Friday, February 14, 2014

Street Dogs live at the Blarney Stone- A Campaign Party for John O'Toole

Last Saturday, February 8th over two hundred Boston area punk rockers, union members, and community activists gathered at the Blarney Stone in Dorchester, MA.  About a week and a half prior, an announcement was made by Mike McColgan that he, Matt Pruitt, and Lenny Lashley would be performing at the bar.  This wasn't only a regular acoustic set, this was a free of charge campaign drive for Mike's cousin, John O'Toole who is running for state representative of the13th district in Suffolk County in the hopes of registering voters and increasing political activity in their local neighborhood.  Overall, the turnout was astounding as how many people came together to show support for local politics and local music which has been a core ethos in the city of Boston.  Not only this Street Dogs trio played, the band's own Lenny Lashley started the afternoon's festivities.

All photos taken by Nick Gold
Lenny performed three acoustic songs while being backed up by local musician, Matt Charette on mandolin.  The two busted out the entertaining and catchy "JFK" which is a funny jingle which talks about the delays on the MBTA's redline.  Lenny also recently started covering the Clash classic, "Spanish Bombs" from their famous "London Calling" album which sounded absolutely amazing.  Before wrapping up, they played a song from Lenny and the Gang of One's debut, called "Happily" which is a personal favorite. Whether Lenny is playing with a full band or in an acoustic and solo setting, he never ceases to amaze the crowd. People always keep on coming back for more! 

After a quick changeover and a performance from three local irish step dancers, McColgan, Matt Pruitt, Lenny Lashley and again, Matt Charette took over.  Mike started off their set with "In this world, there are two kinds of people: There are people who who talk, and there are people who do…" and from right there introduced his cousin and
All Photos by Nick Gold
close friend, John O'Toole.  John made a quick appearance and gave thanks for the crowd showing up and rallying behind him!  The boys quickly launched into an acoustic set and started with "Savin Hill" (pretty fitting for the occasion!) which instantly drew the attention of those at the bar.  The room full of scally caps, townies and punk rock fans sang along to every word that afternoon!  The band then launched into Billy Bragg's classic, "There Is Power In A Union", "Two Angry Kids", and the introspective crowd pleaser, "Free".  Mike demanded by a show of hands of how many people love(d) their nana which was pretty much everyone!  He dedicated "Elizabeth" to his grandmother which simply called for a round of applause.  The band also brought out friend of many, the very talented Kelley Costello to sing on the number, as well.  She also performed just two months ago at the band's annual, Wreck The Halls.  

All Photos by Nick Gold
Some of my favorites that were performed that afternoon also included, "Yesterday", and the rarely played, "Stagger" from the band's 2005 release, "Back To The World".  Anybody who is old enough to remember the now defunct (Closed in 1997), Rathskeller in Kenmore Square absolutely could appreciate the nostalgic, "Poor Poor Jimmy".  They also performed the sentimental, "Final Transmission" for those who serve in uniform past or present.  Anybody would simply agree that it wouldn't be right if the boys performed in their own neighborhood without playing the crowd rousing, "In Defense of Dorchester" which instigated automatic sing along for most of the crowd.  

All Photos by Nick Gold

For those who are not so much in the loop, the band is gearing up to release a split with the band, "Noi!se" from Washington who are simply one of the best Oi! bands out today.  On that note, the band covered Steve Earle's, "Johnny Come Lately" which will be featured on the split coming out on Pirates Press Records.  The band ended their set with "Oh, Father" which Mike dedicated to his father.  Overall, I must say this is one of the tightest acoustic sets I have seen the Street Dogs perform.  The band sounded really great for the environment they were in and they really drew the crowd in, as well.  The Street Dogs are simply a band for the people, by the people which was displayed that Saturday afternoon.  I very much enjoyed their acoustic performance and I look forward as always to seeing them perform again!  

All Photos by Nick Gold

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