Right off the heels of spending St. Patricks Day in Dublin, the Dropkicks brought their Celtic Punk Invasion tour featuring The Mahones and Blood and Whiskey to the UK . Playing Glasgow on Wednesday, they headed into England to show the Manchester Academy how to get Irish.
Hailing from Dublin, Blood or Whiskey opened the show and immediately showed the 2000-strong crowd what they were about. Playing fast and angry punk rock fronted by a very intimidating Dubliner (and a drummer who looked strikingly similar to Brian May in the 1980s). They refused to slow down, powering through songs and doing an incredible job of getting the crowd amped up. One old Mancunian punk especially who didn’t stand still throughout the whole set. With constant efforts to keep the crowd engaged, they managed to get a sizeable circle pit going on, though unfortunately the banjo was extremely quiet and the accordion was completely inaudible.
Second up were The Mahones, the Canadians took to the stage and again pulled no punches. Sounding incredibly tight musically, after a Celtic intro over the PA, they came right out the gate with great energy to keep the crowd entertained. Blasting through a number of songs before stopping to talk to the crowd. During which, the accordion player Katie McConnell dedicated the next song from her and her sister who studies in Manchester. Accompanying it with the message “Don’t fuck with the ladies.” Which was anchored down by her giving it everything on stage and by the looks of it she could reduce the biggest, meanest punks to tears. This even helped spur a female moshpit for a brief time.
But after the standard “Let’s Go Murphys!” chant, it was time for the Dropkick’s to get to work. Playing Sinead O’Connor & the Chieftains version of the Irish Ballard ‘The Foggy Dew’ over the PA in front of a smoky projected Dropkicks logo. Before taking the stage with ‘Out Of Our Heads’. The energy in the room was ecstatic, with everyone together dancing, Ken shouting the song titles as a cue to start and Al’s trademark boxing jig. Crowdsurfers came thick and fast during ‘Fields of Athenry’ and even a three person tower.
In an effort to thank the fans who have been attending shows for years and want to see B-Sides and rarities played, Ken brought a dart-board onto the stage with a list of songs projected behind him. For fans to pick what would get played. 6 darts later, and one fan with a slapped face, the crowd was treated to ‘TNT’ and ‘Vengeance’. The rest of the show involved ‘Rose Tattoo’ seguing seamlessly into ‘Rocky Road To Dublin’, even more crowd surfers (impressively during the song ‘Forever’) and Al being the corner-man for 2000 people during ‘The Warriors Code’. Though it wouldn’t be a Dropkick’s show without members of the support bands joining on stage to close the set with ‘Shipping Up To Boston’. And then even less so without an encore of ‘Kiss Me I’m Shitfaced’ bringing all the ladies up before everyone else climbs up on the stage for Citizen CIA.
Rating: 7 Slices out of 8