Monday, April 21, 2014

A review of Street Dogs and Noi!se split - OUT NOW on Pirates Press Records

I hope everybody had a swell record store day this past weekend.  I didn't (I was at work) but it seems that a lot of great stuff came out including a brand new split with two of my favorite bands right now, Boston's Street Dogs and an amazing Oi! band to come from Washington, Noi!se.  A fantastic six song split dropped in stores Saturday on Pirates Press Records and became available online Sunday!  The six songs shows vast improvement of both bands and offer a huge punch to the gut with their brute honesty, and sincerity in their song writing and musicianship.  When this was announced late last fall, my excitement built up in anticipation. When their label started releasing songs in countdown to record store day, I was floored with the quality the Street Dogs and Noi!se put forth in their songs.

On side A, the Street Dogs storm into an upbeat and positive track, We're Still Here which makes you instantly sing along.  Lead singer, Mike McColgan explodes into, "Well my bank account is empty, and my girl is on the way out, I guess I'll go get loaded, so I can finally be tossed out..." which leads right into the sing along and fist pumping chorus.  One of my favorite parts of this song is hearing Lenny Lashley sing his part, as well.  Over the last year, he has been an amazing addition to the band and has added such a live presence and new element which was displayed here.  Hearing him sing his part, "Well there ain't nothing easy about it, but still we can't give in.  We gotta do our best, and keep moving forward, so someday we might win.  And we got to live a little and laugh a lot, because thats what livings for.  Hold your head up high, and keep moving on..." was absolutely outstanding. For anybody who is going through a hard time, this would be the song to listen to. 

The Street Dogs also recorded an amazing version of Johnny Come Lately by Steve Earle which is simply applicable in today's world.  The musicianship on this track is catchy, simple, and easy to latch on to, and its another sing along song, as well.  Street Dogs have always have had a fantastic talent on taking traditional Americana songs and turning them into punk rock songs without losing its authenticity.  The band by nature is a band that tells a story extremely well in their own songs and then covering a song by Steve Earle is perfect for them in that respect.  One of my favorite parts about this cover is how there are three different vocal pieces done by Mike McColgan, Johnny Rioux and Lenny once again, as well.  Hearing three of them sing adds a dynamic to the song like none other.  

The third track to side A is my personal favorite.  Its called First Cut and is a powerful and personal song written by the band.  Many of us have heard the saying before, "the first cut is always the deepest" and its safe to say it's in that regard.  The band once again mixes up the vocal changes very well and you can tell that this song comes from personal experience within the band.  The chorus pleads, "We got to find a solution, nobody wants to fight this war.  How can we end this confusion?  Someday I'll walk out that door" which includes Lenny on back up vocals.  Hearing Johnny Rioux and Mike McColgan switch up vocal lines is a great addition to their newer material with, "I can't stand to see you suffer, I never meant to cause you harm.  I've exhausted every option, I got your reverence today..."  Hearing a band who puts their heart and soul into their music and then writes a personal song such as this is makes for a tune that everybody can relate to somehow.  Not to mention, that is the beauty of the Street Dogs because there is always something for somebody.  We all fall down, and we all live to see the failure of interpersonal relationships in life, and to hear a song simply about that is fantastic.

Flip over the vinyl now if thats how you roll, or let your I Tunes play through to the next side of this split and you will find a fantastic band called Noi!se.  I have been following this band the last couple of years and with each release, they continue to get better and better.  The first song by these guys is a tune called Broken Bonds which starts of slow and kicks right into a whirlwind of guitar and drum easily instigating a circle pit.  This song is one of the catchiest I have heard them record and to hear Matt Henson (Bass/Lead Vocals) and Nate (Guitar/Vocals) switch vocal lines is something that sets this band a part. One of the major things I respect about these guys is their blunt honesty in the world around them which is displayed throughout this split and their other releases!  Two of them currently serve in the United States military and they see first hand the world around them and they deliver that to their music.  That makes them extremely respectable people as a whole and sets them a part from many bands coming out today.  Their experience always shines through and they are not afraid to talk about what they have been through, either.  

