March 6th, 2022 (Orlando FL.)
Since the scourge that is known as Covid swept over the land and caused mass heartbreak for lovers of live music, it has finally become a time to rejoice. Not only has live music returned with a vengeance, but all the artists involved have all this pent up energy that needs to be let out on the stage. With St. Patrick’s day right around the corner that could only mean one thing, yes mighty The Dropkick Murphy’s are back on the road. These purveyors of Celtic punk music are notorious for their high energy raucous shows. Having been sidelined due the aforementioned reasons, you just had to know that these guys were more than just eager to get back out and do what they love.
With the show set and ready to go at Orlando’s famed House Of Blues, all throughout the downtown Disney area where the venue is located, everywhere you turned you could see various vintages of Dropkick t-shirts. From ones that were fresh from the bands website, to faded tattered ones from years before, their fans obviously were out in droves for this show. As a matter of fact, this show sold out very quickly, a testament to love that their fans have for them.
When the doors finally opened the place filled quickly. There would be no skipping the openers and coming for the main act. That would mean risking having to watch on one of the TV screens in the venue because you wouldn’t be able to even sniff the stage. What is great about nights like this is you get catch some opening acts that you might not have the opportunity to see otherwise. Tonight, there would be three great opening acts in Jesse Ahern, The Rumjacks, and The Bombpops.
Up first was Jesse Ahern. Armed with nothing but an acoustic guitar and a harmonica, he stepped up to the microphone and launched into his set. Over the course of his thirty minute set time, he had the audience in the palm of his hand. His Boston twinged roughhewn voice of the everyman delivered every song with authenticity and conviction. Playing songs that were a mix of Americana, folk, and rockabilly, all this and his blue collar style made him a perfect fit for this tour.
Next up were The Rumjacks. Hailing from Australia, they are very much in the vein of The Dropkick Murphys, as they also combine punk with Celtic music. With six full length albums including their latest effort Brass For Gold under their belt, they are clearly one of the top bands in their genre and obviously a perfect fit on this tour. They put on a rousing show and clearly were a fan favorite and a wise choice to bring along. They even broke out the tin flute and the bag pipes to add to the level of their performance. To the delight of all their fans they even played their biggest hit “Irish Pub Song” which has garnered some seventy-eight million views on YouTube
In a complete break from the Irish theme of the night the next act was The Bombpops. Without a hint of Celtic heritage and hailing from California instead of Boston, their music was the complete antithesis of the entire night of music. Their sound is a straight up pop/punk mix with lead singer Jen Razavi’s sugary sweet voice delivering heavy lyrics. They played a rousing set that was well received by the clearly partisan crowd. It was definitely a wise choice to bring them along on this tour as not only are they a great band, but their style provided the perfect break in the evening to keep things from being too much of one style.
If there is one band that can turn a packed venue of two thousand people into an intimate house party, it is The Dropkick Murphys. With ten albums under their belt including their latest effort Turn Up That Dial, there were more than enough songs to satisfy their most ardent fans no matter what was chosen to be played. If anything with so much material and a penchant for turning their shows into a sort of Friday night Irish pub sing-along the question was how many of their songs would they play?
With the stage lights finally coming alive, on top of the riser set at the back of the stage stood Lee Forshner with his bagpipes as he played the intro to “A Cadence To Arms” at the perfect spot the rest of the band joined him and ripped through the rest of the song. If thing weren’t already crazy enough, seeing the band live drove everyone into a frenzy. As the band started to play the first notes of “Do Or Die”, lead singer Ken Casey burst on stage with tons of energy. He was in constant motion as he belt out the lyrics to the song.
With the crowd singing every word right back to the band, this did not go unnoticed. Casey was loving every minute of it judging by the smile beaming on his face. He was so appreciative of his fans that during the song “Barroom Hero” he tossed his mic to a fan to let him sing some of the song. Throughout the night Casey would also hop off the stage and onto a platform placed in front of the stage just so he could shake the hands of his fans and give them fist bumps as well. When you do stuff like that, it’s no wonder their shows have reached legendary status as well as selling out in minutes.
It wouldn’t be a Dropkick show without them playing fan favorites such as “Rose Tattoo”, “The State Of Massachusetts”, and “The Warriors Code”. Indeed with a massive twenty seven song setlist, there were tons of songs to thrill everyone in the venue. Not every one of those songs was their own. They even managed to sneak in some cover songs such as “The Body Of An American” by The Pogues, “Police On My Back” by The Equals (but better known as a Clash song), and a banger of a cover of the AC\DC song “It’s A Long Way To The Top ( If You Wanna Rock N Roll)”.
After a night of rowdy, raucous, and incredibly fun music with a celtic twist, it seems as though every person in the building had more than just a drop of Irish blood in them. Just like the last song of the night “I’m Shipping Up To Boston”, if all the fans could have their way they would do just that to catch the Dropkick Murphys on their home turf come St. Patricks day. While that may be the dream, everyone was already making plans to catch the Dropkick Murphys when they come back to Florida.
House Of Blues Orlando: