Dropkick Murphys’ annual Saint Patrick’s Day tour passed through New York City. The Celtic Punk Invasion Tour included three back to back sold out performances.
Dropkick Murphys formed in 1996 in Quincy, Mass. The Boston-based group named themselves after professional wrestler, John “Dropkick” Murphy. Initially, they started out as a punk rock band, but soon found their Irish heritage influenced their sound. They embraced this element in their music and live shows. Dropkick Murphys are known for their political activism and charity work. They support the working class and labor unions. The merchandise that is sold at their shows is 100 percent union-made in the United States. They also have done philanthropic work for American war veterans.
On the third and final night of the Irving Plaza shows, fansÂ lined up early despite the cold rainy weather. The dedication of their audience is impressive. One would assume finding shelter to escape rain and slush would be practical. This crowd, however, stood outside sharing stories and reciting jokes. As the doors opened, everyone rushed inside and made their way upstairs toward the main room. By Â the time the show started, everywhere was packed, including the bar areas.
The audience consisted of die-hards who made it a family affair bringing their children, couples, and those who had recently discovered the band. In the Saint Patrick’s Day spirit, green was one of the popular colors of the night. Conversations focused on the set list and sharing of stories from previousÂ Dropkick Murphys tours. As it so happened, theÂ NY Rangers game against the NY Islanders was the same night. While the crowd waited for the band to hit the stage, they chantedÂ “Let’s Go Murphys” and “Let’s Go Rangers.” We all know the Rangers beat the Islanders two to one. The number three is a lucky number in the Irish Tradition. Third night of sold out performances, and the NYC favorites win the game!
Dropkick Murphy’s started out their set with a cover of the Chieftains “The Foggy Dew” as their intro. The crowd went wild knowing that in just a few minutes, the curtains would rise. When the band took the stage, the crowd surfacing began as they broke into the “Boys Are Back” from their 2013 album SIGNED and SEALED in BLOOD. The chorus of the song was echoed throughout the crowded venue, “The boys are back the boys are back and they’re looking for trouble!”
Throughout the venue, fans who were not in the middle of the crowd surfacing action sang along to their favorite songs with a beer in hand and some with brothers in arms. The energy was contagious.
For those that have never been to a Dropkick Murphys’ show, it can be best summed up as one big party for your close friends. People who have nothing in common unite for their love of music for one night. It’s the only time you can approach a random stranger, put your arms around them, and sing and dance with them. It is clear that lots of friendships were forged that night.
Mid-set, the band pulled out a list of cover songs and a dartboard and handed darts to those standing at the front of the stage. Fans threw darts to select songs for the Murphys to play. Â One song was “Iron Chin” by the Bruisers.Â The song featured Vinnie Stigma of Agnostic Front.Â Another highlight of the night were fan favorites, “Rose Tattoo” and “Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced.” Â They closed their set in typical Dropkick Murphys style with â€œShipping off to Boston.” Â The song was fitting as two days later, the band had six shows in the Boston area scheduled before heading out to Ireland.
The supporting bands of the night included the folk singer Bryan McPherson,Â The Mahones, and Dublinâ€™s own Blood and Whiskey.