Their second track is titled Chameleon and is simply one of the more intense songs on this release.  The first verse is sung by their guitarist, Nate who has an extremely distinct voice from many others in the scene today.   What I love about this band is that they are not like other Oi! bands.  The musicianship really shines through with Matt Henson's bass playing and especially on this song.  Hearing him play is reminds me of Matt Freeman in many cases which I believe he has cited as an influence.  Not to mention, their sound combines several different influences and not one song sounds the same.  You will hear songs that sound very similar to the Bruisers, the Anti-Heros or Cock Sparrer. You will also hear a darker and deeper influence that lean over to the hardcore genre and they always manage to change it up.  Noi!se is a band that can't be beat because they stick to their guns and they know works for them. Their last track, Bottom Rungs is another upbeat and fast song which is one of the best written by them.  To quote Matt, "Bottom Rungs is about self reliance. It's about seeing the outside world and how it effects you and getting off your ass and doing something about rather than engaging in the great American pass time...complaining".  I sincerely look forward to more releases from this band.  I feel every time they put out new music, they constantly grow and evolve which is a sign of true success.  I can't wait to see what the future holds for Noi!se and the Street Dogs.   

Friday, April 11, 2014

Interview with Lenny Lashley from Street Dogs and the Gang of One!

For anybody in the punk and hardcore scene, Lenny Lashley should be no stranger to you!  From his amazing former punk rock staple, Darkbuster and Americana project, Lenny & the Piss Poor Boys and more recently, the Gang of One and the Street Dogs, he has been making some damn good tunes for sometime now.  Recently we caught up via email and talked about the response of his latest release, Illuminator, working with Pete from the Bouncing Souls, joining up with the Street Dogs and much more!

Run Don’t Walk: How’s everything going today, Lenny?  For starter’s, lets talk about your latest release with the Gang of One, “Illuminator”.   What has the response been to it?   What was it like working with major talents like Joe Sirois on drums (Mighty Mighty Bosstones)?  How did the rest of the band come together? 

Lenny Lashley: hey nick, things are up and down today like most days but trying hard to keep that posi vibe goin .. overall  i'd say " illuminator has been very well recieved many folks goin so far as to say it was their fav album of 13 ,... working with pete, and joe ,and mcdermott , and all the guys that were involved in the making of the record was a dream come true couldn't have happened without their love help and support ..  ( packer ! ) the band and everything that has happened in the past few years for me just came about by asking worst people can say is no right ?.......

RDW: What was your experience working with Pete Steinkopf (Bouncing Souls) in the studio?  What did he do to help the overall quality of the record?  It must have been pretty amazing and inspiring to work with someone who plays in an influential band like the Bouncing Souls. 

LL:  i can't say enough about working with pete best producer engineer and overall great person confidence builder i've ever been lucky enough to work with... he believed in me and the songs and made me focus and work hard to get them down in a hopefully timeless fashion.....

RDW: How did you get linked up with Panic State Records and then Pirates Press Records?  In the last couple years, Pirates Press has put out some amazing music (“Illuminator” being one of them) what was it like to have two labels put your music out? 

LL:  well i've some long time freinds and supporters down in asbury namely joe @ holdfast record who was helping me ( for a long while )to try and find someone to put out the record  bean @ panic state believed in the tunes and was just really nice to offer to do that
and  he  and everyone at panic state are like family that's important to me skippy and the pirates press folks are cut from the same cloth and offered to co release and help get the record out to as many folks as they could it's unbelievablr to have the belief and support of two amazing record labels !!!

RDW: Lets talk about gear!  It seems that you recently started playing Gretsch guitars, which must sound fantastic.  What made you switch from Gibson to that?  It also seems like you are always expanding your sound too between amps, pedals, etc.  Which amps have you been using and what do you like right now? 

LL: ahhh gear !! my favorite the gretsch thing developed  from a craiglist ad guy was getting rid of a black falcon it looked sweet i had some cash ( rare ) and after some set up tlc i fell in love with it lucky enough for me my brother and fellow street dog put me in touch with a rep from fender ( owns gretsch )  and he was nice enough to help me aqquire the white billy duffy that i love to hmmn why the gretsches ? I dunno i still have 2 gibson lp jun iors and they are actually much easier to play but the gretsches make ya work hard to play em good and they sound and look fantastic i'd  buy 30 of em if i could !! special thanks to mike schultz over @ fender music ! as far as amp rigs i been working for like ten years to get my rig built it's a mesa dual racktifier, and a 77 marshall jmp , i run em together a/b'd through a lehle ab box and into two seperate cabs the marshall goes to a 2x12  with a weber silver and blue bell speaker and the mesa goes to a 4x12 marshall bx with 25 watt greenbacks i will be retiring that rig very soon for a multi head / cab rig  by a fantastic amp builder out of san diego ca. adam grimm @ sattelite amps they are just the best things i've ever heard !!! thanks adam ! gear is like everything for me in the sense that i want to always move forward and try harder and reach higher if ya ain't doin that then i ain't woth it for me ! with everything in life not just gear....

