Monday, June 27
The mere concept of a concept album is often enough to make most rock fans bristle (>"/>
Paramount Monday, June 27
Monday, June 27
The mere concept of a concept album is often enough to make most rock fans bristle (Kilroy Was Here, anyone?). Add punk rock to the mix, and many fans will head screaming for the hills. But as Green Day proved in 2004 with American Idiot, and with Fucked Up's just-released David Comes to Life, the concept of a punk-rock concept album isn't completely ridiculous. In fact, it's becoming a totally viable endeavor, especially with so many good ones in recent memory. Add to that list Going Out in Style, the latest LP from Boston punks the Dropkick Murphys, who headlined the Paramount on Monday while showcasing several songs from the album.
Over its baker's-dozen tracks, Style focuses on the life and death of fictional Irish immigrant Cornelius Larkin, and boasts appearances by punk superstars (Fat Mike of NOFX) and actual superstars (Bruce Springsteen) alike. Nestled among the band's 90-minute set Monday was a selection of some of the album's best tracks, including "Cruel," "Going Out in Style," and "Peg O' My Heart," the song Springsteen sings on. Though the album was released three months ago, the time since its release has given fans a chance to memorize all the words, which they have, and which they shouted back at their beloved Bostonians during the set.
Perhaps the reason Style comes off so well is that the Dropkicks haven't changed their approach any. Seven records in, they're still combining traditional Celtic sounds with the blazing guitars of punk rock, but the tale of Cornelius Larkin is also one close to the Dropkicks' hearts. The band has major Irish pride (they have a bagpiper, for God's sake), and are Boston to the bone. Bassist/vocalist Ken Casey sported a Bobby Orr hockey jersey, and singer Al Barr (actually Scottish) revealed his strong Boston accent during his between-song banter ("This one's from our new rekkid"). The crowd embodied that same spirit as well, with fans dressed in kilts, "Yankees suck" T-shirts, and anything else green they could rustle up.
The Dropkicks played an energetic set, with Barr zooming from one end of the stage to the other, flat cap atop his head, fists pumping along with his gruff growl. The rest of the band zig-zagged across the stage as well, not just standing in front of the same microphone the whole set, but using any of the four set up across the front of the stage. The band changed tempos throughout the night, which kept things interesting, from the pounding hardcore of "Citizen C.I.A.," which sent the pit into a frenzy, to "Take 'Em Down" from the band's latest LP, an acoustic anthem for a blue-collar workforce.
"I'm Shipping Up to Boston," which has become a Boston sports staple, sent the band offstage for their encore and sent the crowd into a "Let's go Mur-phy's" chant, like a bunch of rabid Red Sox fans hoping for a big play. When the band returned, the stage filled from end to end with perhaps 50 female audience members, a Dropkick tradition for "Kiss Me, I'm Shitfaced," one man's boast to all the ladies in the bar. The band concluded their set with a rousing sing-along of AC/DC's "TNT," as male fans joined the onstage melee as well. Their final song seemed a good parallel to the set they had just played: a quick fiery burn and then a major boom. And just like that, the lights came up and the Dropkicks took their little bit of Boston off to the next city.
The scene: Drunks, tough guys, and drunk tough guys, though fans seemed more eager to hug and celebrate their favorite band than fight.
BTW: Former Hot Water Music frontman Chuck Ragan opened the show to a supportive crowd with a set of gravelly acoustic punk songs.