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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world Dropkick-Murphys-Perth-23-Oct-2011


Metro City, Perth,Sunday 23 October 2011


Words by Shane Pinnegar
Photos by Mike Moran



A restless queue snaked a hundred meters down the road as the Metros doors opened – young and old, tattooed and unadorned, punk and rockers, all equally amped up and ready for Boston’s finest – celt punk rockers The Dropkick Murphys.



The crowd started to stream into the Metros cavern as locals CHAINSAW HOOKERS took their place centre stage and tore the room apart with a fierce, pummelling set falling only slightly on the punkier side of early Motorhead.


Blazing their way through new single ‘Texas Is Hell’ and a clutch of other “Blood Rock” anthems, amongst which ‘Black Christmas’ & ‘Get Back To Hell’ stood out, the Hookers proved their star is on the ascendant.

Next up LUCERO – a band I confess I knew absolutely nothing about.


There was no disappointment though – this Memphis Tennessee sound like Kings Of Leon, if KOL were truckers in their mid 30’s instead of privileged twenty-somethings trying to make teen magazine covers.


A touch of country twang, a dash of southern rock and a whole lotta punk attitude run through Lucero’s driving rhythms and fetchingly simple melodies, but despite lots of nodding heads and tapping feet, the general unfamiliarity of the material kept most of the crowd reserved.


That the crowd tonight is so diverse is testament to the salt-of-the-earth blue collar appeal of THE DROPKICK MURPHYS.


Starting as a rough as guts street-punk band, they assimilated the sounds of their Irish-American childhoods into their songs and somehow achieved enormous success – not U2 enormous, but as much as any punk band can rightly dream of.



Regularly playing 5 – 10 thousand seaters back home in America, and with an extensive European tour coming up early 2012, they have a passionately loyal following and tonight’s crowd is absolutely no exception.



A lilting Irish ballad served as a mood setting intro tape, before the room erupted as the band took the stage, dwarfed by their enormous backdrop, and tore through ‘The Irish Rover’, and any hints that the crowd may have been reserved were instantly dispelled.



There’s something about celtic music that makes you want to grab a pint, hug your best mate, and throw yourself around a sweaty mosh pit – and that’s exactly what most of the crowd were doing by the end of song one.


It’s very easy to see why these punk rock brigands are so revered around the world – this is stadium-friendly punk without any hint of sell-out: a musical hybrid that has probably only been successfully achieved by The Clash and The Pogues in the past.



Main singer Al Barr, flat capped and bouncing, resembled a pocket sized energiser bunny as he prowled the stage and the pit, whilst the band’s founding father, bassist and secondary vocalist Ken Casey held down the bottom end.



Jeff DaRosa switched from guitar to banjo effortlessly, as did guitarist/accordionist Tim Brennan, whilst diminutive Jack Sparrow-alike guitarist James Lynch brought the rock and stoic, kilted Scruffy Wallace kept proceedings celtic with bagpipes and tin whistle.



An acoustic mini-set proved the band’s versatility without sacrificing any energy, and a riotous version of the AC/DC classic ‘T.N.T.’ finished the main set off in sweaty style.


The Dropkick Murphys are an absolute joy to experience live – catch them when they next visit your town!