Moshing with the Murphys (and my son)

Dropkick Murphys

Venue: Forum Theatre

Tuesday, October 25.


Macca, his brother-in-law and I meet up with Graeme and John in the main bar of Young and Jackson’s. Jack has pulled the pin, so in a moment of generosity I offer the spare ticket to my son, and he accepts it gleefully. He will catch up to us after we have downed a few heart-starters (in the shape of pints). It seems like every second person in Y & J is wearing “Dropkick Murphys’ t-shirt. As well as Macca. And me.

The Forum is one of my favourite live music venues. It holds many memories, the most unusual of which is seeing “E.T.” there with my first girl-friend. Tonight it is packed, sold-out, the first of the Murphys’ two Melbourne shows. Macca and I are perturbed neither by the venue’s practice of pouring Carlton Draught stubbies into plastic cups nor by the price. “Whose shout is it?”

9-30, half-charged, excited as a schoolboy, the familiar intro of Sinead O’Connor’s “Foggy Dew” belting out. And all of a sudden the curtain falls and there they are, launching into “Hang Em High”, driven along by Scruffy Wallace’s bagpipes. I am standing next to my sixteen-year-old son. He came along with the family to see the Indigo Girls earlier this year, but this is an altogether different experience. He seems to be silently digesting the whole spectacle. After the third song, I have stopped singing (shouting) long enough to ask him what he thinks. “Good” he nods.


Macca has disappeared down into the mosh-pit, and after a couple of more tracks I follow him into the heaving mass. It’s sweaty, it’s sticky, it’s hot. But you definitely feel close to the band. Ten minutes of being pushed, prodded and yanked in all directions is enough for me. Although the set-list borrows heavily from their new album “Going Out In Style”, the crowd welcome every song as if it is a personal favourite. There is a celebratory feel among the punters, and even the mosh-pit feels a little less threatening than the last time I saw them.

Boston’s Dropkick Murphys are an awesome live band. They tour the globe relentlessly, playing (by my estimation) upwards of a hundred shows a year. With plenty of influence from elements of the Pogues and the Clash, their sound is often described as “Celtic punk”. As a seven-piece band, they generate quite a sound, and the walls of the Forum were surely screaming out for sympathy by the end of the night. The show was brilliant; the band did not miss a beat. As they grow older, I reckon they are becoming more versatile, with an interesting new development being an acoustic interlude, during which the band position themselves on stools and slow the pace down a little. Two lead singers – Al Barr and bassist Ken Casey – only adds to the band’s flexibility. Truth be told, when you are seeing one of your favourite bands live, it really would take a lot to go wrong for you to come away disappointed!

By the time of the opening strains of “Shipping Up To Boston” (best known in these parts as the soundtrack to the AFL advert), the crowd were in raptures. It was the cue for my son to enter the mosh-pit, and I bravely followed. A huge rendition of AC/DC’s “T.N.T.” to finish up, crowd in raucous sing-along voice, and I was suddenly thinking “How good is this?” Moshing to the Dropkick Murphys, with my son.


About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. John Butler says

    Good to see the baton passed on Smokie. :)

    His uncle would be proud too.

    See you Monday.

  2. The Dropkicks Murphys are sensational…which idiot booked Meatloaf when they could have had the Dropkicks….Imagine the MCG belting out “Kiss me I’m shitfaced”? Or “The Hills of Athenry

  3. I was worried, smoke, by the subbies choice of “Boston’s finest”…thought it was a Boston concert! BTW, 1-Those beers are a disgrace at The Forum. 2-Still don’t know why we need any basnd/singer at the GF. Don’t need a footy game at the concert.

  4. John Butler says

    Crio, a close run thing between the Murphs and the Pixies.

    Personally, I’d go the Pixies.

    As for Boston the band, how very 1976 of you.

    PS: I’m of the school that says play the ressies (VFL) before the GF. Which also probably renders me hopelessly old fashioned. :)

  5. JB,

    bring back the Ressies and the Unders.

    And bring back the Warumpi Band with Black-fella White-fella for the pre match jingle.

    Oh, and I know a drop kick called Murphy. Barracks for the Bombers.

  6. Wow Smokie,

    I just Youtubed the kiss me song.

    That would be a very good bonding song for any father and son. My young bloke was brought up just smart and rough enough to relate to it.

    Very Pogues. I am very envious.

  7. Smokie – magnificent stuff. I can just picture you bounding around the mosh pit; Peter Garret-like.

  8. Dips,
    Unfortunately, probably more Peter Reith-like.

  9. Sounds like it was a great night Smokie. That’s a marker ahead of me, going to a gig with the kids.

    I like DM but still yet to see them live. Did they do ‘Peg of My Heart’, from the new record?


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