RDW: Last year you jumped on board with the Street Dogs!  How has the ride been so far?  You’ve already been to Europe with them and have done a handful of dates in the United States.  Has the band helped you reach new heights as musician?

LL:  Joining up with the street dogs has been unbelievable it's been scary too tobe and marcus were incredibly big shoes to fill and the band was such a well oiled machine.. being with mike , rioux , pete and matt  has made me grow and challenged me as a person and a musicians and i am eternally grateful for their belief in me  !!..........

RDW: Last week, Mark Lind and Josh Smith set up a couple benefit shows for Lt. Walsh and Firefighter Kennedy from Engine 33 and Ladder 15.  How does it feel to be a part of such an amazing event and to play two shows with some amazing bands? 

LL: best feeling in the world to be asked to helpout in any way and support the heros that afford us liberty and safety any time I can. mark and josh deserve so much credit though for bein pro active and doin not sayin which is a lesson i could always keep trying to remember!

RDW: What bands are coming out today have you been enjoying?  Who have you toured with in your music career?  Who would you like to tour with? 

LL: so many good bands out there ... to many to list ( so don't be mad guys if ya ain't mentioned ) depends on what i wanna hear but right now i'm digging on blood or whiskey from ireland's new release , chuck reagan's new record , bishops green and lions law as well as old firm casuals, and i love cheap girls ..... the band  ( get your minds out of the gutter ) also new rancid coming and it's gonna rip.....

RDW:  How does the song writing process go for the Gang of One?  I assume it’s an entirely different process for a band such as the Street Dogs? 

LL: writing songs for my recent stuff has been wait for tragic events and write about em ( it's my therapy ) and street dogs is a much more collaborative effort which is real fun too cause everyone has such great input ....

RDW:  The Street Dogs and Noi!se from Tacoma, Washington have a split coming out in a few weeks.  It must be a great feeling being able to do a split with a fantastic band such as them?  Easily one of my favorites right now, too!

LL: I'm stoked to be a part of the noise sd spilt as i think both bands killed it  guys in noise are just top shelf  people and musicians

RDW: Any final words. 

LL: goats....that's my final word i dunno why it's just the first thing that popped into my head

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dropkick Murphys at the Lansdowne Pub - March 17th

After a long stint of shows at House of Blues, we went back for not a show but a boxing match.  Danny O'Connor initially was suppose to fight but due to a shoulder injury, he was pulled off of the card.  After watching a few different boxing matches at the House of Blues, a group of us left to go get in line for the Lansdowne Pub show.  For those of you wondering, how the hell did anyone get in, you had to buy a ticket through the band which came with a wristband.  The last two years they have done an intimate double set show at Brighton Music Hall, this year they got even more intimate with the Lansdowne Pub.  The pub is also a room that holds just over three hundred people, and it was fantastic!

 It was simply the best show of the weekend.  Right before midnight struck, the dark barroom got even darker and their old intro song, "If The Kids Are United" by Sham 69 came on over the PA.  There was no fancy lighting done or banners hung, it was a simple yet intense barroom show for the die hards.  Soon enough, out the band came with Ken Casey on the microphone saying, "Are you ready for this shit or what?!" and off they went.  They opened with a little surprise though! To kick off the show right at midnight, Independence Day was the opener (originally by the Bruisers) which was Al Barr's old band.  For all the skinheads in the room, it was fists flying and in the air.  Right after, Ken again exclaimed, "A little Bruisers cover for ya!  Sing Loud, Sing Proud front to back, motherfucker!" and kicked right into For Boston and the crowd started moving instantly.  During this set, it was great to see some songs performed I either haven't seen before or I haven't seen in a long time.  This also was what the band was leading up to all weekend with songs from their third album in the set.

