Street Dogs at Asbury Lanes • 3/14/2009
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When the Dropkick Murphy’s first record “Do or Die” dropped in the mid-‘90s, it was met with a collective “ooh and ah” from punk fans bored of the overproduced Hot Topic crap being bandied about on MTV.
The band eschewed the typical tough guy Oi mentality for working class punk rock that related as much to the Union man as it did to the disgruntled mall punk. The best part was that they played mind numbingly catchy music.
Alas, singer Mike McColgan left the band to become a firefighter and history wrote itself. The Dropkick Murphys went on to become a household name, fronted by gruff vocalist Al Barr. Meanwhile, McColgan began dabbling in punk again with The Street Dogs.
Unlike their Boston brethren, The Street Dogs eschew the traditional Irish style for a rawer sound teeming with proletariat-driven lyrics. A year or so ago, the band opened for psychobilly stalwarts Tiger Army and proceeded to show up their label mates by producing one of the most intense concerts I’ve seen in years. The Irving Plaza was practically breaking at the seams as the band blasted through their first few records.
Saturday night, The Street Dogs performed in an even more intimate environment, turning up at the tiny Asbury Lanes for a sold out show in front of some diehard fans. To make things even more exciting, the band brought with them the resurrected Swingin’ Utters who sound as if they haven’t aged a day, even though they have long since ditched the liberty spikes.
Old school Life In A Bungalo fans might remember that the Utters trashed our first issue in an interview with Psycho Moto Fanzine after we called them Rancid clones in our premiere edition.
It’s time to make peace. The Utter’s sound even better now then they did back in 1995, and the crowd ate up everything thrown at them. The band touched on classics and new/old material off their new b-sides comp, cranking out a ton of songs in a pretty short amount of time.
The band was even praised by McColgan, who proclaimed that the Street Dogs would never have existed if it wasn’t for bands like the Swingin’ Utters.
I have a feeling that in 15 years a new crop of bands will be uttering that same line about The Street Dogs. For over an hour, the band cranked out a controlled musical rage that was as delightful as it was fierce. Fans piled on each other through a blitzkrieg of tunes covered during the bottomless setlist. The band members switched instruments on the fly and seemed to pause for nary a second.
With a cry to Rise Above, McColgan cast himself into the crowd while beckoning fans to sing along to the Black Flag classic. Punks, both young and old obliged with a chorus that echoed through the night.
After the set, the band thanked every fan, posed for pictures and signed anything put in front of them. New bands take note: This is how you do punk rock right.