Dropkick Murphys

support Against Me! + Deadly Sins + Year Long Disaster
author PP date 03/04/08 venue Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

For once, the Danish promoters had managed to grab a hold of a whole bunch of great bands and persuaded them to come play on Danish soil....but why did it have to be on the same freaking day? Not only did the A Kid Hereafter/Billy Boy In Poison/Mevadio axle play at The Rock, but indie rockers Rooney played at Lille Vega, Swedish hardcore/screamo combo Raised Fist and Adept were dominating Pumpehuset, all while the mighty Celtic punks Dropkick Murphys brought Against Me!, The Deadly Sins and Year Long Disaster to Store Vega. Yes, it was a great day for Danish tour bookers and promoters alike, and a sad day for all the rest of us who wanted to be at every single one of these shows. With Store Vega only a few tickets short of sold out capacity (almost twice as many people as for Simple Plan the week before), most people had chosen to come dance along to the best party music known to man.

Year Long Disaster

Things were kicked off early by Year Long Disaster, a Los Angeles based hard rock trio, in front of only about a handful of people who had poured into the concert hall. Few songs in to their set, dozens more had showed up, intrigued at the band's rock'n'roll sound, which combines together the bass-heaviness of Queens Of The Stone Age and the hard rock attitude of oldschool Guns N Roses, making the band loud as hell thanks to the rumbling bass guitar and the thumping bass drums. It fitted with the stage attitude of the whole band, but especially the guitarist was impressive. He was laid back during vocal bits, but as soon as the music gave him permission to get away from the mic he was doing circles all around, and jumping around explosively, further projecting that Slash image he had going on with his clothing style (the big hat anyone?). By the end of the set, Year Long Disaster had the hall packed with people, all rocking out to the rock 'n roll rhythms. All in all, a good set that surely impressed many in attendance tonight, even if soundwise the band didn't quite belong to the lineup tonight.

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Deadly Sins

Deadly Sins, in stark contrast, fitted the bill tonight much better in terms of genre. The band played pretty straight forward punk rock / street punk with a female vocalist showing enough aggression to make most male vocalists jealous. As she was storming across the stage, energetically singing/yelling their high tempo songs, her biggest worry was keeping the straps of her top steady and avoid losing her shirt, because the crowd was hypnotized by her dominant stage presence, and not only that, but they were also visibly pleased with the music. Couple songs into their set everyone was already in a party mood, and a mosh pit appeared for the first time today, and the band seemed to suck all the steam in and gear up from that sight. That was enough to have me check out of the previously unknown band to me in more detail.

Against Me!

Next up was Against Me!, who headlined the smaller version Vega about half a year back, and were thus a much more known band for the audience tonight. Unless my memory has been corrupted from too many beers, the band started off with the title track from their new record "New Wave", and got the crowd singing along straight away. In a typical Against Me! fashion, no introduction was given and the band jumped straight into the song, and didn't speak to the crowd for about four or five songs before briefly announcing "We're Against Me! from Gainesville, Florida". From what I remember of their Roskilde Festival performance last year, the band was a whole lot tighter back then than they were today, probably because the much bigger stage seemed a bit alien for a punk band of their type in Denmark. Only when the band rolled through material from "Reinventing Axl Rose" and "As The Eternal Cowboy" did they seem tight on stage, aside from the faster songs like "White People For Peace" and "Americans Abroad" from the new record. Not that this mattered of course, because the crowd tonight sung the radio hits "Stop!" and "Thrash Unreal" loudly back at them anyway. Overall, Against Me! put up a good show as always, though more material from "Searching For A Former Clarity" would have made the show extra great.

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Dropkick Murphys

Soon after the lights dimmed and an introductory Celtic anthem faded in from the speakers. For a duration that felt like eternity, the bagpipe/whistles in the song got the crowd worked up for the dance fest that was awaiting immediately after the arrival of the high tempo set opener "Famous For Nothing". The "Here we go, here we go" lyrics of the chorus couldn't have been better placed, as the entirety of Store Vega was dancing from front to back, and even the balcony was fully participating (from what you could see positioned on the floor). "The State Of Massachusetts", the radio hit from the new album, only fortified the mosh pits and dance-offs and had people singing along from the top of their lungs throughout. Though that was nothing compared to the gang-shout volume "harruu, harruu" shouts of "Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya". By this point the venue was steaming hot and everyone was out of breath, but the band wasn't about to let the crowd go. The charismatic vocal trade-offs between bassist Casey and frontman Al Barr kept the crowd going for a bunch of more up tempo songs, and not a single soul could resist the "dance, now!" command of the much loved bag pipe in "God Willing". The Barr/Casey combo nailed their vocals spot on song after song, helped by near-perfect sound and a superb stage presence grinded through years upon years of live experience. "Fields Of Athenry" was amazing live (even if I prefer the NUFAN cover), and another new song "Tomorrow's Industry" was another highlight. Then it was time for exploration of older material and a couple of slower songs for a while, which all worked equally well - beer was flowing, everybody was dancing, the music was great, what could be better?

"Fairmount Hill", "Captain Kelly's Kitchen" were both fantastic as well. As a (expected) surprise for the crowd, the Deadly Sins front woman Stephanie Dougherty joined the band on stage for "The Dirty Glass" to sing the female vocals of the song (she also sang on the studio version), making it another highlight of the show, which seemed to be full of highlights and without downturns from start to finish. All female crowd members were invited on stage for "Kiss Me, I'm Shitfaced", where Burr/Casey took their time to sing to each girl on stage individually to their delight. I think I counted about 25 girls on stage arm in arm by the end of the song. Don't worry, the guys got their chance too after the encore during "Skinheads On The MBTA".

With six albums worth of back catalog, the amount of choice that the band has for each setlist is vast. But I don't think anyone expected the band to play for as long as they did. They could easily get away with playing just seventeen or eighteen songs, but tonight the band decided to fill an A4's worth of paper with their setlist, playing a total of 29 songs, including ten (!) from the new record "The Meanest Of Times". There were so many songs from all the albums that I don't think anyone can complain about the setlist. The set wasn't overly long either, lasting just over an hour and a half, as all the songs were played pretty much non-stop with only short breather pauses here and there. The dancing continued late to the night, people got drunker and drunker (and thus more willing to sing along), and atmosphere went through the roof towards the stratosphere, cementing Dropkick Murphys as the party band numero uno on so many levels. That's something other bands should learn as well: this is the proper way to do a fucking live show, no useless crowd pleaser gimmicks, just music from start to finish.

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Setlist:

  • 1. Famous For Nothing
  • 2. The State Of Massachusetts
  • 3. Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya
  • 4. Black Velvet Band
  • 5. God Willing
  • 6. Finnegan's Wake
  • 7. Amazing Grace
  • 8. Blood And Whiskey
  • 9. Fields Of Athenry
  • 10. Tomorrow's Industry
  • 11. Caught In A Jar
  • 12. John Law
  • 13. Boys On The Docks
  • 14. Echo's On "A" Street
  • 15. The Wild Rover
  • 16. Curse Of A Fallen Soul
  • 17. Flannigan's Ball
  • 18. Loyal To No One
  • 19. Which Side Are You On?
  • 20. The Dirty Glass (with Deadly Sins frontwoman Stephanie Dougherty)
  • 21. Fairmount Hill
  • 22. Worker's Song
  • 23. Captain Kelly's Kitchen
  • 24. Kiss Me, I'm Shitfaced

--Encore--

  • 25. I'm Shipping Up To Boston
  • 26. Shattered
  • 27. Barroom Hero
  • 28. Skinhead On The MBTA
  • 29. Citizen CIA

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