"Lets go Mur-phys…Lets go Mur-phys…Lets go Mur-phys…"
This was the crowd's chant at the Congress Theater Saturday night when Boston’s Dropkick Murphys made their their annual Chicago stop on their tour promoting upcoming album Going Out In Style, out March 1st.
Being a Southside Irish lad, I look forward to the month of March for some great Irish traditions; be it parades, enjoying some authentic Irish food, watching some Irish dancing, listening to the Chicago Fire Department Pipes and Drums, or even getting rowdy to some Celtic punk music. This year, the Dropkick Murphys helped to kick off March’s traditions a few days early.
The band have gained popularity over the past few years with tracks appearing in Martin Scorsese’s academy award winning film "The Departed", and you always hear a clip of "Shipping Up to Boston" at some type of sporting or another. Even so, their trueness to their sound and their love for the blue collar, hard working American haven't changed.
They started the night out with one of their new songs, "Hang ‘em High," which definitely set the tone for what was to come. After that, they dove quickly into "The Fighting 69th" and "Barroom Hero." The at-capacity crowd swayed back and forth like a churning sea while shirtless bodies were being tossed above to ride the adrenaline-filled waves. The band continued to rip through track after track with little hesitation in between to keep the now beer-soaked crowd amped up. They played material off each of their seven albums, saving some of the fan favorites for the end. A large pirate flag rolled down as a backdrop as "Shipping Up to Boston" closed the main set. You could tell the crowd was hungry for this song as the hall exploded with the first notes played on Tim Brennan’s accordion.
After a short break the band came back to finish the night just like it started, at full throttle. They played the macho tongue-in cheek song "Kiss Me I’m Shitfaced" with a stage full of women to help sing along, followed by "Skinhead on the MBTA," then closed the night with one of the union workers' favorites, "Boys on the Docks."
Many bands lose something when their music is transferred to a live performance; they either miss some oomph or sound exactly like they do on their studio albums, with little heart and soul poured into the show. The Dropkick Murphys do just the opposite. They bring a completely new experience to their performances, which makes the show turn into more of a party with your best friends than your average concert outing. Now I'm ready to kick off a long month of Irish festivities.