Matthew Keever" />
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Friday, September 29, 2023


Celtic punk pirates please Houstonians

Lead singer Ken Casey and the rest of the Dropkick Murphys took Houston’s Warehouse Live by storm with Wednesday’s show. | Wikimedia Commons

The Dropkick Murphys have always been known for supporting the average American, especially the working class. All the members have claimed to be Democrats so, in the great state of Texas, most would assume that the band wouldn’t have much of a following.

But they would be wrong.

Last Wednesday, the Murphys, Strung Out and Larry & His Flask rocked a sold-out Warehouse Live.

Larry and His Flask opened, and the crowd loved it. At the beginning of the band’s set list, not too many people were paying attention. Halfway through its first song, however, a few dozen people had crowded the stage.

The cello player was especially animated, throwing his instrument around the stage and jumping to the beat. And, on a side note, drummers who don’t sit down at any point during the performance are awesome, particularly when their drumming is so impressive.

Larry also covered “Ferris Wheel” by Paul Jones, a musician from Austin; the band reminded the crowd that Texas music rocks.

Strung Out took the stage next. A better-known band than Larry, Strung Out pulled more fans toward the stage. By the band’s third song, I had already taken a prepubescent girl’s head to the face — an occupational hazard when reviewing concerts is always the mosh pit — and, for the next few songs, the young lady held her nose as if it was broken. But she stayed her ground; what a trooper.

A 6-foot (6-3 if you include her Mohawk) girl was picking up fallen moshers, serving as a friendly remind that those in the pit weren’t looking to hurt each other. They were just having a good time. The giant mosh pit in front of me held most of my attention, but to my right, a furious mini-cyclone of Asian, female, teenage fury was brewing. Who would have thought?

At 10:06, the crowd began to chant. “Let’s go, Dropkick… let’s go Murphy!” I haven’t seen that many kilts in one place since high school, when I was in a bagpipe band.

At 10:32 p.m., after half an hour of chanting, the Dropkick Murphys finally appeared. The following mosh pit was huge. I was pushed back at least 25 feet back from where I was standing at the beginning of the show.

Possibly the largest mosh pit I have ever seen continued brewing. I’ve seen some enormous pits, but this was just ridiculous. The band rocked the crowd for more than an hour as fans continued their frenzied jumping and screaming.

The Murphys’ lead vocalist Al Barr’s voice was somewhat overwhelmed by the loud instruments and screaming fans, but the lyrics were easy to discern as fans sung and screamed along. Behind the band, images of stained glass windows with a tint of green light proved the Murphys haven’t forgotten where they’ve come from: Boston.

The musicians, who were only playing in friends’ basements a decade ago, have made themselves prominent figures in their genre by constantly touring, meeting fans and connecting with their followers. They are a true testimony that, in the age of sell-outs, true music can still shine.

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