Songs such as The Legend of Finn MacCumhail were a first for me in the ten years I have been seeing them, though my memory could be a bit off.  They busted out the classics such as Which Side Are You On?, Heroes Of Our Past and Forever.  The upbeat, fist raising and boot stomping tune, The Gauntlet got the crowd fired up as did the drinking sing along, Good Rats.  One of the many highlights was New American Way, The Torch, and Fortunes Of War.  During Fortunes Of War, Al Barr gave a speech about the song and who they wrote it for and dedicated it in memory of Brian Deneke who was a punk rocker murdered in a small town in Texas.  That was easily one of the more emotionally filled speeches and anybody who was been bullied, harassed or otherwise for who they are, easily related.
Anyhow, hearing A Few Good Men was a gem as well as Ramble and Roll and Caps and Bottles which was originally on the band's Boys On The Docks EP.  Included also was the sing along Wild Rover and ended the album set with The Spicy McHaggis Jig.  The band also added in a few songs to   to close out.  Ironically, Pipebomb On Lansdowne was added in plus Euro Trash with Scott once again.  One song I have never seen live was I'll Begin Again from their Meanest of Times album and promptly closed out with Citizen C.I.A. from Warrior's Code.  It was a fantastic set overall to see some songs I have never seen live before plus to hear their third album in full was a blast, as well.

After a quick change over, Scruffy Wallace walked out on stage and opened right up with Cadence To Arms.  Thats right, they played another set which was their first album front to back!  Though I have already seen this done two years ago, it was awesome to see again as its my overall favorite record by them.  The band walked out one by one and kicked right into the rest of the song followed by the title track itself.  Once again, the room was in full force and motion as they rattled off the first few songs, including Get Up, Never Alone, and Caught In A Jar.  During the set, Ken pulled up two good friends of mine, Mike Franey (the other writer for Run Don't Walk) and Chris Arias.  They were given the opportunity to sing Memories Remain with the band which they did really well.  Some of my favorites that come off this record were performed such as Road Of The Righteous, Far Away Coast and Fightstarter Karaoke one of the fastest and barroom brawling songs by the band.

The bands first song ever written, Barroom Hero incited much crowd participation and revelry.  Hearing the tune Third Man In was a blast because its one they rarely ever play and that goes for the upbeat Tenant Enemy #1, as well.  The traditional Finnegan's Wake was performed with much energy and so was Noble.  The band unexpectedly added in John Law and had a female fan sing it and she sang it relatively well.  Up next was Boys On The Docks and the end all be all, Skinhead On The MBTA.  Now, if they let the fans up on the tiny stage, it would have turned into a disaster fast so as a result, the band came into the crowd.  They moved the crowd back a good six feet or farther and played face to face with the crowd.  Nothing is cooler than seeing a band do just that.

Just when you though it was over though, it wasn't!  The band had four more songs to kick out and first, Alcohol by Gang Green was performed which set the crowd off instantly.  This was followed by once again, Takin' Care Of Business by Bachman Turner Overdrive which was one of the longer songs of the night.  The quickly bursted into On The Attack which is an extremely fast and  fun hardcore punk song essentially about the Boston hardcore scene.  For this number, featured on guest vocals was Sean Tuohey from Penalty Kill (go listen to them!) as its become tradition in the last few years for him to join them on stage for that one.  The band finally finished out with Blitzkrieg Bop by the Ramones in full.

Overall, this was easily the best show of the weekend and I had a fantastic time.  I always feel that the band is really in their element in a smaller club once in awhile yet have no problem bringing that same energy to a larger venue.  Seeing older songs performed or songs I haven't seen in years it feels like is always an amazing time, too.  It's great to see the band appreciate the die hards as much as they do to the other fans, as well.  In the end, this weekend was one for the books.  Til next time!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Dropkick Murphys Live at House of Blues Boston: Sunday Night, March 16th

When Sunday night came, we knew it was almost over as it was the last night at the House of Blues before an intimate show next door.  We headed down to Lansdowne Street to get in line and get our places on the floor.  After Skinny Lister and Lucero once again, the jam packed crowd and music hall were ready for one of the final nights of the weekend!  Of all the House of Blues shows that weekend,  Sunday night was probably my favorite next to Friday night.  As 9:00 PM rolled around once again, the  haunting intro of The Foggy Dew took over the sound system yet again.

