Photos by Chris Besaw
Review by Kelly Besaw
Boston based punk rockers, the Dropkick Murphys, returned to Syracuse this past Saturday. This time they made a stop at the Upstate Medical Arena at the Oncenter War Memorial bringing along with them The Interrupters and Jesse Ahern.
Kicking things off was American folk rock artist Jesse Ahern. Ahern took the stage solo with his guitar strapped to his chest and belted out his catchy folk tunes, many with perfect sing along choruses. Ahern is currently on tour in support of his most current release, Roots Rock Rebel. With his Boston brogue and friendly disposition, Ahern seems like the type of musician who is a master at converting first-time crowds into forever fans. His no-frills stage set up and accounts of the blue-collar life, make him instantly likeable.
Next up were California based ska punk rockers, the Interrupters. No strangers to the punk world, these guys have toured with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Street Dogs, Less Than Jake, Rancid and other legendary punk bands. The Interrupters are currently on tour in support of their 2022 release, In The Wild. The band lead by lead singer, Aimee Interrupter, with Kevin Bovina (guitar), Justin Bovina (bass), Jesse Bovina (drums) and Billy Kottage (keyboards/trombone) worked their way through a high-energy eleven song setlist. Highlights included a cover of Bob Marley’s “Judge Not,” “In the Mirror,” “She’s Kerosene” and “Bad Guy” (Billie Eilish cover). The Interrupters were well-received by the crowd and did an excellent job of getting everyone warmed up for the Dropkicks.
It was time for the night’s headliner, The Dropkick Murphys. Despite member Al Barr being on hiatus to take care of his ailing mother, the band has been super busy touring and putting out new music. I have been a fan since the early 2000s and have had a tough time keeping up with their recent frequent releases. They have released three albums since 2021, Turn Up That Dial (2021), This Machine Still Kills Fascists (2022) and Okemah Rising their 2023 release. Prior to 2021 their most current release was in 2017.
One thing I can say about the Dropkick Murphys is that they know how to put on a live show, from setlist choices to interacting with the crowd, they are top notch. The band took the stage to The Chieftains with Sinead O’Connor song “The Foggy Dew” and started right in with politically charged tunes, “Worker’s Song” followed by “Prisoner’s Song.” By the time they got to the ever popular “The Boys Are Back” the fans were going nuts. They played an excellent mix of old and new including “Barroom Hero” and “Middle Finger.” I enjoyed their cover of the Almanac Singers “Which Side Are You On?” Of course, they worked in the song “every kid who is a fan wants to hear” according to singer Ken Casey, “Rose Tattoo.” They finished off their set with “Until the Next Time” before performing a three-song encore including, “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya,” “Dig a Hole,” and fan favorite sing along “I’m Shipping Up to Boston.”
It was a great show and if you missed it, don’t worry, they seem to like playing Syracuse and I am sure they will be back.