Dropkick Murphys at Roseland • 3/7/2009
St. Patrick’s Day is here, which means the Dropkick Murphys have to be close by. At least they were—a week ago.
This is their second pass through the Big Apple, supporting their phenomenal record, “The Meanest of Times,” and this time, the Dropkicks brought a few friends. Members of Agnostic Front and Sick of it All mulled around back stage and long time punk/hardcore mavens H2O were on hand to warm the audience up. Not like the Murphys needed it.
All-female crust punks Civet opened the evening with an onslaught of venomous hardcore reminiscent of older Total Chaos, but softened with a smattering of Rancid. The masses showed Civet the same respect the bestowed upon The Horrorpops a few months band, and Civet seamed to soak it up.
A firefighter, standing next to me, boasted that these broads weren’t half bad, even if they scream a bit too much. He wasn’t too far off. I told him to stick around for H2O—“What they lack in technical proficiency, they more then make up for with a non-stop stage show.”
It was kind of odd seeing H2O supporting a band at the Roseland. One the first live shows I saw was H2O opening for Rancid at the same venue, circa 1995. I had seen singer Toby Morse sing with Rancid earlier at City Gardens, but I’m not sure if that counts.
Back then, the band was animated and full of excitement—I guess that’s what always drew me back to their shows. Over the years, their has changed and the concerts got bigger, but the band is still as energetic as ever.
I was stoked to see them, especially since this is the first time hearing tunes from their new record “Nothing to Prove”—possibly their best album ever.
The New York transplants—now expates—kicked ass, playing tunes off almost all their albums and peppering the set with stories of old New York and teasing the crowd about their lack of knowledge of decades-old H2O songs. Sick of it All frontman Lou Koller joined the band on stage for a singalong on the band’s latest single “What Happened?” Alas, Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba wasn’t on hand to do his part, but bassist Rusty Pistachio filled in.
As usual, the Dropkick Murphys took the stage amidst chants of “Let’s Go Dropkicks.” Fans waved flags, girls swooned, and a sea of green blanketed the massive ballroom.
After a brief introduction by the NYFD bagpipe troupe, the Dropkicks took to the stage and pound out more than a decades worth of brogue-tinged classics. Like a hardcore Pogues, the band killed it on “Johnny, I Hardly Knew You,” and “Shipping Up to Boston”—stirring the crowd into a frenzy for “State of Massachusetts,” and reaching back to Do or Die for some classic Oi numbers.
The night before, the barricades supposedly collapsed as hundreds of fans rushed the stage, but this evening was calmer. Dozens of women joined the boys in green for “Kiss Me I’m Shitface,” before the band disappeared before the encore.
The Dropkick Murphys get better and better with each passing year and they draw fans without radio play or MTV. Sure, their audience occasionally looks like a mass of meatheads and fratboys, but the fact remains—one of ours made it big. And that’s all that really matters.