Starting off the evening with singer/songwriter Jesse Ahern from Boston Massachusetts and Australian Punk-Folk band The Rumjacks, they both deliver tight sets and suitably get the crowd warmed up with stand out track ‘An Irish Pub Song’ from The Rumjacks, ensuring the whole audience are singing and clapping.
Next up is Pennywise who incidentally weren’t originally meant to be supporting The Dropkick Murphys and stepped in after The Interrupters had to pull out (who have gone on to their own tour making them unavailable to support TDM). The Californian punk band are known for their politically motivated music and open up with 1997 track ‘Fight Til U Die’ whereupon the crowd surfing begins in earnest. There are many references to fuck the establishment, fuck the rules and fuck the laws most notably during ‘Society’ and ‘Live While You Can’ but the political references are interspersed with a medley featuring songs by The Ramones, Bad Religion and Minor Threat and go on to end on a more uplifting note with the final song of the set ‘Bro Hymn’ dedicated to a former OG bass member who passed away.
With the sold out crowd suitably excited, the time has come for The Dropkick Murphys to take to the stage. Having formed in 1996, original member Ken Casey (Vocals/Bass) is joined by Matt Kelly (Drums), James Lynch (Rhythm Guitar), Tim Brennan (Lead Guitar), Jeff DaRosa (Banjo) and touring members Kevin Rheault (Bass) and Campbell Webster (Bagpipes). With the tour having being postponed multiple times, the band finally return to the UK but with a slight difference in line-up with other lead vocalist, Al Barr, on hiatus due to family issues. The band are touring for their newest album and as the chants of ‘Let’s Go Murphys’ echo out around the O2 Victoria Warehouse, the stage setup changes and religious imagery with statues, skulls and candles are put in place.
The Dropkick Murphys are a band that use various instruments to create their Celtic influenced music from penny whistles and bagpipes through to accordions and with a 24 song setlist mainly from the last two albums (2021 – ‘Turn Up That Dial’ and 2022 ‘This Machine Still Kills Fascists’) it’s certain these will be used this evening. As the sounds of ‘Foggy Dew’ by Sinead O’Connor and the Chieftains is played, the band enter stage and open the set with a cover of ‘The Loansome Boatman’ by the Fureys as Ken immediately stands on the central platform to sing to the enraptured audience on the barrier and fist bump fans.
Similar to their previous support Pennywise, Dropkick Murphys also follow in playing politically motivated songs to the crowd with a key moment in the set being during ‘All You Fonies’, when the words are instead changed to ‘All You Tories’ and the band dedicate this song to the passionate strikers on the picket lines.
During the set, the band are joined by The Rumjacks vocalist Mike Rivkees for ‘Worker’s Song’ and Jesse Ahern lending vocal support during ‘Barroom Hero’, with country musician Jaime Wyatt joining the band for both ‘Never Git Drunk No More’ and ‘The Dirty Glass’.
The band end the set with a footstomping rendition of their most popular track ‘I’m Shipping Up To Boston’ before returning for the encore ending with the rousing ‘Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced’. The line-up tonight is one where three of the acts have toured together several times and it shows, as it is a well blended bunch of artists with their own distinctive sound yet staying within a similar sound to compliment each other.
The Lonesome Boatman (Cover)
The Boys Are Back
Good as Gold
Two 6’s Upside Down
All You Fonies
Turn Up That Dial
The Chosen Few
The State of Massachusetts
Queen of Suffolk County
Where Trouble Is At
Going Out in Style
Worker’s Song (With Mike Rivkees on vocals)
Mick Jones Nicked My Pudding
Never Git Drunk No More (With Jaime Wyatt on vocals)
Barroom Hero (Acoustic version with Jesse Ahern on vocals)
Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya
Dirty Old Town (Ewan MacColl Cover)
I’m Shipping Up to Boston
The Dirty Glass (With Jaime Wyatt on vocals)
Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced