Dropkick Murphys - @ O2 Academy Brixton, London (27/01/2017)
|Dropkick Murphys @ O2 Academy Brixton|
The currently half full venue greet Skinny Lister's Lorna Thomas to the stage who is closely followed by the rest of the band who make up the 6 piece London folk group. Playing a great mix of their tracks including the big crowd pleaser that is 'Trouble In Oxford Street' and 'John Kanaka' which has the crowd united in a little singalong the less than typical folk group have the venue with their arms in the air and feet off the ground. With a promise of a tour in April/May and the flagon successfully passed around Skinny Lister exit the stage leaving fans beaming from ear to ear.
The poster child of the 80’s American hardcore scene that is Jack ‘Choke’ Kelly now stands at the front of the stage and appears to tower over at least the first 10 rows of the now packed to capacity gathering. Slapshot are pumped from the first chord being struck with Kelly literally winding his arm to start the show. Despite having a few years on the clock Kelly is still as frantic and fuelled by rebellion as he was back in the day. Playing through an impressive history of fast, blistering and downright heavy tracks including the likes of 'I’ve Had Enough', 'Kill It With Fire', and '16 Valve Hate' sends the academy into a frenzy. There are some clear diehard fans scattered through the mass of people who are clearly reliving their glory years along with the band, and after a face melting set it's understandable as to why.
The arena is full of a mass of fans all chanting in unison “DROPKICKS, DROPKICKS” as the stage is cloaked by a black curtain. A handful of green light shine through the sheer fabric as a long intro of Irish pipes and drums that still is not loud enough to dampen the roar from the crowd, as the curtain drops, the Massachusetts punks burst straight in to 'The Lonesome Boatman'. Frontman Al Barr stands at the head of the stage with the crowd chanting back at him it’s very clear to see that although Skinny Lister and Slapshot were not to be over looked, THIS is why the 4,900 people have packed out the iconic Brixton venue. The guys take a moment to pay a special tribute to Micky Fitz who was a close friend to Dropkick Murphys and sadly lost his fight with cancer late last year. The boys deliver an absolute banger of a set list with favourites 'The State Of Massachusetts', 'Going Out In Style' and of course 'I’m Shipping Up to Boston'.
Sadly, the night is slowly drawing to a close but not before the band invite a mob of female devotees to the stage for 'Kiss Me'. This causes what seems like every woman in the crowd to go into “rage mode” and leaping the barrier, despite not being handpicked by one of the Murphys lads, one girl is caught mid-flight as she leaps like superwoman over the metal railing and is quickly escorted out of the pit with tears in her eyes and shattered hopes of 5 minutes of fame. As the band close out with 'Until The Next Time' and shower the venue with white and green confetti it's now the lads turn to fight their way to the stage and close the show singing along with the legends that are Dropkick Murphys! In their own words “We all had a good time and we’re sad to see it end.”
Words and Photos of Anthony Hunt Photography