Dropkick Murphys at First Avenue, 2/25/2012
With Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls and The Mahones
First Ave., Minneapolis
Saturday, February 25, 2012
For a slideshow from the concert, click here.
St. Patrick's Day came a little early to Minneapolis in the form of a Dropkick Murphys performance. The Boston-based band brought their Irish-tinged punk rock to a very sold out First Avenue Mainroom on Saturday. Although it was an all-ages crowd -- meaning booze only on the roped off second floor -- the band was able to deliver a show that required no drinking to have a good time.
How to sum up the Dropkick Murphys: Take an Irish folk song, add some anger, and mix together in a mosh pit to have equal fun -- and some bruised ribs. The band was introduced onstage by a lilting Irish folk song segueing into a powerful "Irish Rover" that makes the two most underrated instruments, the accordion and banjo, look cool.
Sometimes you know a song is going to be good just from the cheers from the crowd during the opening bars. Such is the case for "Deeds Not Words," which had "Scruffy" Wallace trading the tin whistle for the bagpipes. It's always admirable to see a band that is so tight with their instrumentation, but even more so with two lead vocalists that can easily trade off, yet come together when needed. Singer/bassist Ken Casey shares about the legendary venue, "I don't know how many times we've played this place, but it's always an honor."
Photo by Erik Hess
The two main purposes of an Irish ditty is to tell a story and break your heart, and "Far Away Coast" surely does with lyrics such as "Though the loneliness strikes like an enemy shell I pray for my home but still sit here in hell." "Far Away Coast" slowed down the set a bit, but not for too long -- especially with an energetic new song simply titled "Sharks" thrown in. Casey asked, "Should we go across the street and play acoustic over there?" to a crowd that erupted in cheers, to which he replied, "It's not gonna happen."
Of course, the band didn't have to go across the street to do an acoustic set; they put one in halfway through the show, changing up the classic "Warrior's Code" and "Take 'Em Down."
The songs were dimmed down, but not necessarily the energy and sincerity behind the delivery.
Following the acoustic set, the band got the mosh pit started again with its most well-known piece that was featured on the Oscar-winning movie The Departed that also takes place in Boston, "I'm Shipping Up to Boston."
For such a rowdy crowd, there was a surprising amount of girls in the audience -- many of which were invited onstage for the tongue-in-cheek dirty love song "Kiss Me, I'm Shitfaced." With so many people onstage, Ken Casey took a trip to the photo pit, while the other lead, Al Barr, performed from the safety of atop the bass amp.
Photo by Erik Hess
The band invited about 20 different people onstage for their encore, which included a rowdy cover of AC/DC's "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheep" and a classic from the vault, "Alcohol."
It's often interesting to watch a show with objectivity where you may not be as familiar with the music as the rest of the crowd, but there is something pure about losing your anger in a mosh pit -- just as pure as the forty-five year old in the back of the room singing every word to every song at the top of his lungs.
Critic's bias: As previously stated, I did not know about 50 percent of the songs that were played at the First Avenue show, but I have a deep appreciation for artists that have been around for years and have stuck through the good and bad times to cultivate their career.
The crowd: Teenagers in the mosh pit, and middle-agers on the peripheral.
Overheard in the crowd: "People in Boston had the iPad long before anyone else; it was called the iPod."
Random notebook dump: Never underestimate the power of "Minnesota Nice." I stopped a young man at the end of the show that had acquired a setlist, and he gave me the extra one that he had.
Time To Go
Sunday Hardcore Matinee
Deeds Not Words
Going Out In Style
Climbing a Chair to Bed
Do or Die
Far Away Coast
Your Spirit's Alive
Fields of Athenry
Take 'Em Down
Boys on the Docks
I'm Shipping Up to Boston
Heroes From Our Past
Peg O' My Heart
Kiss Me, I'm Shitfaced
State of Massachusetts
Skinhead on the MBTA
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (AC/DC cover)
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