Saturday, March 1, 2014

February 23, 2014 Do or Die with The Dropkick Murphys at the Riviera (Concert #6)

Another bitterly cold night in Chicago but I am heading to the city for a Sunday night concert with one of my favorite bands, The Dropkick Murphys. I first saw these guys about fifteen years ago when they were the opening act for another Boston band, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. I've lost count of how many times I've seen them in concert but it is always a good time. 

First we had tasty Italian dinner at Osteria Via Stato. Then we took the Red Line up to Lawrence Avenue.

Unfortunately we missed Skinny Lister because we got there at 7pm which was the announced show time but they were just finishing their set. Oh well. So while Lucero set up, the house lights were on at The Riviera. I really enjoy seeing shows here so don't take this the wrong way...I say this as a compliment...the Riv is a glorious shithole. The perfect place to see the Dropkick Murphys.
I am sure it was a beautiful place when it was built in 1917. But nowadays it is a great place for a rock and roll show...dirty, grimy and damaged in a beautiful way.

Lucero is a Nashville band that combines country, punk, blues and rock in what lead singer Ben Nichols describes as bohemian tradition. I'll agree with him. They band sounded great. It took a while for me to get used to Ben's deep raspy voice but he won me over the more songs they played. He has a Springsteen songwriting style with characters that aren't perfect and stories that don't always end well. Basically real life stories...of course I enjoyed hearing the melodic truth being sung to me. This is why I hate missing opening acts, you never know when a band will impress you enough to become a new favorite.

So the DKM hit the stage with a new video screen and tons of great images to the Chieftains song "A Foggy Dew".

Then they surprised everybody by ripping through every song on their first album, Do or Die.
It was complete bedlam with a huge mosh pit right in front of us at center stage. It was during the nonstop early Dropkicks punk songs barrage that I disappointed myself. I stood there watching the mosh pit but did not jump in...damn it looked like fun...I thought to myself, "C'mon you pussy. The album is called Do or Die. What's it gonna be?"...I almost jumped in several times but couldn't pull the trigger...since I couldn't do, I guess I was a sad moment for me. Damn this being old sucks way more than I thought it would. By the time they got to "Barroom Hero" I was pogoing and singing along and enjoying the show again.

Since the last song on Do or Die is traditionally the song that the band invites all the male fans on stage they decided to play "Skinhead on the MBTA" as the last song of the first set. They also played "Takin Care of Business" mixed with "American Band" & "Blitzkrieg Bop". 

Then they cleared the stage and immediately started the second set which included their hit songs. The energy never left the room. I am a firm believer that everyone should attend a punk show at least once in your life. The mayhem mixed with the music always puts a smile on my face. Tonight was no exception, I jumped around and sang all night did everyone around me...and every so often I looked into the mosh pit and was glad to see those kids having a great time. Sure I complain about being old but being a kid nowadays can't be easy either. I'm glad punk music still means something to them. By the time the band invited the ladies on the stage for "End of the Night", we were over 90 minutes into a full on musical assault that seemed to satisfy most of the crowd including me. Ken Casey even teased the crowd about our baseball teams, his Red Sox won the World Series...then he congratulated Chicago for the Blackhawks beating his Bruins for the Stanley Cup...and he even held up a fans Hawks jersey during the show.
With a stage full of females dancing and singing to end the show...the band members had to jump up on the amps to play their instruments. This was a great show by a band that has matured without getting old. On the subway platform we talked music with a group of kids as we huddled under the heat lamps waiting for the steal a phrase from The Who...the kids are alright. 
Thanks to Patty for being the first person to go to a show with me this year. Here we are on our way home after a fun night out. Hey Patty, "Let's stop for a cold one on the way home"....

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