Strong, emotional and fun

When we reviewed the new Dropkick Murphys record, 11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory, we made constant reference to the fact that they are by some distance one of the most consistent bands of all time. They've locked in to a glorious Celtic Punk formula which has proven strong on record and taking on a whole new level in the live environment. We waxed lyrical about the kind of impact The Lonesome Boatman had at the start of the new record, and live it felt absolutely momentous. They should be opening shows with this for many years to come and beyond this album cycle that's for sure.

What followed was an excellent blend of new tracks and old crowd favourites. The newer stuff was well received on the most part but it wasn't until the likes of The State Of Massachusetts, (F)lannigan's Ball and Rose Tattoo did you see the crowd really lose their minds. The crowd at any Dropkick Murphy's show is always incredibly enthusiastic and considering this was their only UK date on this run (at least until November/December) on the first Friday payday after Christmas, there were a fair few who had travelled down from elsewhere in the country. Looking across the crowd, the actual age demographic looked like a good mix which again was encouraging. By using the big screen back drop behind them, the band were able to deliver a visual interpretation of some of their new tracks, which along with some of their mid-song chatter made large sections of the show pretty melancholic.

There were spots of madness throughout the show but as you can probably expect the place exploded up a few notches once the band kicked in to I'm Shipping Up To Boston. This was preceded by the band's cover of You'll Never Walk Alone - a track which considering the football links had the chance of falling flat but Ken Casey introduced it brilliantly with two middle fingers aloft shouting "this isn't about your fucking football teams. Fair enough.

Overall then, Dropkick Murphys did exactly what everyone expected them to do in delivering a strong, emotional and fun set which kept the whole place engaged from start to finish. Roll on the tour plans bringing them back to the UK later this year.