Gig Review

Dropkick Murphys
Teenage Bottlerocket
London, Forum

18th January 2013

Dropkick Murphys       Teenage Bottlerocket

So here it is, later than a Lance Armstrong apology, my review of Dropkick Murphys supported by Teenage Bottlerocket. The Crowns should also have an honourable mention here too, however thanks to a mix up with the guestlist, I spent their set in the pub down the road from The Forum while frantically flicking through my phone’s contacts calling Trigger and the tour manager. Eventually, after battling through the snow and beer I made it back to the venue and was allowed in. I resisted the urge to cliché the hell out of the box office by yelling “DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?” because frankly, nobody did.

Teenage Bottlerocket emerged, coated in tattoos and hooded and the Wyoming quartet wasted no time in tearing into their songs with reckless abandon. An early favourite was ‘Welcome to the Nuthouse’ from their album Warning Device. Channelling early Offspring and NOFX their performance was energetic, frantic, and catchier than Russell Brand with Norovirus. More pop punk energy lifted from Warning Device filled the Forum followed with ‘In the Basement’, after which lead singer Ray Carlisle proclaimed his love for having his girlfriend urinate in his mouth. A nasty image, sure, but I’d wager it’d be a welcome departure from the Tuborg he was drinking throughout the set.

A little Dropkick Murphys cheerleading came before a breakneck version of The Ramones’ ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ came later in the set, which was another highlight. Nothing warms a chilly January crowd like a blast of New York vintage. All in all, Teenage Bottlerocket were incredibly good fun, and, having been largely unaware of the band before the evening began, they certainly gained a new fan in yours truly. TB were tight-sounding and entertaining, as only a band entering their second decade together can be and it’s clear to see that they’ve certainly honed their skills on the live scene. Long may the guys continue.

It was then time for Dropkick Murphys. The traditional entrance to Irish folk music built the tension before Boston’s flagship band launched into the aptly titled opener ‘The Boys are Back’, from recently released album Signed and Sealed in Blood and the place erupted, making enough noise to compensate for the 500 or so unfortunate victims absent due to the weather. As you’d expect from the Dropkicks there was crowd interaction-a-plenty and enough beer swilling to drown the Boston Tea Party. ‘Johnny, I hardly Knew Ya’ drew a spirited sing along, with cries of “Haroo-haroo” echoing up to the rafters – a perfect storm of drunken sentimentality and kick-in-the-face Irish violence. It really was fantastic stuff.

Ken Casey lead the ramshackle bunch through ‘Going Out in Style’ at full tempo, bellowing vocals over bagpipes and whipping the crowd into a frenzy that continued right through to the baseball-inspired ‘Jimmy Collins’ Wake’, which was cut short thanks to a power failure that caused an unwanted delay to proceedings. It appeared that HMV’s recent retail woe had extended to their sponsored venues. I suppose we should expect nothing less from a company that can’t even control their Twitter account. Still, the delay provided a much needed break for beer refills for most of the attendees while giving Casey the chance to rest his trademark raspy vocals and before long normal service resumed at full pelt.

Following the unscheduled mid-session interval, ‘Guns of Brixton’ was dropped into the set, continuing the unofficial classic punk covers theme of the evening before ‘Out of Our Heads’ provided all the bouncing and stranger hugging that one could possibly need on a Thursday night and ‘Rose Tattoo’ - another from the new album – was an instant sing along. Are there any Dropkicks songs that aren’t?

Towards the end of the set came ‘I’m Shipping Up to Boston’ – unarguably the band’s most well known song thanks to a lengthy video starring Matt Damon and some bloke from The Shining. Some bands find such a successful song something of a monkey on the back, but not Dropkicks; they performed as if it was the first time it had been aired, and the crowd reacted in a similar fashion.

The encore contained the usual stage antics as ‘Barroom Hero’, ‘End of the Night’ and ‘Skinhead on the MBTA’ were rattled through, by which time throats were sore, bars were dry and t-shirts were soaked with sweat. If there’s anything that can be taken from this review, anything at all, then it should be the overriding feeling that you should, nay must, see Dropkick Murphys live the next time they’re in the UK. It’s simply incredible. And it wasn’t their fault the PA fucked up.

Teenage Bottlerocket 4/5
Dropkick Murphys4/5

Review By Jack Turner

 Dropkick Murphys

Al Barr
Tim Brennan
Ken Casey
Jeff DaRosa
Matt Kelly
James Lynch
Scruffy Wallace

 Teenage Bottlerocket


 Band Related Links
Dropkick Murphys Facebook
Teenage Bottlerocket Facebook
 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?