by Amy Ecklund
Last weekend Philadelphia was graced with the Dropkick Murphys for two nights. The Saturday night show was host to an even rowdier crowd than usual- thanks Erin Express goers. The band would be proud.
The Dropkick Murphys became a known name in the music scene in the late 90’s. They’ve achieved fame and fans and it’s certainly not going to their heads. The band gives back to deserving and underfunded charities via the Claddagh Fund, founded by the band’s own Ken Casey, in both Philadelphia and their hometown of Boston. The band has been committed to helping worthy causes in the community and The Claddagh Fund supports underfunded non-profit organizations in the Philadelphia area. The fund had an information table set up at the show with raffles for everything from CDs to signed Phillies photos.
The Dropkick Murphys also agreed to pay two stage hands out of pocket to only load and unload their trucks. This is because the Theatrical Stage Employees Local 8 were in a labor dispute over wages earlier in the week. The two stage hands were able to help without entering the building or crossing picket lines. They then donated their earnings from the band to the Claddagh Fund. In reference to the donations and support the fund receives from their Philadelphia fan base, “You are not cheap pricks”, were Ken Casey’s words for the crowd. Thanks. We love having you here.
The boys from Boston brought along two openers for the night. The music started with the BarRoom Heroes who named themselves after a Dropkick Murphys’ song. The Massachusetts band got together in 2007. In 2009, the police shut down a show they were putting on- they were ten and eleven years old at the time. Any band who gets that reputation before the age of twelve is going one of two places: prison or the Billboard charts. The Dropkick Murphys heard about these kids and decided to help them on their quest towards the latter. They were followed up by Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun. They’re headlining a UK based tour later this Spring.
The Dropkick Murphys took the stage in their usual rowdy manner. They immediately brought everyone to their feet and some brave crowd surfers off of them with “The Boys are Back”. With their newest album Signed and Sealed in Blood dropping earlier this year, the band played a good balance of old and new. The crowd seemed pleased all night which is quite the feat considering the eclectic mix of their fan base. From where I was standing, the crowd’s age range spanned farther than any other show I’ve been to. There were parents chaperoning their young kids and in my case, I brought my almost 60-year-old dad along. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. With the exception of Ken Casey bashing the Flyers for a well deserved minute, the audience’s happiness prioritized throughout the show.
The band brought Evangelina Guajardo to the stage to sing “Dirty Glass” with them. Evangelina took her fate into her own hands a few years ago when she bumped into Ken Casey at his bar, McGreevy’s, in Boston, MA. She asked him to take part in an impromptu sing-a-long and he was pleasantly surprised at what he heard. Last year, she was lucky enough to bump into him again and asked him what she had to do to get on stage with the band. As she said on her blog, “So yea.. that happened”. The Celtic punk sound continued and there was certainly not a shortage in bagpipes or beer for the next hour. The band finished up the night with “Boys on the Docks” and by bravely inviting the audience to the stage for an always classy rendition of “Kiss me, I’m Shitfaced”, the band’s cover of ACDC’s “TNT”, and “Citizen CIA” off 2011’s Warrior Code album.