An Intimate Close Up of a Street Punk Troublemaker

Posted: August 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

Milwaukee Music summer continued tonight with a YOOGE bill at the BEEMO Pavilion, which looks like this and seats about 5,000 with standing room for 5,000 more:

BMO-Harris-Pavilion.-Interior-Lights

It’s about the middle of a tour called “From Boston to Berkeley”

600x600-RancidDropkickMurphys-2017

A tour between two longtime friends and collaborators, Rancid and Dropkick Murphys; with additional acts Jake Burns (from Stiff Little Fingers) and the Bouncing Souls.

Tim Armstrong from Rancid started a record label called Hellcat back in the 90s, and the first band he signed was the Dropkick Murphys.  These guys go way back, and it showed; for the encore, both bands came out and played four covers:  Cretin Hop, Folsom Prison Blues, Take ’em All, and I Fought The Law.  But I get ahead of myself.

We started the night with a miscommunication and missed most of Jake Burns set; a shame, because he closed with Suspect Device.  Oh well, SLF is returning to a 300 person club in fall, I’ll catch up then.

The Bouncing Souls are an energetic, three chords punk band from the East Coast and plenty fun.  The stage crew look really awesome; they managed the stage changes with no fuss and minimal downtime.  There’s a lot of music to get through!

I was a bit surprised that Rancid was not the top of the bill.  I guess to me, Rancid always seemed like the more established, more prominent band with a classic album under its belt – the stellar “…and out come the wolves”.  But no matter, no matter.  Because here’s the thing; both bands play with all their hearts and all their blood, thundering punk music inflected by ska in the case of Rancid, or Irish music in the case of the Murphys.  They charge through their sets with abandon, spit and fire and devil take the hindmost.

Rancid stormed the stage, and played an excellent mix of new and old.  My buddy Rory wanted them to play Timebomb as a closer, to bookend the Old 97s who close with their song of the same name, and he was only close.  He insisted I tell him what it would be, and hated me when I told him.  Spoilers suck, even for punks, I guess.

He also mocked me when he saw me working my phone in the middle of the Dropkick Murphys show:  “are you blogging?”  “no, just downloading the new album”  “yes, modern technology is wonderful”

Our seats were in the bleacher seats sections, which are still not bad in this venue, and because I am an idiot we went into the wrong section but nobody ever showed up to make us move so we had decent seats.  AND we were directly behind a man and his 9 year old son, who rocked out through the show until he was ready to stop rocking and go to sleep.  I have been there, believe me.  We took a photo for them with the band in the backdrop and asked them whether the Youngling was a drummer or a guitarist; Dad grinned and said “we go back and forth”.  Parenting Level:  Platinum.

Dropkick Murphys had an extensive musical intro, and maybe cut that back, guys?  But then hit the stage and fucking EXPLODED.  There was a bit of usual time for the sound guys to boil it down, but man, they were good for a forty-seven person show.  Well, it seemed like 47 people.  SO MANY.  Playing guitars, and basses, and pipe, and chest-piano, and bagpipes, and more guitars, and loud voices….

Of course they played Barroom Heroes, of course they played Shipping Up To Boston.  But the new songs were EXCELLENT as well, especially Blood.

My good friend Rory, who has seen EVERYBODY, has never seen any of these bands and kept thanking me for getting him a ticket.  Although he admitted that he was having some difficulties acclimating to his medical regimens and was a bit more than goofy, especially when walking (I will testify that he was not drinking).  I reminded him that in a short while, he bought us tickets to see Luna on my birthday, so it is even as fuck.

I spoiled it up above, but the bands did a gathered full stage encore of everybody available.  To me, the most amusing thing was that the wings of the stage were filled with people watching the shows, dancing along, and shouting on the choruses.  Friends and family and other bands they know who want to be part of an amazing show.

Local Zombie favorites Whiskey of the Damned have opened for the Dropkick Murphys, and if they weren’t in the midst of their own work tour, they would have been here and maybe on this stage….A stage where the band brought up almost anyone from the pit for the final song.  It took longer to clear the stage than it did for the song….

And then everyone was in for the encore.  The stage was filled, and it was cover songs that meant great things to everyone.

It reminds me of the time in Ireland.  the Refusal to allow badness to stop your willingness to enjoy life.  A few years back, I had some very bad times on my own behalf, and much darkness.  And one point, I wondered if I could ever find a place I could find joy in music ever again.  And then, in the midst of one of the worst oppression in modern time, everyone found life in drinking and  music to help them find expressions of life…

Like I said I wondered,  But I recovered, I went to Summerfest, I found the Mekons, and it is such that punk makes me feel alive again.

HERE I AM.

 

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Comments
  1. Mikey Hemlok says:

    The very first time I heard ‘Salvation’ I was entranced.

    “Who IS this band?”, I wondered, turning the volume as far as it would go.

    I couldn’t sing along – I’d never heard it before – but it felt familiar, and beautiful, and energizing.

    It was like the first time I heard Pirner, singing ‘Black Gold’. The world shifted on its axis a little bit, and I had something new to fill that empty part in my soul…

  2. Mikey Hemlok says:

    Just to make the story clear, there actually IS a neighborhood called Blackhawk, where all the rich people are. Lots of former pro athletes live there. They have a Safeway with a guy in a tuxedo playing a grand piano for the entertainment of the shoppers…

Go ahead, tell me how I fucked up this time.

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