Punk band Dropkick Murphy’s

Karen Grennan

The Dropkick Murphy’s released their first live CD, “Live on St. Patrick’s Day From Boston, Mass.” DKM, as they are known to loyal fans, are a seminal seven piece punk band from Boston.
Sept. 19 is the half way mark until the next Saint Patty’s extravagenza, and the CD was just released on the hardcore Hellcat/Epitaph label.
Dropkick’s, which formed in 1996 in Boston plays a raucous punk rock with Irish folk and hardcore mixed in.
They turn their ‘Oi-punk brand into a self-described, “Loud, raucous, chaotic and often out of tune mix that we can call our own.”
“St. Patrick’s Day” was recorded over three nights during that holiday weekend this year at Boston’s Avalon Ballroom. There were 75 songs played, but only 25 made it to the CD.
Packaged with not just their own riotous energy and emotion, the crowd is just as tuned in during the band’s sets.
The disc starts out with the crowd chanting the well-known phrase, “Let’s go Murphys!” and opens with piper Spicey McHaggis playing “The Foggy Dew” with Matt Kelly’s infuriating drumming. This is the usual kick-off for all their live shows.
Next comes “For Boston,” a crowd favorite, having high significance in their hometown.
This is a loud and juiced favorite as an opener and it’s a short abrevity, just over a minute. Crowd involvement is a big part of any Dropkick show, and there is plenty on their live record.
Another standout track is “The Rocky Road to Dublin,” an Irish folk song that they have rearranged into The Murphy’s format, loud and synergetic.
The lyrics are barked by both lead vocalist Al Barr and the crowd in perfect unison. Barr shows that he can do more than bark, yell and scream lyrics. He shows he can actually carry a melody, rare for punk singers, especially hardcore Bostononian bands.
“Good Rats” is another recent Dropkick’s single, in which Barr shows his vocal chops. This one, like many of their others, is all about drinking Guinness, a favorite pastime of the band as they caricaturize themselves as amiable rodents.
The popular crowd chants when “Good Rats” is finished, and there is an obvious request for an encore set. The Murphy’s sure don’t disappoint.
They jump right back in with “Amazing Grace.” Starting with Spicey McHaggis on bagpipes, Casey and Barr wind up for yelling in order to be heard over the crowd singing along.
There are also a few worthy cover songs on the CD. The one that most will know is Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Vietnam protesting “Fortunate Son.”
This song has special significance because the CD was released September 10, almost exactly a year after the terrorist attacks.
Earlier this year a studio version of “Fortunate Son” was also released by Dropkick’s guests on a Vagrant Records E.P. opposite California hardcore band Face to Face.
Overall, the Murphy’s live “St. Patrick’s Day” disc has plenty favorite songs captured for the first time live.
And if you have never heard any DKM songs? After a first listen to the record, you can pick up the array of Murphy standards. Heck, you don’t even have to be Irish to like it; you just have to have an ear for punk music.
This is a quintessential live record from one of the most seminal rock bands of the past half decade that is already among the top punk acts around.
Keep an eye out for Dropkick tour dates, as they frequent Toad’s Place and Boston clubs quite regularly.