The Dropkick Murphys came into being back in 1996 and have been spreading their one of a kind drunken Irish punk like a disease ever since. They are currently out on the road selling out shows in almost every city in support of their newest album, Signed And Sealed In Blood, with support acts Skinny Lister & Lucero and show no signs of quitting anytime soon- Their recent stop in Pittsburgh left Stage AE in ruins.
Skinny Lister got things going having travelled all the way from the United Kingdom to bring their unique brand of punk folk to the legions of fans across America. You couldn’t help, but get caught up in their infectious half hour set of high energy, good time drinking music at the conclusion of which, lead singer Lorna Thomas jumped into the crowd to do a little crowd surfing of her own.
Up next was Lucero, coming from Memphis, TN to share their alternative country sounds with the good people of Pittsburgh. Their music mixes equal parts of David Allen Coe, Bruce Hornsby, Joe Cocker, Hootie And The Blowfish, Jerry Lee Lewis, Wallflowers and even a little Bruce Springsteen into something that can only be describe as old school rockabilly, circa an old west saloon.
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Considering just how completely different they were from the Dropkicks, they were extremely well received by the crowd who were all drinking and having a very good time by this point. Vocalist Ben Nichols is a natural born story teller, who said “Women & Work” was about drinking whiskey and told a little tale before closer “Fistful Of Tears” that garnered a huge response from the crowd.
Dropkick Murphys were next and not only did they take the stage by storm, they beat it into full on submission, owning every single inch of it. From the opening notes of “The Boys Are Back,” the place erupted into instant insanity, living up to their reputation. It was so intense that the media photo pit had to be emptied out after just one song, for public safety reasons.
Their set was highlighted by an interactive laser and stage show that saw individual band members using every inch of the stage, including the monitors and amps to stand on. Lead singer Al Barr stood on the barrier to get up close and personal with the fans on “Warriors Code,” which he dedicated to all the fighters out there as the fans belted out every word at the top of their lungs.
In fact, the fans pretty much sang every song as loud as the band all night long while the big screen showed various images of anarchy and genocide as well as a bevy of artwork from the Dropkicks’ entire history. Every age group from 10 to 60 was represented and between the dancing, moshing and people just jumping around, the whole floor was moving in unison.
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There was however one awkward moment when bassist Ken Casey, who had the balls to wear a Bruins jersey, took to the mic and said “We dispise the Penguins.”
That little comment inspired immediate boos and nearly started a riot as the deafening chants of “Lets Go Pens,” filled the arena. He added “We still won the World Series though.”
From there the band regained their focus and proceeded forward with the job at hand which was to kick the ass of the fans in Pittsburgh and what song better to do that with, than their monster smash “I’m Shipping Up To Boston.” It was followed by a cover of BTO”s “Takin” Care Of Business” and the chorus to “We’re An American Band,” by Grand Funk Railroad, both of which received a massive reaction from the crowd.
They briefly exited the stage, before returning for the encore of “Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced,” which triggered a total loss of control, during which time they had all the ladies come on stage with them to drunkenly dance around. It was followed by a heavy as fuck version of AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” and “Citizen C.I.A.” that closed the show in epic form.
Judging from the ear to ear smiles on the fans faces as they headed out into the cold, the 14th annual Dropkick Murphys Saint Patrick’s Day Tour was a rousing success.