s matinee show was no exception. The crowd loved it. Another crowd-pleaser was the DKM staple “Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced.” A beer- and estrogen-fueled crowd of lovelies rushed the stage to join the in the rowdy sing-along. Another one of those  “someone’s going to get hurt” Mom panics ran through me, but surprisingly it worked.

The only obvious awkward moment of the show was during the beloved “Tessie.” The fact that I was in the restroom during this favorite was aggravating, but as it turned out, Ken Casey was getting annoyed by some crowd disturbance, and/or the way the security handled the disturbance. I could only hear bits and pieces of Casey’s chastising, but he ended up starting the song over from the beginning, which actually worked well for me, as I was on my way out of the restroom. And it’s really all about ME, anyway.

All too soon the band was leaving the stage, but of course, not for long. The boys were back out soon with an encore that started with a mean cover of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley.” The power chord never sounded so good. A great follow-up featured members of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones on stage with DKM in “Shipping Up to Boston.” I had missed the summer concerts when the two bands played at three New England ball fields, including neighboring Lowell’s LeLacheur Park. Sure, I could hear it from my house, but this was a lot better.

The show closed with the final frenzy of “Skinhead on the MTA,” DKM’s own take on the old Kingstown Trio classic. Now it was the men’s turn to crowd on the stage, sharing microphones with the Murphys. And again, no injuries!

Ironic that the closing song was “Skinhead,” our own mass transit journey home was stymied by not one, but two re-routed trains between the Kenmore and North Station stops. However, our fate was NOT “riding forever ‘neath the streets of Boston”, but it was a bit dicey at first. And a final shout-out to Kelly and the gang – “Ballsac!”

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About MaryKay

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    What!? They don’t open up with the bagpipes anymore?? Anyway, nice review… They are great guys and they deserve the success that they have acheived. But, I do miss Mike McColgan on the mic.
    I remember the first time I saw them was at the Middle East(w/Mr.McColgan) and they were freakin awesome.

  • http://dracutweblog.blogspot.com Mary K. Williams

    Thanks Brian.

    Actually, yeah, they did open with the pipes, I assume it was Scruffy Wallace.

    It was a great show. I hope to see them again.

  • http://themidnightcafe.org Mat Brewster

    Sounds like a good show, and a nice way to celebrate certain things that will go nameless here.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Yea.. I’d love to check’em out again,but, it gets f’in crazy when they come to town. I’m surprised you were able to get a ticket for the St.Patty’s show. I mean, Boston+DKM+St. Patrick’s Day… You can’t get any closer to Ireland unless you actually go there!

  • http://dracutweblog.blogspot.com Mary K. Williams

    I’m surprised too Brian. In the past, I had received the CDs from the label, but once the chance at BC came up for tix- the label (or management co., or PR rep) said..’sorry, sold out!’