Review and Photography by Micah Gummel.
Live from the Tsongas Center, Lowell, MA.
What better way to spend St. Patty’s day than a night with the Dropkick Murphys!
Fans from all over the world travel to the Boston area to see the Dropkicks on St. Patrick’s Day. With “The State of Massachusetts,” and “I’m Shipping Up To Boston,” they have been loyal revelers to the Baystate. Known for their live shows that support Boston and New England, they honor the working class heroes as well as the sports fans. Their sound has evolved over the years, and originated as Irish punk roots, a unique genre all their own.
Their seventh album, Going Out In Style, was released on March 1, 2012. Closing out this latest tour with over a week’s worth of shows in the New England area. Massachusetts was stoked to have their band rock the Tsongas arena with a sold out evening performance.
Starting off this evening’s event was, The Parkington Sisters, hailing from Cape Cod, MA. On the road with the Dropkicks for this tour, they started the night with a more traditional Celtic sound. They opened their set with an untitled song, which was full of driving fiddle melodies. This crowd was primed! (Well, ok, Guinness did the priming!)
England’s Frank Turner, followed with high energy punk-folk music, backed by The Sleeping Souls. Frank has a huge following in his homeland. He has been selling out headline shows across America—including The Bowery Ballroom in NYC.
Soon after Turner left the stage, the crowd erupted with arena anthem applause:
“Let’s - go Mur-phys!” (Clap Clap Clap) “Let’s - go Mur-phys!” (Clap Clap Clap) “Let’s - go Mur-phys!” (Clap Clap Clap)
The anticipation turned into a frenzy. Then the lights went out and the curtains opened. The Dropkicks killed it with “The Irish Rover!” Al was running horizontally back and forth at the front of the stage, doing his traditional first song, “Psychic Up.” For the next two hours they dominated the attention of everyone in the building!
This production was filled with tempo and set changes. From time to time the stage was shared by an entire troupe of bagpipe players and 15 girls from the Forbes School-Irish Step Dance Crew. At other times in the show, bassist Ken Casey kept jumping off the stage to sing an entire song from within the mosh-pit.
A special guest appearance from local hero Micky Ward, recently portrayed by Mark Wahlberg in the Academy-Award winning sports drama, The Fighter. “We were knocking at this guy’s door years before Hollywood came around,” explained Casey in his thick Boston accent. “We don’t need any cameras around to love this guy.” The band then launched into the roof-raising anthem, “The Warrior’s Code,” a song from one of the Dropkicks’ past albums dedicated to Ward’s historic championship fight against welter weight boxer Arturo Gatti.
At this show the Dropkick fans had that traditional Irish energy was infectious, it’s very hard to not leave a Dropkicks show with a big smile on your face.
Meet the Dropkick Murphys:
Al Barr- Lead Vocals
Ken Casey- Lead Vocals and Bass
Matt Kelly- Drums, Bodran, Vocals
James Lynch- Guitar, Vocals
Tim Brennan- Guitar, Accordian, Vocals
Jeff Da Rosa- Mandolin, Banjo, Bouzouki, Whistle, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals.
Scruffy Wallace- Bagpipes and Tin Whistle.
From the Rail Riders:
Fan interview: “Dude that show rocked what I love the most about the Dropkicks is the fact that
it all so “in your face”. I asked him to explain he said they just love to go in to the crowd with no
concern they are like our friends kinda like a high school band.”