Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Review: Dropkick Murphys / H2O / Civet live in Minneapolis

In Jersey, they’re called guidos. In Boston, they’re chuckleheads. Southern California just calls them bros. Wherever you are or whatever you do, there’s an overabundance of intolerably obnoxious, pinheaded macho males that effectively ruin some prime sector of society. In Minneapolis we have a very special pejorative amalgamation for the types of people we don’t want crowding our concerts and bars with their noxious colognes and juvenile mentalities and they are unaffectionately known exclusively as dude-bros. And in 2009, the dude-bros have put down their O.A.R. CDs, put on their green polos and found a whole new reason to get drunk: the Dropkick Murphys.

The sad reality is that the Dropkick Murphys haven’t even really done anything to acquire these distasteful fans. Sure, they gained a few more mainstream fans signing with the Warner-backed Independent Label Group, but not a whole lot more than were already jumping on the bandwagon at the end of their Hellcat stint. As a touring band looking to make a living and spread their music, I’m sure the Dropkick Murphys could give a shake who listens to their music as long as people do, but it sure makes it difficult to have fun at their shows anymore.

I wasn’t even planning on going to this show. Sure, I enjoy the Murphys and their second-slot opener H20, but not enough to pay 25 bucks to hang out with frat goons and jocks, and as previously mentioned, the Myth is the worst place imaginable for a punk show. But my friend Josh (of Minneapolis thrash attack Mutagen) called sick asking if I’d accompany their bassist Cory to the show, so I accepted the offer and made the 20-minute drive to suburban St. Paul.

Though arriving about an hour and a half late, we still arrived just in time to see Civet begin their set. There were a couple times where they didn’t sound too bad, but for some reason their lead singer ruins most of their songs with her Brody Dalle impression, even though she is capable of much better quality singing, as she would prove later joining the Murphys for “The Dirty Glass.”

I was a little apprehensive about how H2O’s high-energy performance would translate in a venue as large as the Myth. They were great when I saw them open for Bane in November, but that was in a much more intimate setting at the Triple Rock. Pessimistic expectations aside, H2O ended up making this show worth the trip, busting out classics like “5 Year Plan,” “Family Tree” and newer tunes like “What Happened?” and “Still Here.” The highlight was a medley of sorts, combining parts of the Clash’s “Rudie Can’t Fail,” Fugazi’s “Waiting Room” and several others I can’t recall now. It was encouraging to see enough people getting into H2O, and that they can still be gaining new fans 14 years into their career.

After an excessively long setup (that included one fistfight in the crowd and, incidentally, an ejection from the show, and some poor bastard paying $20 to do a body shot off the platinum blonde booze-slinger), the lights finally dimmed and some traditional Celtic crooning floated through the club as stagehands whisked down the curtains to reveal an extravagant Irish Catholic cathedral backdrop. Roars of cheer filled the Myth as the Murphys marched onstage, donning black button-up shirts and pressed pants, looking more business casual than working class. Kicking into their first song (unrecognizable to me), they seemed as though they were playing about half-speed of what I would expect. The audience didn’t seem to mind.

A quick glance at the “D” section of my CD library shows that I have eight Dropkick Murphys albums, starting with Do or Die and going all the way up to The Meanest of Times, skipping only Blackout and The Early Years collection along the way. However, I recognized just about half the songs during their performance, either because the band was a little loose in their execution, my earplugs were in too tight, or maybe I was just too distracted by all the dude-bros and fratboys physically threatening the “different” people around them (I witnessed this more than once) or the obnoxious amount of flashes from every soon-to-be Facebook photo album. There were a few amusing moments, like when the Murphys invited all the ladies on stage for “Kiss Me I’m Shitfaced.” Some scraggly-haired male accidentally found his way on stage, arms raised in triumph, before being quickly ushered off to make way for more dude-bro eye candy. To my left, an older gentleman was Googling “dropkick kiss shit faced lyrics” on his Blackberry, though in his defense none of the girls on stage seemed to know the words either. At one point, a bro with a white T-shirt and signatures all over it gave me a thumbs up and after several moments of awkwardness, motioned for me to sign his shirt. I signed the sleeve, “Yeah brah!”

Though I can’t really say I had too much fun outside of “Curse of a Fallen Soul,” “Sunshine Highway,” the Civet / Murphys duet of “The Dirty Glass” and the entire H2O set, I can’t say it wasn’t worth the money. Sometimes having sick friends is a good thing.

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