Over 20 years ago, in Quincy, MA the founding members of the Dropkick Murphys decided to have a jam session in the basement of a barbership. What started out as an opportunity to have some fun and play a little music has, since 1996, evolved into a movement. The Dropkick Murphys have taken their love of traditional Irish music and combined it with an Hardcore Punk ethos to create their signature Celtic Punk sound.
Though there has been some turn-over among the members, the current band features original member Ken Casey on bass and lead vocals; vocalist Al Barr; Tim Brennan on guitar and accordion; James Lynch on guitar; Scruffy Wallace on bagpipes and tin whistle; drummer Matt Kelly and multi-instrumentalist Jeff DaRosa. During the course of its career the band has released eight studio albums and three live albums. It has toured relentlessly delivering passionate, lively, rousing and electric performances to sold-out venues the world-over.
On a cool Sunday evening is mid-March the Dropkick Murphys and its rabid fanbase packed Huntington, NY's the Paramount. The raucous crowd was in rare form, having been primed by the town's celebration of St. Patrick's Day when it held its annual parade earlier that afternoon.
The evening began when Blood Or Whiskey, from Dublin, Ireland, took the stage and further excited the already amped audience with a short set of their own brand of Celtic Punk with an undertone of fun Ska Punk. Following Blood Or Whiskey, the Interrupters stormed the stage. The Los Angeles-based Ska Punk band is comprised of the brothers Bivona–Kevin (vocals/guitar) and twins Justin (bass) and Jesse (drums)--and lead vocalist Aimee Interrupter (Aimee Allen). Its high-powered set featured "A Friend Like Me," the anthemic "By My Side," "Take Back The Power" (a song made famous by its use in a T-Mobile commercial), "White Noise," "This Is The New Sound" as well as two standout tracks, "She Got Arrested" and "Jenny Drinks," from 2016's Hellcat/Epitaph Records release Say It Out Loud.
After a short intermission the Dropkick Murphys appeared on the stage and led the faithful through a powerful and tight set that included "The Boys Are Back" and "Prisoner's Song" from 2013's Signed and Sealed in Blood (Born & Bred Records), the ballad "Forever," a rocking version "Out of Our Heads," the catchy "Going Out in Style" from the album of the same name (Born & Bred Records, 2011) the traditional Irish drinking song "The Irish Rover" an excellent cover of the Cars' "Just What I Needed" and "Worker's Song." Other highlights included the set-opener "The Lonesome Boatman," "4-15-13" "You'll Never Walk Alone" and "First Class Loser" all from the band's latest CD, Eleven Short Stories Of Pain & Glory (Born & Bred Records, 2017).
Following "Prisoner's Song" the band addressed the crowd, offering a cheerful, "Good evening Long Island. It's good to be back in civilization for Christ's sake." While the band played, the audience worked itself into a frenzy. The sold-out crowd in the packed-to-the-gills venue was drenched in beer, decked-out in green and rocking to the beat. From the first chord, they sang along with the band. The timid and less adventurous and while fist pumping or played air guitar. The better lubricated and more devil-may-care members of the crowd surfed the mosh-pit. Some even slam-danced.
When the main set ended, the audience was drenched in a mixture of sweat and alcohol. The band which had spent the evening feeding off the energy from the crowd delivered an amazing encore set that included "Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya" from The Meanest of Times (Born & Bred, 2007), the fan favorite "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" and "Until the Next Time."
In keeping with the "feeding off the fans" theme of the evening, the real highlight was the band ending the show by inviting all the female audience members onto the stage. On this evening, the Paramount was the home to a huge blow-out St. Patrick's Day party and its hosts were the seven members of the South Boston bad boys known as the Dropkick Murphys.
All photos by Christine Connallon.
Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon.