Words: Miljan Milekić
You can’t go wrong with Dropkick Murphys‘ show. Whether you’re a fan, a casual listener, or just a random visitor, they’ll just blow you away. Both Al Baar and Ken Casey are incredibly charismatic, insanely energetic, and born entertainers, while the rest of the band comes as more than adequate support. I learned all that in Belgrade two years ago, and re-learn it tonight in Budapest. Only this time, they were even better.
With so many hit songs and a religiously devoted following, Murphys ignited the atmosphere from the very beginning. Dropping ‘The Boys Are Back’ and ‘Going Out in Style’ early in the set fired up the crowd and set the tone for the rest of the show. From there, it was easy. With Baar and Casey in command, Murphys dashed through their catalog, touching on every phase of their career. Very quickly, it didn’t make much difference whether the band plays some of the older favorites or newer stuff, as fans welcomed everything with open arms.
However, Murphys knew exactly what they’re doing. Throwing in some newer work such as ‘Blood,’ ‘Paying My Way,’ or ‘First Class Loser,’ adding covers of legendary songs like ‘The Fields of Athenry’ and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone,’ touching on their rendition of traditional songs like ‘Irish Rover’ and ‘Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya,’ and combining it with older favorites like ‘The State of Massachusetts,’ the band delivered a well-balanced set full of crowd-pleasers. Add in the flawless execution, and everyone got what they came for.
Obviously, the show reached its climax just before, and during the encore when the band launched ‘Rose Tattoo’ and ‘I’m Shipping Up to Boston,’ sung by every person in the venues, as well as ‘Until the Next Time,’ when the luckiest of fans joined the band on stage. The very end brought up a fun cover of AC/DC‘s ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,’ just to wrap the night up.
But let’s not forget that Murphys weren’t the only band on the bill, as the supporting role was given to ska punk heroes The Interrupters. As much as I was hyped for the headliners, I was equally, if not more, hyped for the openers, as I got to see them for the first time. And I was not disappointed. When the first tones of ‘A Friend Like Me,’ kicked in, I instantly remembered the video from the band’s performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. To be precise, I remembered comments asking if it was a playback. Well, it wasn’t, they’re just that good.
In the 45 minutes, the four-piece, joined by a keyboard/trombone player, delivered a 10-song set showcasing all of their three albums, with a focus on the latest, 2018’s ‘Fight The Good Fight.’ In contrast to their young look and child-like smiles on their faces, The Interrupters sound like they have a thousand shows behind their back, while easily turning their early slot into a massive day-time party. Aimee Interrupter is just an unstoppable force of nature, showing up all over the place, hitting every corner of the stage, and ending up in the crowd quite a few times. Bivona brothers, on the other hand, provided a rock-solid wall of noise from behind.
At this point, The Interrupters are easily one of my favorite post-2010’s bands, and I wouldn’t mind a bit longer set, however, with the slot they got, they only had the time to fire from heavy artillery. ‘By My Side,’ ‘Take Back the Power,’ ‘Tittle Holder,’ ‘Gave You Everything,’ every song they played was met with massive feedback from the crowd. Even some of the less known songs, such as one of my personal favorites ‘On a Turntable.’ And that was maybe the biggest surprise for me, considering this is the first time the band was in Hungary. Except for, as Kevin Bivona said, “deep cut” from their new album – ‘She’s Kerosene’ – it’s no surprise the crowd went wild during that song. At the very end, they played another fan-favorite, ‘Family,’ before they left the stage to the headliners.