In 1988 an innocent (cough, cough) Austrian boy picked up ”If I Should Fall from Grace with God” by the Pogues and got pushed into the wild world of celtic Punk. Fast forward 2022 and this remains one of my favorite genres. When I received an invite to see the Dropkick Murphys at the State Theatre I jumped at the chance. As I read through the info I became more and more curious. A seated show? An acoustic show? How was that going to work? It’s the Murphys after all….
Walking into the State Theater my mind had a vision in my mind of Boston Irish sitting on chairs on the stage plucking away on string instruments……maybe there would be a Tambourine? Well, the first words out of Jessie Ahern’s mouth reset that – “That’s all you got, Minneapolis?” Armed with a guitar and harmonica he faced an audience filtering in and finding their seats. They never stood a chance! Jessie keeps it simple but forces you to pay attention. His lyrics reflect his “wrench turner” background and he connected well with the audience. His current album is “Heartache and Love”
“This Machine Still Kills Fascists” their latest album is unlike their previous releases. It’s been years in the making and features the lyrics of Woody Guthrie, a key figure of American folk music, curated by his daughter Nora Guthrie to music written by the Murphys. Through the set there were references to Guthrie and what he stood for. About the Union movement that had a major part in creating the American Middle Class.
The blend of Guthrie’s lyrics with Murphy’s unmistakable sound is brilliant. The band has always stayed true to their working class roots in their music and lyrics. The evening became a very entertaining history lesson of sorts. I left the show with a new found appreciation for the roots of some of my favorite music.
Set List: Ten Times More / Two 6’s Upside Down / Middle Finger / Talking Jukebox / Citizen C.I.A. / Take ‘Em Down / Cadillac, Cadillac / We Shall Overcome (Pete Seeger cover) / Worker’s Song / Waters Are A’risin / Where Trouble Is At /Never Git Drunk No More (with Jamie Wyatt) / All You Fonies / The Last One / Rose Tattoo / The Fields of Athenry (Pete St. John cover) / Barroom Hero /Boys on the Docks /Skinhead on the MBTA
Encore: I’m Shipping Up to Boston /Dig a Hole
Encore 2: Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced