Nobody gathers a crowd in Boston like the Dropkick Murphys—not on St. Paddy’s Day. The Murphys played first at TD Garden on Friday, Brighton Music Hall on Saturday, and House of Blues on the day itself. It was far from their first time, and, as they told the crowd from the stage, far from the last.
Rebuilder opened, an incredible start for a new band, previewing their first EP just before its release. The band recently began its own grassroots record company Refuse Rethink Rebuild, based right out of Boston. Their music is fast-paced and fun, and the crowd can expect to hear more of their music soon.
Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun took the stage next. They came from the UK to tour with the Dropkick Murphys and rocked the house. Hearing one song or another could easily make someone peg them punk or country. They are a fast-growing indie band who whipped the packed house into action.
The Dropkick Murphys drove the crowd mad with “The Boys are Back” the first song off their new record, Signed and Sealed in Blood. They followed up with “The Fighting 69th” from their second record, “The Gang’s All Here,” from the late 90’s. The night went on like that with new and old songs, intertwining into an event.
A young boy named Colin sang “Amazing Grace,” and Megan Gale “The Dirty Glass.” Seal Team 6 joined them on the stage for “Forever.”
Boston means a lot to the Murphys, and they mean a lot to Boston. They had people working the stage in Bruins costumes and there was at least one person in the crowd with a rose tattoo. One man told about how his son, now deceased, loved TDM, and another how it always felt like his fiancé, five years dead, was there with him when they played “Shipping Out to Boston.” When it actually came time to play “Shipping Out to Boston,” they announced “We’re gonna play it, you’re gonna sing it.” The crowd screamed out the lyrics and went wild.
They left, but were cheered back onto stage, “Let’s Go Murphys” and dedicated “Barroom Hero” to everyone in The House of Blues that night. The DKM were joined onstage by the audience for “End of the Night,” played for the first time in Boston. “Skinhead on the MBTA”—their own rendition of the Kingston Trio’s “Charlie on the MTA” was especially fitting. They finished the night with ‘Alcohol’, as everyone knew they would.
Jonah Parzen-Johnson at Lilypad
Jonah Parzen-Johnson has an innate ability to make the baritone sax sound like bagpipes, and maybe that’s why I cried.
Mostly I cried because Jonah tells radiant stories with his saxophone and analog synth, working the brass and pedals to recreate the framework which surrounds his album Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow: Parzen-Johnson wanted to make “something of myself that’s for everybody else.”
Jonah opened his set with “Stay There, I’ll Come to You,” showcasing the harmony between synth and sax right off the bat. With haunting lilts, the two combined into a ribbon of melody, pulsating inside the ear as well as the heart. Much like the song’s title, Jonah was the one approaching the audience as an experimental troubadour of tête-à-tête.
The back stories and thoughts behind each song tied in so well with the raw, almost throaty sax, developing such strong, emotional resonance with the musical layers. The skeleton shook.
Speedy Ortiz “riiiiise above and gliiiiiide away” at The Sinclair
The Sinclair was a packed house Wednesday night for the Speedy Ortiz CD release party; as a hometown gig for the Northampton, MA-based band, kinetic warmth buzzed through friends and fans alike as Sadie Dupuis and crew played their freshly-release Foil Deer track-by-track.
What’s a party without some guests, though? That’s where Krill and Mitski come in.
Krill kicked off the night with some tracks from A Distant Fist Unclenching, other goods from Lucky Leaves. Lead singer/bassist Jonah Furman brought to mind early (read: good) Billy Corgan, which I’m not sure he will appreciate. But I think he’ll appreciate this: I couldn’t stop laughing because then I kept thinking about Marilyn Manson telling Billy Corgan that he looked like Charlie Brown.
Opening with “Theme from Krill,” the Boston trio has a knack for rhythm and melody that burrows into your brain. The dreamy bleakness of “Purity of Heart.” The discordant garage rock and hiccupping guitar and warbly Scooter-ness of “Foot.” Krill’s sound is a good, comfy noise that keeps you wiggling and all that good stuff. Be sure to catch the band at Boston Calling.
Years & Years at Royale Boston
During winter storm Juno, UK electro pop group Years & Years were forced to cancel the first show of their two-night stint in New York City back in January. After the snow finally melted, they made the rounds again this past March, playing several shows in California, South by Southwest before finally landing in Boston.
Due to popular demand, the show was moved from The Sinclair to the Royale in downtown’s Theater District.
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