Boston Gael-punk contingent Dropkick Murphys are part of a long heritage of transatlantic artists whose romanticism of their Irish family heritage is matched only by a willingness to live up to its perceived and perhaps two-dimensional expectations.
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As if weaned on a musical diet of the Pogues, Green Day and Fairytale of New York throughout their adolescent years, they fuse Celtic roots rock and snotty stateside punk rock into an unlikely but seamless whole.
This show was nothing if not ridiculously energetic, a heaving mass of young metal teens right through to grizzled old punks on the dancefloor, with many of the males taking occasional breaks to douse their sweat-scorched, tops-off torsos in full pints of water. The band partied just as feverishly, with bassist Ken Casey doing most of the chatting in his excited mid-Atlantic brogue and singer Al Barr, looking like a working joe in baseball cap and tattoo-baring T-shirt, roaring out his lyrics with a voice like a chainsaw even on the relatively ballad-paced Rose Tattoo.
At times, their half-heard lyrics seemed like a checklist of items those on this side of the pond might romanticise about the Irish-American experience: glimpses of Boston workers in Boys On the Docks or a fiercely delivered take on The Irish Rover (their new album is the none-less-macho Signed and Sealed in Blood). Yet there was a certain brotherliness, too, between these artists who wear their political heart on their sleeve, and the call to unity of Worker’s Song and the stage invasion for the misty-eyed End of the Night were definitely highlights.