No stopping the Celtic punks ? not even Murphy’s law

The Boston-based Celtic punk rockers returned to Vega last Monday with a strong, yet routine performance. As seasoned visitors to Vega, a significant portion of the crowd knew what to expect when the Irish party brigade started playing their invigorating take on folk combined with bonecrushing punk. But despite the severely dedicated fans being as enthralled and energetic as ever, it was a solid, yet hardly heartstopping performance, which was unfortunately riddled with technical problems throughout.  

Following a solid performance by the opening act, Britain’s Frank Turner, darkness swept the auditorium and the well-liquored audience started chanting so loudly they almost overpowered the ever famous intro to ‘The Foggy Dew’.

The band then entered to ‘The Boys are Back’, a bombastic, fist-pumping track, and the crowd went mental, maintaining a vigorous mosh pit throughout the entire show. Standing still was impossible, but despite the borderline violence, the crowd were attentive enough to help the less heavy and bulky individuals up should they fall.

After overcoming some initial sound problems, the Murphys gained momentum with the epic ‘Going out in Style’, a testosterone-pumping and enrapturing song featuring some great bagpiping by Scruffy Walace. The madness then continued with ‘The Irish Rover’, a folk song immortalised by The Dubliners. The Murphys’ supersonic and distorted take on the pub classic was devoured by the crowd – one of the highlights of the night.

A solid 35 minutes into the set, a bruised and profusely sweating crowd needed a break from the moshing madness. The folksy drinking song ‘Jimmy Collins Wake’ was followed by the anthemic ‘Cadence to arms’, which gave the instrument section have a time to shine – a well-deserved break for the dedicated crowd. Returning to the roots of their fast-paced punk, the main set culminated in ‘Workers Song’ – a common dedication from the Murphys to the working classes of all nations.

“Let’s go Murphys! Let’s go Murphys,” the hoarse voices of the largely male-dominated audience chanted like hooligans. After a couple of minutes, the band returned with the old Murphys classic ‘Barroom Hero’ to the delight of some of the more veteran fans. As is a Dropkick Murphys tradition, all the ladies in the audience were invited onto the stage for a couple of songs. It was a pleasant gesture. Less thought out was a similar the invite to the gents who brought as much madness to the stage as there was in the mosh pit, especially during ‘Citizen Cia’, a ball-crushing punk track.

The Dropkick Murphys are an incredible live band, but given their reputation, one could have expected a couple more anthemic songs, more interactivity with the crowd, and definitely better sound engineering. Let’s hope they return in a year’s time again with more ferociousness and more invigorating music.

Dropkick Murphys

January 21

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