Dropkick Murphys Freakin' Own the Month of March
Full disclosure: I should say right off the bat that I’m a big Dropkick Murphys fan, like so many Bostonians and hooligans worldwide, so much so that I’ve often mentioned them here and managed to finagle this magazine to let me interview lead man Ken Casey. Not only does their music kick royal arse, but they’re a great story of hardworking local guys who play all over the globe and raise lots of money for charity here at home. And yet, with every new year there are groans whenever I suggest writing about them yet again, and even a part of me wearily wonders how this band is going to try this year to reinvigorate their usual activity around St. Patrick’s Day.
Indeed, it makes sense that this crew of (mostly) Irish guys take this celebration to heart, which is why — no matter where they are — they always come back to Boston to celebrate the day with a series of raucous, sold-out shows. While everyone touts Red Sox Opening Day, the July 4th Pops, and the Marathon as quintessential annual events, good ol’ DKM is chugging along and adding themselves to the tradition. The challenge with tradition, though, is how to make it a little bit fresh each year, and Ken Casey and the boys are no exception.
Take last week’s announcement that they’re adding more Boston shows to their St. Paddy’s Day extravaganza. Now they’re playing three nights at the House of Blues, from March 14-16, and another at Brighton Music Hall on March 18. And that’s not even counting the peripheral gigs at Mohegan Sun on March 10, or the two shows on Saturday, March 17, at UMass Lowell’s Tsongas Center (one’s a matinee — bring the kids!).
DKM haters may moan, “But these guys never go away!” And yet, if you look at their full tour schedule, you’ll see that they’ve been away a lot. Before these shows, they will have schlepped all over Europe from Zagreb and Turin to Paris and Oslo. They will also have hit North America from Toronto to Dallas, New Orleans to Nashville. To get themselves home after all this in order to satiate their original, most rabid fan base is something that any Bostonian who values loyalty should appreciate.
But wait, there’s more. Dropkick Murphys are issuing a super-deluxe version of last year’s Going Out in Style! Okay, so it seems easy to groan and whinge about bands reissuing these things to milk more cash out of an aging cow, and admittedly I’m not won over by the promise of the unawaited “the complete story of Cornelius Larkin,” the high literary concept behind the record that I never bothered to follow. Instead, I’d rather set aside my lunch money because of the bonus disc, Live from Fenway, which documents last September’s shows at the ballpark, and includes a download of the filmed concerts. It comes out March 13.
Of course, if you’re not a fan, all of this means absolutely nothing to you, but it should. Back in 2010 when I interviewed Casey, the band had been on a quasi-hiatus and hadn’t released an album in three years. They were entering their forties and raising families, and certainly they had plenty of laurels to rest on for them to play only the St. Paddy’s Shows and only the hits. Instead, they strapped their boots back on, recorded a new album, and made themselves ambassadors of our fair city yet another year. So, it’s official: The Dropkick Murphys own the month of March, and they’ve earned it.