Dropkick Murphys

support Millencolin
author PP date 25/06/19 venue Folkets Park, Malmö, SWE

It's Tuesday and right after Copenhell. Not exactly your preferable conditions for traveling to yet another event, but who could pass on a dual package of Swedish skate punk heroes Millencolin, who usually rocks on home soil, and the festive folk punk of Dropkick Murphys? Not this punk rocker. It's a sunny 25C+ afternoon, and our friends at KB have put on quite a nice setup at Folket's Park, a small green area just a stone's throw away from their main concert hall. We've got beers (that tragically ran out halfway through the Dropkick set), we've got burgers, and most importantly in Swedish festival-looking venue, the whole area has been designed a serving zone, meaning you can smash down beers while you watch the show. Turns out such liberating measures can't be handled by the Swedes though, who seem hell-bent on throwing halfway finished (luckily plastic) bottles high up in the air in seemingly never-ending fashion. Thumbs down for those idiots (who wants to get soaked in beer?), thumbs up for the great venue and atmosphere otherwise.

Millencolin

Since it's a weekday show and it's outside, Millencolin rips it up already at 18:30 in front of a half-empty venue, but at least they are doing it with a classic, the title track of 1999's "Penguins And Polarbears". But as has become more the norm rather than the exception, the song is sloppily played just like most other old tracks today pre-"Home From Home", which makes it feel like the band is playing them because they must, not because they want to. Bad start, but at least "SOS" and then "Fingers Crossed" sound solid. The band rush straight into one of their better newer tracks in "Sense & Sensibility" and through to another old classic in "Fox" right away.

Millencolin by Grant M Purdy

Are they planning to thrash through their set in one go, Against Me! style? All of a sudden a bad start is starting to feel like an awesome show because they are playing fast and running through their shows in convincing fashion. No additional bullshit and crowd control like they had at Groezrock a couple of months ago, so today feels much more like a skate punk show, much like their fantastic set at Helsinborg back in '17. So even though "Twenty Two" again feels unrehearsed, the good news is that "Sour Days" from the new album rocks and the band looks and feels super tight on it.

Millencolin by Grant M Purdy

"Olympic" follows right after as one of my favorite older Millencolin tracks, yet it looks like I'm the only in the crowd that knows it. In general, the crowd looks fairly lost, making me question whether the 495 SEK ticket price has scared away all the non-Dropkick Murphys fans. It's early, but jeez, your homeland heroes are delivering an excellent set and all you can muster is a tiny pit within the first two rows of the stage. Luckily, "The Ballad" induces a sing-along across the crowd, and later on, "Mr. Clean" does the same to a small extent. In between, the band dust off "Lozin' Must" and "Pepper" from the old albums among a few newer tracks, but the latter is ruined by a pause halfway through the upbeat, energetic track used to introduce the band. Completely unnecessary if you ask me. That said, by the time "No Cigar" finishes the show I have jotted down solid into my notes: with very few crowd control measures, the band's skate punk feels as tight and awesome as it does on record, minus the older tracks that just feel unrehearsed and careless. The setlist is a great mix of old and new, with all the fan favorites and with a focus on only the good stuff from the newer records. It does indeed seem that all the best Millencolin shows I've seen (and there have been well over 10) are always in Sweden.

8

Setlist:

  • 1. Penguins & Polarbears
  • 2. SOS
  • 3. Fingers Crossed
  • 4. Sense & Sensibility
  • 5. Fox
  • 6. Twenty Two
  • 7. Sour Days
  • 8. Olympic
  • 9. The Ballad
  • 10. Farewell My Hell
  • 11. True Brew
  • 12. Lozin' Must
  • 13. Nothing
  • 14. Pepper
  • 15. Mr. Clean
  • 16. E20 Norr
  • 17. Ray
  • 18. No Cigar

Dropkick Murphys by Grant M Purdy

Dropkick Murphys

"Let's Go Murphys! Let's Go Murphys! the crowd chant right away during the instrumental "Cadence To Arms", and what a fitting way to kick off the festivities than with a rowdy, festive "The Boys Are Back" as if it's a foreshadowing statement of "Here we fucking go, we're back bitches!". Because what follows from this point ins a booze-fueled, high-energy party atmosphere that rivals most festivals as Dropkick Murphys absolutely kill it with a setlist for the ages. But let's not get ahead of our selves. The crowd awakes as if from a coma, eclectically chanting "The boys are back, the boys are back, the boys are back... and they are looking for trouble" in a fashion that surely woke up the neighboring apartment's babies if not those a few streets away as well.