When the intro faded, there was a brief pause only to be taken over by the Bunker Hill Pipe Band as they came out on stage.  After one or two quick tunes, the Dropkick Murphy's soon followed as they stormed the stage and kicked into one of my favorite set openers, For Boston.  I personally thought the way they came on stage by running out to get the crowd motivated was a perfect fit.  Soon followed was the fan favorite, Boys Are Back, which lead right into The Warrior's Code, Prisoner's Song, and Rose Tattoo.  It's always a pleasure to hear Sunshine Highway live at a show from their 2005 release, The Warrior's Code.  Throughout the weekend as well, Good Rats made a come back from their third release and hearing Blood and Whiskey from their Gangs All Here record was great too.  That number is always one that gets me pumped up whether I am listening to the recording of it or hearing it live.  I also can't forget hearing Deeds Not Words from their 2011 release, Going Out In Style. 

Around ten songs in, Ken Casey announced they had a special last minute guest.  After informing the crowd that this was his fiftieth Dropkick Murphy's show, he brought out our good friend, Dave Gelatis.   Dave has been a long time supporter and loyal fan of the Dropkick Murphy's and as a result, Ken gave him a pick at any song he wanted.  For this occasion, he chose one of my personal favorites, Going Strong.  Ken kiddingly noted that every time he screwed a part up, he would have to donate one hundred dollars to the Claddagh Fund which is the band's charity.  I think Dave made it seem like no big deal as he belted out his favorite Murphys song.  Once again, another friend of ours came out on stage and sang Eurotrash which was followed by Get Up.  One track off of Going Out In Style I have heard maybe only once (if that!) at a live show was The Hardest Mile which is one of the catchiest from that album. 
Once again, Forever, The Irish Rover, and the more recent, My Hero were in the cards.  The fan favorite State Of Massachusetts made the cut which was followed by Famous For Nothing.  The baseball fans in attendance that Sunday night were pleased to hear Tessie once again which I believe was only played twice that weekend.  The fist raising and circle pit instigating old timer favorite, The Gauntlet was also thrown in the mix. Thats one song I haven't heard too often either which should be  included in the set more often.  To hear Scruffy's opening notes to Amazing Grace on the bagpipes sent chills down my spine which the band soon joined in on.  The last two songs to close out the main set were Shipping Up To Boston in which they brought out their original singer, Mike McColgan (now of the Street Dogs) to join Al Barr on vocals. To close out,  Going Out In Style was the final number in the main set.  

After a few minutes and a slew of "Lets Go Murphys!" chants, the band opened the encore with Worker's Song from their 2003 release, Blackout.  The opening riff to Kiss Me, I'm Shitfaced came right after with a slew of females from the crowd which lead right into Takin' Care Of Business by Bachman Turner Overdrive.  When Ken called for Skinhead On The MBTA, getting on stage was a shit show none the less and some of us were cut off by security.  I must say, Sunday night's crowd was a little more ferocious than some of the other nights.  To end the five show stint at House of Blues, the fellas closed out with Boy's On The Docks which was an excellent ending.  

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Two shows in one day with the Murphys: Part II

After taking a little break at the bar with some food and such, I headed back into the House of Blues.  Aside from Skinny Lister and Lucero once again opening, a band called the 21st Century Fugitives opened up first.  I was still at the bar and as a result, I wound up missing them anyway.  After catching up with some out of town friends in the foundation room, I headed down to the floor to catch some of Lucero who did a pretty good job switching their setlist up from the previous shows. As a side note, I would certainly say that Saturday night had a real interesting feeling in the air that tonight's crowd would be nothing less than chaotic.  Then again, it was a Saturday night at a punk rock show right before St. Patrick's Day so the packed floor would soon go off when the Dropkick Murphy's hit the stage.

When 9:00 PM rolled around, the lights once again went down and the Foggy Dew came on over the sound system.  Right before they went on, I was having a debate with friends as to what song they would open with that night.  I was thinking For Boston, others were thinking Famous For Nothing, and then one of my buddies was pretty adamant about Boys Are Back.  When they walked out, the first thing you heard was the acoustic guitar for Boys Are Back as my friend was right.  From there, they quickly bursted into once again Never Forget and then right into Boston Asphalt from their second release, The Gang's All Here.  The first block of songs were relatively similar to Thursday nights set.  It didn't make the show overall boring because they added some nice surprises in the mix as well.  Throughout the weekend they played Famous For Nothing which was nice to see brought back again.   Another song that hasn't been played frequently as much either was their version of Finnegan's Wake, plus Upstarts & Broken Hearts, and Bastard's On Parade.  Some of those songs really gets the crowd amped up and the die hards very pleased as well.

