IIIIIIrrrriish eyyyyes arrre snarlin' ... er, smilin'! Shit, The Spin's Irish eyes are still drunk from Wednesday night's Dropkick Murphys show at Marathon Music Works. Drunk on joy and happiness. And Yuengling tallboys. And our ears are still ringing, even though we thought we'd killed off all those frequencies years ago. But yeah, that was one "wicked pissah" show, and The Spin went in with unreasonably high expectations. The last time we saw the Dropkicks in a club setting we got kicked out for barfing on their monitors, and then we were snuck back in by drummer Matt Kelly — still the "new guy" at the time — because he thought it was funny, and he felt bad that we were standing shirtless outside in mid-winter Massachusetts. Like we said, this show had a lot to live up to. And it did.
The Spin caught the last few songs from Frank Turner because, well, basically we haven't been to Marathon enough yet to know where all the tasty free parking is, and we ended up parking halfway to Capital Hill. Don't worry, Frank Turner fans: We felt Grandma O'Spin bitch-slap us from beyond the grave for missing what was obviously a rowdy, boisterous set of punk folk. (Grandma O'Spin was a firm believer that folk was the perfect soundtrack for bare-knuckle boxing and probably coulda licked any bastard in the room that night, God bless her.) But we did catch enough of Frank Turner's set to know that most of our hometown could learn a thing or two from his acoustic anthems. Seriously, that dude has an incredible energy and knows his way around a drunken singalong — you could hear the crowd chanting along from down the block.
The Dropkicks hadn't even started their set before for the punk-rock shenanigans were kicked into high gear, and a dude was climbing the rafters and getting a stage dive in, much to the chagrin of the security guards. But hey, who can blame him? This was the Murphys' first Nashville performance in their 16-year career, and the excitement was hard to contain. Hell, The Spin even uncrossed our arms and put away our cell phone in anticipation! It was crazy! And the second the band took the stage, BAM! The entire sold-out crowd in that massive — and frankly, pretty awesome — room just fucking exploded. From the kids in the pit up front to the folks in the back, fists were pumped and voices raised in a remarkable show of unity that doesn't happen too often 'round these parts, especially on that scale. We're gonna go out on a limb and guess that the Mumford & Sons show wasn't nearly as nuts.
And holy fucking shit did the band give their all in response, plowing through recent-vintage hits like “Going Out in Style,” “Hang 'Em High” and “State of Massachusetts” — at least that's what we think it says. Our notes are covered in beer, 'cuz, duh, who the fuck takes notes at a punk-rock show? It was a dumb idea. And we're not going to lie, when they busted into “Sunday Hardcore Matinee” we got a little misty-eyed — it's our entire wayward youth summed up in three minutes, a pitch-perfect summation of everything that made us who we are today. And obviously, these days we're some sappy old SOBs, but that's OK — just don't tell the folks at Maximum Rock N Roll. But y'know, current hits and late-period rockers are great, but we're old-school Dropkicks fans, and we really wanted the deep cuts from way back.
And just as we began shouting, “Hey, play some songs from singles that nobody else here owns,” lead singer Al Barr said something along the lines of “We've never been here before, so we're gonna change up the set list and bring out some oldies. This one's from our first album Do or Die.” And that's when we shit our pants. Figuratively speaking, of course. “Barroom Heros,” “Boys on the Docks” and “Road of the Righteous”! It was almost like they let The Spin put together the set list! And we almost — almost — ran straight into the pit until we realized that we an't 16 and a bit of slam dancing would probably lay us out for a week. But it was awesome — more awesome than we could have asked for — and they capped it off with an encore featuring the classic Kingston Trio perversion “Skinhead on the MBTA,” a riotous cover of AC/DC's “Dirty Deeds” and “Kiss Me I'm Shitfaced,” complete with a stage full of ladies pulled from the crowd. We hope this hangover wears off in time for the actual St. Patty's Day, 'cuz we can't drink like we used to.