Opening Bands: The Dropkick Murphys
Date: September 22, 2006
Venue: The Docks, Toronto Canada
It had been several years since I had last scene the Dropkick Murphys and Bad Religion play the same venue. It was during the Warped Tour with thousands of crazed fans. Well, on September 22, I was poised to see them play together again and on a much smaller scale. On a side note, I was thoroughly excited to interview Jay Bentley from Bad Religion which you can read in the interviews section.
I arrived at the Docks in Toronto and walked inside to catch the Dropkicks running through their sound check. The sound check fueled my fever of pure punk pardisio.
After the interview with Bentley, who was very cool by the way, me and my boys still had some time to kill so we headed out back of the Docks. If you’re at all familiar with this venue then you can appreciate how I view it as a spa for men.’ They have all-wall climbing, mini-putt, driving range, volleyball courts and beers. We ordered a few Stella Artois and headed to the mini-putt.
The evening had begun smoothly and was basically, just getting started. We made our way back into the show just in time to catch the last 20 minutes of the opening act Clit-45. I had no real ambition to see this band but after witnessing the last half of their set I wish I had seen it all. They played old-school punk and did a great job doing it. They didn’t do anything to set the world on fire but they did what they do well (did you catch that).
Comeback Kid took the stage next and put forth an enthusiastic effort in front of the home crowd. People continued to filter in during the set and I continued to find a good vantage point for things to come. I was a little disappointed with the audio set-up for Comeback Kid. I found the guitars were completely drowned out by the drums and screaming vocals. I watched the guitar players jump around and pull off guitar slides and solos but heard a muddled mash. The stage presence of the band almost made up for the shortcomings of the sound guy or whoever the hell it was.
8:30 rolled around and I received a call from my best bud to meet him at the front doors as I had his ticket. He was supposed to be there at 6:30 but he’s real piece of work and was just arriving. The problem was that the crowd was going wild with the “Let’s Go Murphy’s” chant and I really didn’t want to leave. Luckily, I sprinted to door and found my boy Johnny just as Al Barr set foot on stage and let out a guttural ” Alright Toronto.”
The Murphy’s ripped through their set which included some of my personal favorites. Barroom Hero’ had me pumping my fist as I truly consider this song to be my anthem. For Boston’ had me wishing I was a Bruins fan which is not a small feat. The boys and I continued sucking back the pops and relishing in the energetic performance that ran the gauntlet of the Murphy discography.
To close out the set, the Murphy’s filled the stage with friends’ from the audience and pulled off an amazing rendition of Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced.’ There were so many people on stage that the stage itself actually broke. Not bad enough where anyone fell (damn…I love watching people go down) but broken nonetheless. I’m still smiling thinking about that song. Bottom line; if the show had ended at that point I would have felt satisfied. But the reality was the headliners were yet to come.
During my interview with Bentley, I asked if they would play Sowing the Seeds of Utopia’ to which he replied they would. So I sat at the bar and waited for Bad Religion to come out and proclaim this song is dedicated to the best interviewer we’ve ever seen.’ Well, that never transpired but after a lengthy wait and some Buffalo Sabre bashing with a couple of gents I met at the show (thanks for the beer boys), Bad Religion finally took the stage.
For over an hour Bad Religion played tunes from their entire collection. Gurewitz was absent from the lineup but was not missed. The band, as per usual, played flawlessly and Greg Graffin’s vocals sounded straight of the recording. As good as the Murphy’s were, Bad Religion is simply on another level. They’re just that good! I could sit here and tell you all the songs they played but I won’t. I would implore you to make a point to see this act before they retire (I’m not saying they will be anytime soon). Graffin’s stage presence and between-song banter are second-to-none. You truly feel a connection with the band at a Bad Religion show. It doesn’t hurt that the whole band sounds like an extremely well rehearsed juggernaut of punk passion. These guys embody everything that makes this genre of music so damn cool. This was an awesome concert.