When the doors opened and I got a look at the crowd that began filing into the Beaumont Club on Sunday night, I got a feeling that the show would be special. People of all ages and walks of life entered with smiles of anticipation and nods to each other in understanding of what they were about to witness. It was heartening to see so many different types of people gathered together to have a party – which is exactly what Larry and His Flask, Strung Out and The Dropkick Murphys did. They had one wicked-ass party for Kansas City and for their incredibly loyal fans.
The show was completely sold out before the doors opened and as one would expect, the temperature in the Beaumont quickly reached critical, but that didn’t stop any of the bands from putting on a full energy punk show – especially Larry and His Flask. It was my first time experiencing this band’s music and seeing it live was most certainly the way to go. I was completely unprepared for the level of intensity and passion this band exuded when they played. I kept thinking to myself, “Man, these guys are like Old Crow Medicine Show on a three-week speed binge.” Their stage presence was unrelentingly spastic and their bassist, who climbed all over his upright bass like a rabid monkey having a seizure, never let up and the audience really responded. The drummer stood at the front of the stage and sang while he played, as did the rest of the band, which created a much closer, intimate feeling for the audience – although anyone standing anywhere nearby surely had the sense in the backs of their minds that they could get nailed by a flying musician at any moment.
At the end of their set, three of the members (including the monkey-man bassist) broke out trumpets and accompanied the rest of the band in their final song, running in and out of the crowd and crowd surfing while playing. Awesome. Just awesome. And oh so punk. I got the chance to shake their hands and thank them for the show after their set and they were incredibly gracious and friendly and sweaty (the universal sign of a good show). I can wholeheartedly say, “Go check this band out – you will not be disappointed.” Quote me on that.
Strung Out was next on the line-up, and due to unfortunate vehicular difficulties (according to their merch guy, they were driving their trailer on three wheels instead of four), were forced to cut their set short – down to about thirty minutes – but it was thirty solid minutes of super tight West Coast Punk and it satisfied the need. The entire band was in top-notch form, including singer Jason Cruz, with his trademark tall, dark and handsome looks causing my girlfriends knees to get weak.
Following Strung Out, were headliners The Dropkick Murphys and I have to say that it was probably a good thing Strung Out played a short set – I don’t think the crowd would have waited much longer.
As the house music died, the club went entirely black and was suddenly filled with booming, rhythmic bass drums, like Drums of War beating out a slow, steady, spine-rattling cadence. Soon the haunting strains of a female vocalist joined to create an atmosphere of mystic Celtic power. The crowd suddenly exploded in screams and applaud as the silhouettes of the band members could be seen entering the dark stage. Green light blasted from the back of the stage, revealing giant Celtic crosses and a backdrop designed to look like the façade of a cathedral and then The Dropkick Murphys began to give the crowd what they had been chanting for for twenty minutes: one hell of a show.
For the most part the band stuck to crowd-pleaser material from their latest two albums, “The Meanest of Times” and “Warrior’s Code,” which was right along with the band’s overarching goal: to show their fans the best time possible – something I find lacking in many other bands’ live performances. As an old fan of the DKM’s, I was also very happy to hear a few old stand-by classics, like, “The Fighting 69th” and of course, the greatest rendition of, “Amazing Grace” in existence.
Again, the band was on top of their game. Ken Casey’s vocals sounded exactly like the studio recordings and Al Barr’s signature sound was ripping too, although I wish his vocals would have been a bit louder, but such is always the problem at the Beaumont, it seems.
However, there was nothing to complain about when it came to Scruffy Wallace’s piping as well as the rest of the bands’ performance – freaking amazing. They played and played and played – to the crowd’s extreme pleasure – for nearly two hours and had a meet and greet contest giveaway for a fan to hang out after the show, and to quote Ken Casey, “drink our beers.”
The bottom line for the Dropkick Murphys is to show the fans a good time and that’s what they did at the Beaumont on February 28th. For that night, we were all Irish and we were all in Boston. Remember, walk together, rock together.
I give the show 5 “Guinness beers”out of 5
photos by Ryan Davis