It had been a few years since I had taken in a Dropkick Murphys show; Irish Fest in Saint Paul I believe. Two years ago I was in Boston, at Fenway Park for the Red Sox vs the hated New York Yankees. It started raining in the sixth inning yet people stayed, and when then closer Jonathan Papelbon came into the game for the save, “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” ushered him out and it was electric! When I saw they were coming to First Avenue this year I knew I had to be there.
I had never see the Mahones before, but I had thought I had heard them before. But no, it was a different Irish-fueled Mahone named band (go figure). So they were new for me and I was excited to hear what they had. Their set was fantastic and I found to be very accordion-centric and with the mandolin accompaniment, extremely easy to take on and enjoy. This was a great start to what would end up being one of the most fun shows I have been to in quite a while.
Frank Turner has been getting a lot of airplay in town on 89.3 The Current with his song “I Still Believe”, so when he asked the audience to help sing that song, we were all over it. Breaking from the Irish feel of the evening, his set kept the punk-littered all ages show totally engaged. He told a story of when he was ten years old, he was beating his Grandmother in a hand of poker. She decided it was time to get creative and offer young Frank a drink. Soon enough, she was winning hands again, and this inspired the song “Peggy Sang the Blues”.
Enter Dropkick Murphys, and a dark stage with only an Irish song playing. The anticipation in, and behind the photo pit was building at a ridiculous pace! Out they came and thus began the photographing, singing along, and dodging crowd surfers. So many great songs during the night including “I’m Shipping Up To Boston”, “The State Of Massachusetts”, “Flannigans Ball”, “Kiss Me I’m Shitfaced” and several songs off of the 2011 release “Going Out In Style”. One of the highlights of the night for me was actually a cover done by the Murphys. Al Barr did THEE best rendition of AC/DC’s classic “Dirty Deeds” I have ever heard!
I left First Ave last night sweaty, with a full memory card, newfound appreciation for The Mahones and Frank Turner, love for the Dropkicks and some green beads I randomly acquired during the show. Their return to the Twin Cities cannot be soon enough.