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IMPRESSIONS: Murphys Dropkick Winnipeg

It was a pretty packed theater on Monday night, November 16th. Not quite sold out, but close enough. And everyone was clearly anxious to see the Dropkick Murphys.

First, there were a couple of other bands vying for attention. The first one was the Mahones. It wasn’t an overly noteworthy set, but it wasn’t really boring either. The group is a 4 piece consisting of singer/guitarist, bassist, drummer, and accordian player. The play some pretty basic bar rock, in the Irish Tradition. They have a few sing-a-longs and were a really good warm-up for the Murphys. Also, they apparently missed a Winnipeg date they were supposed to play last month and proclaimed that, to make up for it, they would be playing a free show at the Pyramid after the show tonight was done.

Then came the Flatliners. I’m not going to lie to you people. These guys weren’t that good. It was pretty simple punk rock, but felt pretty boring. They really didn’t sound very original. They had fun on stage, which is important because it’s harder to have fun watching a band that just doesn’t care. But the crowd didn’t really seem to feel it, for the most part, and by the end a few people were shouting “get off the stage!” Maybe people were just tired of not watching the Dropkick Murphys?

Then, about 30 mins after the Flatliners finally gave the crowd what they seemed to want (leaving the stage), the theater went dark. The darkness was greeted by screams and cheers from the crowd, and in the background an Irish folk song began to play. It seems to be the way a few of the rock bands I’ve seen live choose to begin their set. It’s most likely done to set the mood and that was definitely working for me. However, the rest of the crowd seemed to be getting more impatient the longer the song played, as they began chanting “LET’S GO MURPHYS”…kinda the way you’d hear at a hockey game. Finally, through the dark we could see silhouetted figures make their way on stage and, before we knew it, the music started.

The Murphys played a lot of classics, some old, some new. One highlight from the main set was probably their song “Warrior’s Code” off the album of the same name. There were a lot of sing-a-longs and fist pumping from the crowd. But, as the main set ended, it definitely felt like something was missing. We hadn’t yet heard what is apparently the band’s most well-known and downloaded song: “Shipping Up to Boston”. Those of you not familiar with the band may be familiar with the song from the movie The Departed as it featured prominently at various times throughout the movie. The chorus lyrics go like this:

I’m a sailor peg
And I lost my leg
Climbing up the top sails
I lost my leg!

But then the encore began and I thought they might play it. They didn’t. Instead they played what seemed a popular sing-a-long that I wasn’t familiar with in which they invited a lot of young attractive ladies from the crowd onto the stage to dance and have a good time. Then I saw the bagpiper move into position and I thought “This is it! They’ll finally play the song.” Nope. It wasn’t the song I was looking for, but it was a pleasantly surprising cover of The Who’s “Teenage Wasteland”. Great song performed very well. Then, finally, “Shipping Up to Boston”. The whole crowd sang a long and it was probably the best time I’ve had at a concert. The Murphys then finished out the encore set with 2 other songs where they allowed random people from the crowd onto the stage to just party.

All in all, this night was definitely worth it and seemed to leave the whole crowd satisfied. Now let’s all raise a glass to the Dropkick Murphys and to Boston!

Click this link for pictures taken by a guy who tried his best.

Image IMG_5937 Originally uploaded by AccessWinnipeg

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