Throughout the weekend, plenty of songs from their 2001 release, Sing Loud, Sing Proud were performed.  The union classic, Which Side Are You On? was played early on and followed by Tomorrow's Industry from their Meanest of Times album.  Of course, a Dropkick's show isn't a Dropkick's show without Barroom Hero and then a real gem was busted out which was Ramble and Roll.  Word on the street was that this was the first tour they played on with Ramble and Roll in the setlist.  The band also threw in some newer covers as well including 78 RPM by the Stiff Little Fingers.  More songs from the band's earlier career was also thrown in such as Forever, which was followed by The Warrior's Code.  

It was excellent to hear  Vices & Virtues which was followed by one of their oldest songs, Caps & Bottles.  The last three songs of the night included a couple of fan favorites, Out Of Our Heads as well as Shipping Up To Boston.  The band ended their main set with Taking Care of Business by Bachman Turner Overdrive.  The encore started with Kiss Me I'm Shitfaced and went right into Skinhead On The MBTA where the rest of us stormed the stage.  It was nice to hear the boys cover something new for once which was Jumpin' Jack Flash by the legendary Rolling Stones.  I personally think that cover spun the crowd through a loop when they started playing it with all the confused faces.  The band exploded into and ended with Citizen C.I.A. and quickly exited the stage.  Overall, the show wasn't bad at all and was entertaining.  At the same time, it wasn't my favorite of the weekend either (that came along a couple nights later).  After a double header, I was exhausted in every way possible.  I couldn't wait either for what the next two nights would bring, as well.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Two shows in one day with Murphys- Part I: Matinee on March 15th

The first two nights came and went so quickly that it was bizarre and little disheartening to realize the weekend was halfway over.  That didn't stop us from having a great time and knowing that we had a fantastic double header to attend which consisted of a Saturday afternoon show and then a Saturday night show.  Instead of three openers in the afternoon, it was the same as the other two shows consisting of Lucero and Skinny Lister who both played a quick but heartfelt set.  Just before mid afternoon, round three of Boston's best was ready to hit the stage.

The lights went down and the rumble of the Foggy Dew came over the speakers.  Soon there after, bagpiper Scruffy Wallace walked out to open with the classic Cadence To Arms from their debut release, Do or Die.  Knowing that there was more families and younger kids there, much respect for the band giving them a taste of history with that opener.  Soon after, they exploded right into Do or Die and into the crowd rousing Get Up.  Going from a couple of older tunes to newer, they jumped right into Going Out In Style, The Irish Rover, Rose Tattoo plus The Prisoner's Song.  Another song that you don't hear too often is 10 Years of Service which was a perfect fit in the set.  As baseball season was surely around the corner and they were playing a slew of shows right next door to Fenway Park, Tessie was right in the mix for all the baseball fans, too.

Older gems such as Curse of a Fallen Soul, Rocky Road To Dublin, Spicy McHaggis Jig also made the cut.  Some of those songs I haven't heard them play frequently in the last four years or so and it brought back several memories to when I was younger.  The solemn Fields of Athenry off of the album Blackout was played early on.  Throughout the weekend, it was fantastic to hear Road of the Righteous off of their debut release and then for all the hockey fans, Time To Go was in the mix.  About half way through the first part of the set, the band brought out the acoustic guitars to mellow out for a few.  They dedicated My Hero to all the parents who were good examples for bringing their kids to the show that afternoon.  Next to that, was the folkier sing along union song called Take 'Em Down.  It didn't take too long until they plugged back in and cut right into Your Spirits Alive from their 2005 release, The Warrior's Code.  Toward the end of the main set, it was great to hear Wheel Of Misfortune which is rarely played.  It really pleased the fan's of their second album and earlier material.

