Thursday night, November 15th the Dropkick Murphys played at Kansas City’s Uptown Theater as part of their 2012 fall tour in support of CD release Going Out In Style. The concert, including opening acts, was fueled by fiery riffs, punk rock energy, and folk spirit in fine Irish-American style. Accordions, bagpipes, banjos, and ear-splitting guitars raucously consumed the building, even overflowing into the streets outside the Uptown doors.
The Mahones kicked off the night with an enthusiastic and energetic Canadian-Irish punk rock sound. The five-piece band started with a rousing original “Kiss My Irish Ass”. Katie ‘Kaboom!’ McConnell stole the stage as the hottest accordion player ever. While able to engage the audience in a few yells and fist pumps, as a whole, The Mahones never quite managed to capture their full attention. This was the time when most of the crowd was able to knock a few adult beverages down, smoke their cigarettes, or converse in the hallways. Despite the lack of crowd interaction, The Mahones were able to limber up the theatre and set the mood for a Celtic punk rock infused evening.
The second act to hit the stage was Teenage Bottlerocket, a punk quartet hailing from Wyoming. These loud and boisterous boys were able to pump things up a notch, even bringing out cheers from the crowd by raising a bright pink pirate flag before entering the stage. The cheers died down, and after a few moments of complete silence the first noise to leave frontman Ray Carlisle’s mouth was a deafening scream. Although their music was too loud over the PA system, Teenage Bottlerocket managed to conjure up several mosh pits and crowd surfers with their head-rattling rhythm. The random appearance of a skeleton-masked backup dancer who walked out homemade signs such as POGO PARTY and HEAD BANGER was an unexpected, but entertaining addition to the line-up. Teenage Bottlerocket ended their performance with a clever cock and pull sound on the bass along with such actions played out by Carlisle on his guitar.
The sizeable crowd was now sufficiently amped as the stage was set. After a short intermission, The Chieftains and Sinead O’Connor’s voice flooded the venue with the melodious rendition of “The Foggy Dew”. Punk lovers started to vie for close proximity to the stage, and anyone who was sitting quickly stood to prepare for the anxiously awaited headliner. Finally the Dropkick Murphys filled the blackness of the stage to ear-splitting applause and screams. They came out of the gate full throttle setting the tone for what was to come with “The Boys Are Back”, and didn’t hold back for one moment from then on. Spotlights onstage flooded the entire audience with light, and a black backdrop was pulled away to reveal spectacular blacklight-responsive stylized cathedral windows.
Enthusiasm grew with each number performed by this Boston septet. High points of the concert included Jeff DaRosa’s banjo solo during the end of “The State of Massachusetts” and Al Barr jumping into the pit during “Which Side Are You On”. The audience lost all control after the opening notes for the band’s biggest hit, “I’m Shipping Up To Boston”. As Barr delivered this razor-edged song, punk lovers screamed every word right back at the band. Along with popular older hits like “Sunshine Highway” and “Caps and Bottles”, the Dropkick Murphys played many newer songs including “Rose Tattoo”, “The Irish Rove”, and surprisingly a Christmas-themed song entitled “’Tis the Season”. The night ended in flair, with most concert goers stumbling drunk or half deaf from the extremely loud music. The Murphys played a solid show, the instruments were top-notch, and the sound was loud and proud. This was a concert that made attendees proud of their Irish roots or wishing they had some. Their upcoming album, Signed and Sealed In Blood, will be released in January.
photos – Jeff Rumans
words – Megan Stutzman