To most of you, the Dropkick Murphy's are no strangers. For the rest of you, I'll describe. They are a band of 7 Boston punk rockers. They sing songs about drinking, being down and out, the working class American, Unions, and heartache with an Irish twist. To me they are a great band. They are very talanted musicians and at the same time they have provoking lyrics and great song structure. I have seen them live and I can tell you there is reason to the ryhme, they put on an amazing show. For those of you who cannot vouch for that fact, this live album will seal the envelope. It was recorded in the Avalon Ballroom(Boston) during St. Patrick's Day weekend (March 15th, 16th, and 17th). The line up was Al Barr (lead vocals), Ken Casey(bass and backing/lead vocals), Matt Kelly (drums), James Lynch (guitar), Mark Orrell (guitar and accordian), Ryan Foltz (mandolin and whistles), and Spicey McHaggis (bagpipes). Before I get into this album, I will just have you know that it is a beautiful collection of music.
The album starts out with a great drum and bagpipe introduction and then quickly builds into "For Boston"(their opening track on Sing Loud, Sing Proud"). The songs picked for this show were great. All the best, intricate, catchy, and memorbale songs from their albums find their way into these live sets. 26 songs! I was personally happy to hear the live versions of my favorite Dropkick songs. Boys on the docks, a unifying working class song. the Spicey McHaggis Jig; a song telling of the bagpipe player's sexscapades with overwight women. This song is great because if you have ever seen them live you know they call all the girls on stage to dance with Spicy. They also included the tribute to beer "Good Rats". There is a incredible version of my very favorite Dropkick song "Curse of a Fallen Soul." It is a song about loosing a friend, who was headed for death the whole time, but was never encouraged to live any better. It starts out slow in a sing-a-long pub section and then blasts into some passionate punk rock. The set list is classic and perfect for this record. I personally even like these songs better live. Listen you may just agree. There is even appearances from the Boston Gaelic Colomn Pipes and Drums, the Harney School of Dance Step Dancers, and even a marriage purposal.
The sound quality on this is not amazing. The guitars and basses get muddled sometimes. On occasion Al's vocals cut off and the audience gets a little too loud. BUT THIS IS A LIVE PUNK RECORD!! It is not supposed to sound crystal clear. It is, however, clear enough to be able to hear the band's talent, and is in no way to noisey to be inaudible. So the sound quality is good but not perfect. Personally the imperfections make this recording even more personal and better. A lot of you out there are really into this poppy clean-cut, precise punk music. You will probably mistake the unamazing sound quality for bad musician quality. You should not do that. All in all the sound quality really is not close to being "bad", in my book.
So if you have never heard the Dropkick Murphys, this would be the album to buy first. It is listening to the Murphy's the way they were meant to be heard. In a pub, drunk on Saint Patty's day with belligerant fans singing along to great Irish punk anthems. All their best songs are on here. You will get a feel for the bands best songwriting and their ethics. If you are already a huge fan you should get this anyways. It is just such a great live record, and I can't think of a better way to get that point across. Everybody should own this! Even if you hate Dropkick, this album may just change your mind! Their passions, talent, and love come through with flying colors. I think this will be a considered a classic one day!
Best Song: Curse of a Fallen Soul Rating: 92%
Review by: Eric Anderson
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