One song that was my first time hearing live was New American Way from the 2001 album Sing Loud, Sing Proud and then launched right into Boys On The Docks.  From there, the opening riffs of the Standells, Dirty Water instantly amped the crowd right up. It simply offered much participation and singing back and forth between the band and the show goers.  To close the main set, Shipping Up To Boston was expected and the band gave the crowd the responsibility to take over lead vocals and were prompted to do so.  The encore started with Captain Kelly's Kitchen, then into End Of The Night where all the female fans rushed the stage.  This was followed by the male stage invasion for the classic, Skinhead On The MBTA.  Of course, the encore isn't an encore without ending with a kick ass cover of Alcohol by Boston hardcore greats, Gang Green.  Overall, the matinee show was much more powerful than I expected with the setlist variations and much more.  The day was not over as another full Dropkick Murphys show was to be attended later in the day!

Dropkick Murphys Live at The House of Blues (March 14th, 2014)

Friday. Night #2. Excitement permeated the air once again as Dropkick Murphys' most loyal fans lined the Lansdowne Street. This was my first experience seeing Dropkicks on back to back nights, though I came close this past summer but they were forced to postpone their Toronto show. This show saw an opening set from The Rival Mob in addition to Skinny Lister and Lucero, who had been the support acts for the entire tour.
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When the Murphys came on stage the show was electric right from the start. the crowd was alive and much more rowdy than the first night, something Ken Casey was quick to point out.The first song of the night was "Hang 'em High", the first track off of the bands album from 2011, Going Out In Style. If there's one thing that DKM excels at it is crafting an opening song that sends the crowd into a frenzy, and this song is no exception. from there the band went into "Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya", which to be honest is not one of my favourite tracks but it always comes off well live.

As I mentioned in the review from the first night, nothing off of The Gang's All Here or Warrior's Code was played. That was remedied early in the set, as the third song of the night was the title track from Gang's. Later in the set we also got to see "Boston Asphalt", another awesome tune off of the band's second album and one of my favourites. Right after they played "The Gang's All Here" the band went into "Sunshine Highway" off of Warrior's Code and later played the title track as well, a song about Lowell boxing legend Micky Ward. The first block of songs was finished off with Bastards On Parade, a slower song but one of the standout's from Blackout.

Again, the set was a very diverse one as the band played at least one song from every album. And as if that was not enough, twenty-two of the twenty-seven songs were different than the first night. As always, DKM aims to please their fans and recognized that many of us were attending multiple concerts and that we wouldn't want to see the same set twice. Luckily their back catalogue is so extensive they can play an almost entirely different set every night and have people go home happy.

At one point in the set our friend Scott Richter was brought up on stage to sing one the band's oldest songs, from the Boys On The Docks EP, "Eurotrash". Scott and a few others had requested it for quite some time and finally the band learned it for the 2014 celebrations. In his trademark style Scott spent most of the song running up and down the barricade, belting out the lyrics with as much ferocity as he could muster. He ended the song with an epic stage dive into the crowd, much to the chagrin of the HOB security.

Continuing on the topic of old songs, a number of tunes off of the first three albums were played. In addition to the previously mentioned songs off of Gang's, the band played "Caught In A Jar", "Get Up", and "Never Alone" from Do or Die; and "The Gauntlet", "Rocky Road To Dublin", "Wild Rover", "Good Rats", and "The Torch" from Sing Loud Sing Proud. Other songs that made the cut were "Worker's Song" from Blackout, and a number off of Signed and Sealed in Blood; including "Don't Tear Us Apart", "Jimmy Collin's Wake", and "Rose Tattoo". "Tomorrow's Industry" was a great song to hear, and one I haven't seen the band play since they toured in support of Meanest of Times.

The encore started with "Baba O'Riley", originally by The Who. Always one of my favourite Dropkick covers and the band kills it live. The blending of the banjo and the piano in the opening is just plain awesome. After Shipping Up To Boston the girls were brought up on stage for "The End Of The Night", the closer from the new album and in all honest a song I greatly prefer over "Kiss Me I'm Shitfaced". Then, once again, it was time for the guy's stage invasion during "Skinhead On The MBTA", always a chaotic affair. The encore was then closed out with the hardcore track "Citizen C.I.A", from Warrior's Code.

Friday was another great night with the Murphys. I got to see some rare gems that they never play live, as well as some favourites both old and new. The crowd was a much better, more lively one, as evidenced by the constant feeling of being crushed up against the barricade. My first time seeing DKM on back to back nights was a memorable affair, setting the bar high for the double header that was to come the next day.

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