For a moment last night I had my doubts about that (Jethro Tull) wisdom, at least insofar as fairly hardcore punk is concerned. After class my eldest and I headed a couple of miles cross town to The Warehouse to see the Dropkick Murphys. The crowd was, uhm, interesting. The Rancid/Rise Against crowd was mainly awkward kids. Social D, aging X-ers. Everclear, upscale fuddy duddies. Murphys: mainly folks in their 20s, very high testosterone levels, and higher alcohol and controlled substance levels. Haven’t seen that many wasted people in a very long time. Maybe ever. But then I’ve lived a pretty boring life.
There was a huge amount of pent up energy that was released in a frenetic explosion at the first chords from the Murphys. A good part of the people in the crowd near us (about halfway to the stage) immediately began pumping both arms alternately in the air at high speed. They looked like those punching nun puppets. Then the bodies started flying as several rather chunky guys began hurling themselves to-and-fro, looking to get pinballed by those around them.
Then the casualties started to stream out. One girl came from near the stage with her nose pointed in a direction that God didn’t intend. Then a guy with a gushing cut over his left eye.
A good time was had by all!
One guy next to me was way out of control, lurching wildly from side to side. He banged into me once. The second time I fended him off with a forearm to the left kidney. The third time he came harder, and almost trampled Renee, so I sent him semi-sprawling with a two handed push. The next time, I thought it was going to get ugly because he came at me squared up, with both arms in the air. But all he did was give me an I-love-you-man hug, and then shouted in my face: “Murhpys! Yeeeeaaaaahhhhhhhhh!” before his friends sort of dragged him away. After catching his breath full force in the face, I don’t think I could pass a drug test today
After the first several songs and the associated release of energy, the crowd settled into a less excited state. It was still rocking, but not frenetically crazed.
As for the Murphys, they were all that I expected. Fast, loud, entertaining. (Heh. “Wild Rover” just came on my Pandora.) Interesting mix of instruments. Bagpipes, of course, but also banjo, mandolin, and accordion. Not a lot of talk, just song piled on song, almost all fast. The stage set was attractive, with several Celtic crosses on the speakers. The backdrop for most of the show was a Celtic Church Gothic scene. Later there was the obligatory punk rock band smiling skull (with an eyepatch), and lastly a dawn skyscape.
All in all, very much worth it, despite my initial reservations. One weird thing. Being there you got the impression that the show was very spontaneous and unscripted, but it started precisely at 10:30 and ended exactly at midnite. Exactly. So exactly, it couldn’t have been an accident; instead, a very tight, well-rehearsed, 90 minute set. I wondered if the two huge tour bused parked outside were about to turn into pumpkins or something.
Bottom line? I can’t reject the Tull hypothesis. Not yet anyway; the Streetwise Professor lives. So bring on the next show!