LIVE: Dropkick Murphys – OVO Hydro, Glasgow, 17/01/2023

LIVE: Dropkick Murphys – OVO Hydro, Glasgow, 17/01/2023

“Would you like a fisherman’s friend?” says a friendly gig-goer. Blimey, I didn’t think anyone ate those any more, not even my Mum and she’s from Yorkshire, so QED hard as nails. Still, it’s a sign of the camaraderie at the Dropkick Murphys‘ return to Glasgow for the first time in a couple of albums (sic) that gig goers are offering fellow fans something to soothe those voices that are hoarse from singing along.

I must confess that I’ve lost count of how many times this gig has been rescheduled, but it was definitely worth waiting for. It was a cold night in Glasgow – one where you might ponder the balance of something to keep you warm on your way there without being saddled with something that was going to lead to you boiling to death once the band came on.

Coming onstage to the distinctive sounds of Sinead O’Connor and the Chieftains singing ‘Foggy Dew‘ this was an energetic gig that would almost have had me heading to the moshpit, were it not for my advancing years (and having sworn off it, after a particularly energetic Cypress Hill set circa 2000). As it was, it was just sheer joy to hear them tearing into The Fureys‘ ‘The Lonesome Boatman‘ and their own ‘The Boys Are Back.’ And we were off…

Lots could be written about the fiery combination of punk and Irish folk music over the last few decades, but what’s particularly interesting about Dropkick Murphys and their latest album This Machine Still Kills Fascists is that while still sounding like them, there’s much more of a country and acoustic feel. The album title is a reference to Woody Guthrie (who used to write ‘This Machine Kills Fascists‘ on his guitars) and the album is made up of Guthrie’s songs that his daughter Nora thought the band might like to record. So while there’s a theme to the album, it fits in seamlessly with the band’s older output. So while there’s Murphys’ classics like ‘Barroom Hero‘ there’s also excellent tracks ‘Two 6s Upside Down‘ and ‘Cadillac Cadillac‘ that the band totally make their own.

And sure, there’s songs that it might have been great if they had played – the delightfully filthy ‘Spicy McHaggis Jig‘ , for example, but there’s so much to dance to and singalong to, that it’s a likelihood this writer and many others will be off to see them again. ‘Kiss Me I’m Shitfaced‘ might cause prudes to tut disapprovingly but it’s a great anthem. Hell, the band can take a song like Ewan MacColl’s ‘Dirty Old Town‘ and you’re not sure if they’re still singing about MacColl’s Salford, their spiritual home of Dublin, or even their hometown of Boston, Massachusetts. It doesn’t matter, it may be a few weeks past New Year, and it’s a school night, but it truly doesn’t matter.

…and as we excited the venue into a frosty night, with the sound of Frank Sinatra singing ‘My Way‘, our hearts and ears were aglow. Whilst I can’t agree with one gig-goer who said that they wouldn’t put their music on at home, I certainly would but live they are on a whole other level. It had been something to look forward to in the blue days after new year, and it did not disappoint.

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