I’ve been a fan of the Dropkick Murphys for many years. I am also a Yankees fan and that conflict of interest came to ahead at the Celtic Punk Invasion tour at Irving Plaza. This was the first of three sold out shows in New York and somehow, “Tessie” echoed throughout my brain as the visions of The Boston Red Sox coming back from a 3-0 deficit sent me into sadness. It’s funny because it shows how beloved the band is selling out a New York venue despite being a Massachusetts based band.
The first band of the night was Blood Or Whiskey who played a short four song set, so I couldn’t get a full sample size of what they were about. They reminded me of old 60’s punk music mixed with Celtic lyrics and themes. During the song, “Seanie O’Keeffe”, the lead singer of the band got close to the stage platform and asked the crowd what they were drinking, leading them into a chant. The interaction started to loosen up the crowd a little bit as it got progressively more packed.
Next band were Canadian Celtic punk band, The Mahones. They were a lot of fun to watch and very energetic. Lead singer/guitarist Finny McConnell went around with his white guitar and played it up to the crowd. I had never seen an accordion player live, but accordion player Katie “Kaboom” McConnell added to the lively five song set. One of my favorite songs to hear was “The Hunger & the Fight”. I can say that the opening bands had a old punk flavor to them. I’m never going to see The Who live, so I got to see bands who embody them with a Celtic twist.
Finally, the Dropkick Murphys played and the fans definitely got their moneys worth. It was a 27 song set including an encore, and with the ferocity that the band plays with, that’s pretty impressive. Mixed in with classics such as “The Gang’s All Here” and “The Warriors Code”, DP played a pretty cool cover of ACDC’s “T.N.T.” in their own style. Before the first encore, the band went into “Shipping Off To Boston” which is arguably their biggest hit. I was extremely interested how this song would be received in a New York venue and it was more than favorable. Not only were their people dancing trying to do an imitation of the Irish Jig, every single word of the song was chanted. I mean, there’s no way for one not to stay still to that song. For almost 20 years now, Dropkick Murphys have been inspiring bar singalongs and baseball outings all over the country. From the passion that was given by the band and fans alike, it looks like there will be plenty more years under their belt.