DKM performed the show just weeks ahead of a new album release.
Apparently I’m a sucker for a fiddle in any form.
The Dropkick Murphys held their third live stream in the Pandemic Era. It was also their second annual St. Patrick’s Day livestream — an annual event one should hope this is the final one of, as the vaccine rolls out and restrictions lift.
The show, held on an arena-sized stage, saw band members face each other for an in-the-round experience with multiple camera angles. They powered through hits with Ken Casey offering his classic gruffy Celtic punk style. It is comically jarring to hear his almost-screamo vocals tinted with an Irish lilt, then the thick Bostonian accent so crucial to his (and DKM’s) identity.
Lest you think they don’t give their all, the band offered a full two-hour setlist of non-stop Irish-American revelry. Accompanied by a large video screen showing their massive audiences from the “before times” and a standard arena light show.
What was most impressive about this show is that it was completely free, and streamed on YouTube and Death Wish’s Facebook. Sponsored by Pega and Death Wish Coffee, the band simply passed a virtual hat and asked for fans to pay-what-they-could. There’s no telling how many participated in the virtual till, but DKM packed in over 50,000 on YouTube alone.
The broadcast was peppered with advertisements for DKM’s upcoming release, Turn Up That Dial. In fact, a banner urging fans to pre-order scrolled throughout the concert. While they mostly stuck to the hits, DKM did preview the new release. A full release party will give the band their fourth livestream concert on May 1st.
So what is behind the rise of Dropkick Murphys? Perhaps the pandemic has created a perfect storm for their music. Always socially conscious, they held the first-ever audience-free concert at Fenway Park last May. They raised nearly three-quarters of a million dollars for the Boston Resiliency Fund, Feeding America, and Habitat for Humanity, Greater Boston.
Their unique music combined with an earnest approach to using the pandemic for good has spread the fandom of this once regional secret. They have always been regionally philanthropic. But the publicity of these live streams has catapulted that message to a wider audience. Now there are Murphy fans all over the world.
I hope that once the Murphy’s get back out on the road, the fandom they are experiencing in the vacuum of the pandemic follows them to the real arenas and ballparks. I know I’ll be seeing these Irish rebels with pot-of-gold hearts the first chance I get. My name is Bailey, after all.