Dropkick Murphys / H2O / Civet - live in Chicago (Cover Artwork)

Dropkick Murphys / H2O / Civet

live in Chicago (2009)

live show

Thanks to the gracious folks with Dropkick Murphys, I was able to secure a pass to see said band. The last time I saw them was in 2007, right before their last album was released. It's safe to say that I prefer Rams Head to Congress any day, but their performance last night was absolutely amazing.

The first band up that night was Civet, an all-female band who likes to be angry and yelly. I could take them or leave them and I decided to leave them. I ended up talking with the people at the Goethe charity table for the duration of their set.

After their brief set, I met up with Jess and her sister and we went to the floor to watch H2O. As much as I wish I could like this band more, they have always and continue to come off as a second-rate Bouncing Souls. Their set that night had a lot of energy and the band was all over the stage. I was actually able to really like some of their new songs, but there was just something missing. Maybe it was because I didn't really come for them or because I was pretty disappointed with them when I saw them with Rancid back in '06, but their set just didn't really do it for me. It's never really fun to watch an opening band you really have no desire to see, especially when the headliners are one of your favorite live acts.

Dropkick began their set the same way they did the last time I saw them -- the house lights went down and a traditional Celtic piece played over the PA. As it came to a close, the curtains came down revealing this beautiful backdrop and candles glowing dimly across the drum kit. I was a little worried only that I was hoping beyond hope they weren't just going to repeat their set list from last time. Much to my surprise, they opened with "Your Spirit's Alive." It was pretty difficult to keep up with the band as they were all over the place. It doesn't help that my camera is a piece of shit as it is, but it was only that much more difficult to get good shots of these guys. I ended up getting over 100 shots before security pushed us out, but it didn't feel like enough time.

After my dismissal, I retreated back by the sound station. It's my opinion that is the best area to be as far as being able to actually hear and see well. I got back in time to see their little group of dancers come out for "Captain Kelley's Kitchen." They aren't necessarily the most talented bunch, but they do add an element of fun to the song (not that it really needs it). The night continued on with surprise song after surprise song. The singer from Civet actually proved herself useful on the tour as she came out and performed "The Dirty Glass," and quite well if I might add. "The Spicy McHaggis Jig," "The Worker's Song," "Fields of Athenry," "Bastards on Parade" and "The Gauntlet" were some of the more pleasant surprises. They actually had a pretty diverse choosing from their library, but a good focus was from Sing Loud and on. The obligatory songs from Do or Die were played: "Boys on the Docks," "Barroom Hero" and "Skinhead on the MBTA."

Since their last album was released two years ago, I was hoping to hear more new material, but all we got was a song they wrote but never officially released: "The Chosen Few." This was an upbeat little acoustic number with a nice dance-ability to it. During their encore, what I thought was a new song actually ended up being a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Badlands." It was funny when they started playing this because the crowd simply stopped. No one had any idea what they were listening to. However, many kept dancing because they did an awesome rendition. This seems to be a bit of a current trend, covering the Boss.

They wrapped up their set with their usual closing songs. As usual, all the ladies rushed the stage for "Kiss Me, I'm Shitfaced." When "Skinhead" was played, all the skinheads and the lot took to the stage. It was funny to see Al Barr pushing away some kid who tried to take his mic and sing with him. I was surprised that with all the kids on the stage, the proceeded to close their encore with "Alcohol." That seems to be a staple to their set, but for some reason that night it seemed a little forced. Maybe it was just me, but it would have been better to just stop after "Skinhead."

There were a few songs I was a bit miffed I didn't get to hear. "Flannigan's Ball" is one of the best new songs of theirs and is all kinds of fun to see live, but alas, not that night. I would absolutely love to hear either "The Torch," "A Few Good Men" or "The Good Rats," but I won't be holding my breath. Not surprisingly, when "Shipping Up to Boston" began, the crowd gave the loudest response. I can't hate on a band's success, but I really wish they weren't involved with that despicable piece of "cinema," "The Departed." I imagine 75% or more of the people who got into the Dropkick Murphys after that movie came out have no idea that Woodie Guthrie wrote that song. Ah well, I'm not going to let a bunch of douche bag fans ruin what still remains one of my all-time favorite bands and one of the greatest live shows still out there.


Set list:

  1. Your Spirit's Alive
  2. Captain Kelley's Kitchen
  3. Warrior's Code
  4. Citizen CIA
  5. The State of Massachusetts
  6. Time to Go
  7. Sunshine Highway
  8. The Gauntlet
  9. Bastards on Parade
  10. 10 Years of Service
  11. Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye
  12. The Chosen Few
  13. Famous for Nothing
  14. Caps and Bottles
  15. Wicked Sensitive Crew
  16. Fields of Athenry
  17. Pipebomb on Landsown
  18. Spicy McHaggis Jig
  19. The Dirty Glass
  20. Forever
  21. The Worker's Song
  22. Never Forget
  23. Barroom Hero
  24. Kiss Me, I'm Shitfaced
  25. Encore:
  26. Boys on the Docks
  27. Shipping Up to Boston
  28. Badlands
  29. Skinhead on the MBTA
  30. Alcohol