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A wee bit of Boston chaos

Dropkick Murphys
The Rave
Milwaukee, WI
Feb. 27, 2009
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Story by Mike Linneman
Photos by Gypsy Davey

"I don't want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me." That line of dialogue from "The Departed," a movie layered heavily with Irish rock, pretty much sums up the general attitude the Dropkick Murphys displayed Friday night at The Rave Eagles Club in Milwaukee. No matter what anyone in attendance brought with them to the concert in terms of attitude, expectations, or political views, the band made sure the audience was a product of them before the end of the first song.

The Murphys have been blazing a trail of their own for thirteen years, trying to stay true to the bands original conception. Powerfully anthemic, truthful & insightful lyrics laid over crunching, pounding punk rock sound. While not devoid of quiet moments, it is the common man themed lyrics that had fists pumping into the air. Subjects ranging from Boston, soldiers, unions, and of course whiskey, are scattered across a pulsating, driving rock sound that is even unique to the punk genre. The word folk would never come up in a discussion about The Ramones or Sex Pistols, but there is definitely a folk-ish element to the Murphys, if not in the direct sound, then in the songs as a whole.

Once the "Let's Go Murphys!" chants went up, it was not long before the backdrop images ramped up the imagery everyone associated with the band. The tentative peacefulness of rolling green hills around Dublin standing in direct contrast to the ominous sound that exploded from the stage minutes later as the seven members of the Murphys came forth.

If Al Barr's vocals were somewhat lost in the collective onslaught of chants & cheers, there wouldn't be much hope for a calming of the crowd from Ken Casey, who at one point declared "You guys are like Boston fans!" forever sending the masses into a state of frenzy. "Flannigan's Ball" followed by "Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya" had everyone wailing "Har-oo, Har-oo!"

"The Gauntlet" when performed, was just that. Forged with brutal razor sliced punk guitar solos, the crowd bonding in the chorus "Stand up and Fight, And I'll Stand Up With You, We Shall Succeed."

As has been the case since the Murphys started the "All Roads Lead To Boston Tour 2009" in Los Angeles the week before, "Kiss Me, I'm Shitfaced" allowed the ladies some interaction with the band, with "Skinhead On The MBTA" taking the leash off of the men in attendance. All of this done in good vibe that may have been more easily felt than seen due to the exhubarance of the crowd. Rest assured it was good, it just SEEMED chaotic and uncontrolled.

While "Shipping Up To Boston," the Murphys prominent song in "The Departed," was at the end of the show, the band and audience found another notch of energy. The band rocked while the crowd went ballistic with collective joy as the song was set against images of church stained glass windows with those windows showing light on frailty, redemption & hope. Who wouldn't raise a Guinness to that?

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Dropkick Murphys Dropkick Murphys Dropkick Murphys

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