The six-piece band wasted little time with formalities, launching into a series of rowdy and raucous numbers from Goin’ Out In Style, their most recent effort. It’s immensely reassuring to know that in the face of so many formulated “new punk” bands (I can think of one act so uninventive that’s coming to The Forum in a week that they can’t even bother to play an entire set of their own material), the Dropkick Murphys don’t let their age show. Throughout the evening, they charged on with the effort of a cagey, crafty sports veteran.
In fact, their set often called to mind a championship sporting event. During the encore break, the crowd engaged in a full-on call to arms, chanting “Let’s go Murphys!” before the band reappeared with massive grins. Casey greeted the crowd for the first time after a few songs, making reference to the large number of Boston Bruins jerseys. “We see those jerseys, and we just want to let everyone know that our hockey team from Boston are the Stanley Cup Champions right now,” which drew honest applause. It gave this reviewer incredible amounts of joy to be reminded, as it was the Vancouver Canucks, a team I loathe, which lost to the Bruins in the final.
There is an element of robustness to the Murphys which ultimately serves as the backbone to their charm. A few troublemakers up front were noticed by husky-toned lead singer Al Barr; he spent the three songs singing angrily at the front and shouting to the stage hands to eject said troublemakers. Well, we know who the enforcer is.
Towards the end of the night, the Murphys gave the fans what they wanted to hear. I’m Shipping Up To Boston produced a brand new backdrop and a flurry of activity in the mosh pit and an acoustic Boys On The Docks sounded much larger than the sum of its parts. And the Murphys, ever aware of their surroundings, finished with a stomping version of AC/DC’s TNT. The night ended with the entire crowd pumping their fists; unlike a sporting event, it was a night when everyone (save for the troublemakers) won.
BY JOSHUA KLOKE