Dropkick Murphys

support Flogging Molly + Glen Matlock
author PP date 09/02/18 venue Valby Hallen, Copenhagen, DEN

Valby Hallen could suitably have a nickname or a catchphrase like: "where bands go to die". The venue's lack of charm and horrific sound quality - only surpassed by Parken and Forum - means it's an awful place for concerts, not to even mention that at a sold-out 5000 capacity, it's just the right size to attract the worst kind of mainstream audience. Expect a beer throwing, loudly talking Volbeat type of crowd, especially given tonight's slightly gimmicky lineup featuring two Celtic/folk punk bands at the top of the bill. Alas, expectations were not as high going into the show.

Glen Matlock

Glen Matlock

Opening up tonight's festivities is Glen Matlock, an original Sex Pistols member, so basically a member of punk rock royalty. But you wouldn't have been able to tell that from his performance tonight. Standing on an arena-sized stage solo with an acoustic guitar in front of thousands of people and rolling in covers by Sex Pistols, Rich Kids and many others sounds just about as bad as it reads on paper. Basically, the whole experience felt like your average pub busker doing covers on a crowded Friday night where virtually nobody is paying attention to the live environment. Matlock both looks and sounds so damn old the whole set is completely pointless. Sure, the crowd gets a lukewarm kick out of "God Save The Queen", but it's a brief pause in a 30-minute set that's otherwise marred by the crowd mostly talking amongst themselves.

3

Flogging Molly

The last three Flogging Molly albums have established the band as career musicians aiming for a more contemporary rock sound than the jolly, punk-fueled Irish folk punk anthems they were known for early on during their career. Tonight, they open with a new song off last year's "Life Is Good", one of the few upbeat arms-locked dance fests from their recent production, and the crowd instantly wakes up and beers start flying. "Swagger" and "Selfish Man" continue the party spirit, curated by the always charming Dave King, whose entertaining gestures get the crowd waving, dancing, and drinking, of course. The man himself is characteristically drinking a can of Guinness on stage just before giving us another "Drunken Lullabies", another old classic that pretty much everyone has danced to in a drunken haze at one Irish pub or another.

Flogging Molly

"On the tin whistle, my darling wife Bridge Reagan", King says to introduce his wife who is sitting down for some reason, but from the sounds of it she's either ill or injured so big props for showing up to perform nonetheless. "There's a guy with a red beard, a Red Wings hat, and a Dropkick Murphys shirt... the holy trifecta", King humorously calls a fan out in the crowd, before giving him a free Guinness. The evening is jam-packed with small anecdotes like these as King is in an especially festive mood, getting us to, among others, sing "olé, olé, olé, olééé" before letting us know he doesn't know what chance a country that beats Ireland 5-1 might have in the world cup.

Flogging Molly

"Devil's Dance Floor" sees the floor of Valby Hallen trembling from all the dancing going on, and "If I Ever Leave This World Alive" has us singing along from the top of our lungs. "What's Left Of The Flag" and "The Seven Deadly Sins" complete an hour's worth of folk punk that gets the crowd dancing, laughing and participating in whatever crowd control feat King has up his sleeve (the "We Will Rock You" medley was totally pointless, though). Still, the atmosphere is a far cry from the best Flogging Molly shows I've seen, plus it says a whole lot that nine out of thirteen tracks were from the old albums. Only one from "Float", none from "Speed Of Darkness", and three from "Life Is Good" says all you need to know about these records. A decent party, nothing more, nothing less.

Setlist:

  • 1. The Hand of John L. Sullivan
  • 2. Swagger
  • 3. Selfish Man
  • 4. Drunken Lullabies
  • 5. The Days We've Yet to Meet
  • 6. Life in a Tenement Square
  • 7. Float
  • 8. Tobacco Island
  • 9. Devil's Dance Floor
  • 10. Crushed (Hostile Nations)
  • 11. If I Ever Leave This World Alive
  • 12. What's Left of the Flag
  • 13. The Seven Deadly Sins

Dropkick Murphys

Dropklick Murphys

It's a mighty sound when a sold out 5000 capacity crowd all chant along with the wooah-ooh wooah-ooh intro "The Lonesome Boatman" from 2016's "11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory". It's a perfect start to get everyone in the mood: following up with a Dropkick Murphys classic "The State Of Massachusetts" right after from arguably their best album "The Meanest Of Times" is exactly the burst of energy the crowd needed to keep the party going and the beers flowing. Here, the band's banjo and accordion player make their way to the barrier to entertain people close up, while vocalist Al Barr, dressed in his signature style working-class man flat cap, paces the scene energetically back and forth. "Here we go here we goooo", we all sing for "Famous For Nothing" as it seems like the band are dead set on playing classic after classic.

Dropkick Murphys

A couple of new songs later - "I Had A Hat" is a blast and "Going Out In Style" sees the crowd break out into mosh pits - we're in "Blackout" territory with "Buried Alive" taking us all the way back to 2003 together with "Time To Go" a couple of songs later. It's good to see a solid response to the early material as well, however, they do have the unfortunate effect of contrasting the new material which, and I'm gonna sound like a broken record here, just doesn't sound as good as "The Meanest Of Times" and before. Hence, the biggest sing-alongs tonight come during the haroooo, harooo bits to "Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya" and of course "I'm Shipping Up To Boston" later on.

Dropkick Murphys

While "Rose Tattoo" is decent, and "Prisoner's Song" works too, the traditional intensity of Dropkick Murphys show is missing. Whether it's due to the setlist leaning heavily on the last couple of albums, or due to Valby Hallen just being a terrible venue, the overall experience is just not comparable to the shenanigans at either Amager Bio or Store Vega, respectively from a few years back. Tonight, they close the set with "Until The Next Time" where the stage fills up with crowd members, just like they do every time they play. It's neat, but the trick is getting old, don't you think?

Setlist:

  • 1. The Lonesome Boatman
  • 2. The State of Massachusetts
  • 3. Famous for Nothing
  • 4. I Had a Hat
  • 5. Rebels with a Cause
  • 6. Going Out in Style
  • 7. Buried Alive
  • 8. Blood
  • 9. Time to Go
  • 10. First Class Loser
  • 11. Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya
  • 12. Rose Tattoo
  • 13. Sunday Hardcore Matinee
  • 14. The Outcast
  • 15. Captain Kelly's Kitchen
  • 16. Prisoner's Song
  • 17. Peg O' My Heart
  • 18. You'll Never Walk Alone
  • 19. Out of Our Heads
  • 20. Caught in a Jar
  • 21. The Hardest Mile
  • 22. I'm Shipping Up to Boston
  • --Encore--
  • 23. The Boys Are Back
  • 24. Until the Next Time

Photos by: Stefan Straten

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