By Brendan Lee
Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre
August 14th, 2017
If you’re an Irish lad with a kilt and a black beret, if you have a wife and two kids who feel crushed by the system, if your electric-blue hair spikes vertically, chances are your pits were sweaty and your fist was pumped when Rancid and the Dropkick Murphy’s crash-landed their way into town.
Rancid may be going more than a little bald, may have smoked three too many Marlboros, but they managed to mix the old with the new and deliver a nuts and bolts punk-fix deserving of each eclectic fan in the building. With speedy thrashers that had the crowd spinning and heartfelt tributes with vocals that rasped, the band transformed Thunderbird Sports Centre from an arena into something that more closely resembled a hole in the wall in small-town California.
The Dropkick Murphys countered the old school punkers with a set grounded in theatrics that dripped with passion and stage presence. Known for meshing Irish folk with hardcore punk you can yell the words to, the smooth-footed rebel-rouser frontman, Al Barr, danced and growled and stomped his way through the setlist while the band played with a tightness only 21 years in the business achieves.
The boys in black filled every inch of the arena with whimsical tin whistles and bagpipes and chaotic mandolin. The set culminated in the perfectly placed farewell, ‘Until Next Time’, as fans were invited onto stage to dance away their differences and simply enjoy the moment.
The concert was an assembling of family. For a four-song encore, the Dropkicks brought Rancid back onto stage and played out the night together as one. For a punk show, there were a lot more hugs than headbutts, and maybe that’s exactly how it should be.dropkick murphys, rancid, Thunderbird Sports Centre