Dropkick Murphys by Grant M Purdy

Behind the band is a reduced version of their multi-platform Groezrock stage production, centering a big video screen that's one of the most effective ones I've seen lately. With touching videos and short animations, most of the time is used to highlight the sing-alongable parts of their songs, which ensures everyone and their mother is having a blast singing along to the tracks whether they knew them in advance or not. And if "The Boys Are Back" was a blast, "Prisoner's Song" is an absolute party, with "Going Out In Style" holding up the infectious, high-energy feel of the show. Such an upbeat opening has the crowd dancing in a frenzy, tossing bottles and beer in all directions, and on stage Al Barr looks not a day over 30 years old (despite being 51 at the time of this writing) as he storms back and forth the stage, making frequent appearances at the barrier as well.

Dropkick Murphys by Grant M Purdy

All the attention is then diverted to the bagpipe dude dancing on top of the platforms before we slow things down for an aggressive ballad of sorts, "Blood" off "11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory" from a couple of years ago. It triggers a big woo-ooh sing along alongside the "BLOOD!" chants, but it is a little slow to my liking. No problem, the Murphys have this shit under control: we delve straight into one a 1999 track "The Fighting 69th" and the street vibes of "Citizen CIA" straight after. The energy picks up from where it left off and the crowd is in a constant state of movement, just like the band is on stage. I can't remember the last time these guys looked as solid and tight as they do right now. Sure, they waste a bit of time playing a cover of "I Fought The Law", but since the whole set consists of 26 songs tonight, I'm gonna give them a pass on that one - and for playing the god damn Liverpool anthem "You'll Never Walk Alone" at one point. To be fair, "The Fields Of Athenry" more than makes up for that, as does "Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya". Both draw massive sing-alongs from the crowd. My personal highlight of the show is the 2007 masterpiece "Famous For Nothing" and it's ripe-for-huge-chanting "Well these lies won't save me / Don't you know, don't you know / From the time that made me / Here we go, here we go" segment. Back chills during the here we go, here we go moments, which by the way repeat when the band kicks off with the other "here we go" song, namely "Out Of Our Heads", not to even mention "Worker's Song" later on after the encore.

Dropkick Murphys by Grant M Purdy

"I'm Shipping Up To Boston" and "Until The Next Time" finish off a rock-solid show which has everything: great, but not overdone stage production, high-energy movement from the band's part, a fantastic crowd energy with constant sing-alongs resulting in a party atmosphere I believe is unbeatable outside festivals on a Tuesday. The band looks rejuvenated and relevant again, despite a weaker album under their belt, thanks to a smart setlist that ensures we're constantly fed bangers after any track that would risk to put the show off to a lull of any sort. It says a lot that the bar RAN OUT OF BEER during their show!

Setlist:

  • 1. Cadence to Arms
  • 2. The Boys Are Back
  • 3. Prisoner's Song
  • 4. Going Out in Style
  • 5. Blood
  • 6. The Fighting 69th
  • 7. Citizen C.I.A.
  • 8. The Walking Dead
  • 9. Jimmy Collins' Wake
  • 10. The State of Massachusetts
  • 11. Caught in a Jar
  • 12. I Fought the Law (The Crickets cover)
  • 13. Paying My Way
  • 14. Surrender
  • 15. Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya
  • 16. The Fields of Athenry (Pete St. John cover)
  • 17. Famous for Nothing
  • 18. Take 'Em Down
  • 19. You'll Never Walk Alone (Rodgers & Hammerstein cover)
  • 20. First Class Loser
  • 21. The Irish Rover ([traditional] cover)
  • 22. Out of Our Heads
  • 23. Rose Tattoo
  • --Encore--
  • 24. Worker's Song
  • 25. I'm Shipping Up to Boston
  • 26. Until the Next Time

Photos by: Grant M Purdy

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