It’s sometimes easy to forget that Dropkick Murphys aren’t actually Irish at all. If their Celtic-inspired punk rock songs about drinking, fighting, love and war weren’t reason enough, the audiences that their live shows seem to attract bear a striking resemblance to any Irish pub’s clientele on St Patrick’s Day.
It’s also easy to forget how long Dropkick Murphys have been around. With a vast audience age range that seems to span the generations, it’s difficult to believe that the band has been going for less than 20 years. But once they take to the stage for their Newcastle show, it’s easy to understand why the Boston seven-piece have become so successful.
From within the sea of green t-shirts, sported by beer-fueled devotees of a special band, comes the chant ‘Let’s Go Murphys’. The chant lasts for what feels like an eternity – crowd surfers are already being dragged away before the first note has even been played. Finally, The Boys Are Back starts off the evening’s mayhem, with frontman Al Barr wasting no time getting involved with the frenzied crowd before him.
With a catalogue of anthems sung by all seven members throughout the set and an interchange of instruments from bagpipes to the Irish flute, Dropkick Murphys have got to be credited for their multi-talented musicianship paired with a sneering punk rock attitude.
The band couldn’t help but pay homage to their Irish influences with songs such as the Dubliners’ Wild Rover seeping through the set, sending Newcastle’s Monday night crowd swaying arm in arm – as if celebrating those Irish roots that everybody seems to claim s their own.
A four-song encore including tracks Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced and Citizen C.I.A sees the majority of the audience invade the stage, reflecting the energy and passion that has radiated through the room throughout the entire night. And it is this atmosphere that proves why Dropkick Murphys are a band that have to be seen live to be fully appreciated.
Celtic punk rock may not be your thing – but there is one thing for sure. A band risen from the pits of Boston, Massachusetts have never done so much for Ireland and its reputation as a party nation.