Dropkick Murphys

Copenhell - 2016

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Dropkick Murphys was a new experience for me. Not in the sense that I didn’t know the band, but in the sense that I haven’t really listened all that much to them, and I have never seen them live before.
Even so, I’ve always had a nagging feeling that I probably would like them, a lot even, if I just gave them the time.
Well, here was the time, and I was about to experience Dropkick Murphys for full sails at Copenhell!

“Thanks for the invite, it’s good to be back!”
- Ken Casey (bas/vocals)

Dropkick Murphys opened the Helvíti stage on the first day of the festival, and they did so to an excellent weather and a large crowd that was crowding up around the catwalk sticking out from the stage.
Since we were still early in the day, everyone had had enough beer to be jolly and ready to party, but not so much as to stagger numbly as your local bums at the end of St. Paddy’s Day – i.e. the best time for these Irish Americans punkers to hit the stage. And so they did, to the very fitting song The Boys Are Back.
Visibly we had the guitars going, the bass was pumping, the drums laying down the beat, and a mandolin and bagpipes added flavour. Pretty darn cool, ey? Well, I guess it would have been, had it not been for one thing…
Audibly, we had one constant, unanimous flow of undecipherable noise. Yep, the sound for Dropkick Murphys was completely messed up, and sadly destroyed the feeling for the music that was, especially for me who was new to them, very much needed for enjoying the show. Fair enough, I could see the mass of the crowd, in the front at least, seemed to have a great time. Maybe they were more experienced in recognising what was going on. God knows, the sound quality hasn’t always been in the band’s favour on their albums either.

On a more positive note, the band was every bit as energetic as I could have hoped and imagined – bassist and occasional vocalist Ken Casey was the star of the show, and also the one acting the most as a frontman, and talking to the audience. The rest of the band were quite a force to be reckoned with as well however, never standing still for any extended amount of time, and throwing poses as often as they could. Vocalist Al Barr spent most of his time out on the catwalk, and when he wasn’t singing, he did his best riling up the audience, pointing his mic to them and making them raise their arms for the band.
And he was quite successful I might add – Dropkick Murphys did manage to create a party at the Helvíti stage, and a good one by the looks of it.
It just wasn’t a party I was invited to, and with the lack of knowledge of their songs, and the terrible sound they were cursed with, I just couldn’t keep my interest up through the entire show. Maybe I’ll have more luck finding the pot of gold at the end of this rainbow at another time; this time, the rainbow faded much too quickly.

Setlist (incomplete):

The Boys Are Back
Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya
Going Out In Style
I’m Shipping Up To Boston

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