Dropkick Murphys at the Palladium

Went and saw the Dropkick Murphys at the Palladium last night.

Should you like seriously up-tempo Irish punk music (like I do), this is the band for you. They ran through a dozen tight, punky numbers even before the seats got warm (though everyone stood the whole time). Surprisingly versatile, this seven-man band from Boston played quite a number of instruments throughout the show, with one man playing keyboard, piano, guitar, banjo, penny whistle, and mandolin while the lead guitarist doubled on accordian and what looked like a bouzouki and yet another on the bagpipes. Opening the show with a ten-minute video commemorating twenty years of the Murphys, the curtain came tumbling down and the sonic assault raged with blaring lights, flashes and lots of movement. Singing with up to six-part harmony, this band always reminds me of being in an Irish pub swinging mugs of beer, laughing, cheering, chugging, etc., that is, a real fun time. If you have no experience with the Murphys, go do yourself a favor and check them out…this is hyper-energetic, toe-tapping music…

The crowd was a spectacle all by itself. Pressed up against the front barrier next to the stage, I lost count at thirty the number of body-lifted patrons who were hoisted overhead to the front only to come back around to re-enter the fray. There was also a vortex of maybe 200 young men prancing and parading around in a circle some ten rows back in the SRO ballroom crowd. Put all that together with a rather inebriated young crowd of T-shirt wearing fans all more than happy to enter into the frequent hand-clapping and chants of “Let’s go, Murphys,” and you had utter pandemonium, one that rocked until midnight.

The show was opened by an uplifting, upbeat set by Hoist the Colors, a local El Segundo band, the forgettable Jesse Hearn Band (though they did close with a rousing I Fought the Law), and some guy from the Pogues named James-something who thought we were privileged to see him (yeah, right) yet delivered a monotonal set of mainly plodding Irish-style folk music.

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