The Orpheum Theater in Madison, Wis., welcomed the Dropkick Murphys for a sold-out performance at the historic venue on Feb. 21. Joining the Celtic punk rockers were Lucero and the charming Skinny Lister.
Skinny Lister were a perfect choice to open the show. The British group presented the packed house with a punk-meets-folk set that certainly invoked crowd participation. Vocalist Lorna Thomas did her best to work the crowd and quickly drew praise when she took a large hit from a flagon then passed it to the audience. Michael Carmino took his double bass into the crowd shortly thereafter and performed while crowd-surfing. One band member said, "You returned our bassist safely," prompting another to quickly joke, "Keep the bassist but return the flagon!" They couldn't have done a better job sparking life into the early crowd.
Lucero offered a change of pace to Skinny Lister's free-for-all. Their fusion of country rock with a tinge of punk showcased their music and Ben Nichols' raw vocals in a more relaxed setting. While musically strong, they lacked the energy of Skinny Lister to a degree that suggested they were the calm before the storm. It was a musically emotional set that primed the mind for the onslaught of the Dropkick Murphys.
A highly energetic set, the Dropkick Murphys hit the stage running and never let up. Frontman Al Barr spent the majority of the time on a riser that was placed between the stage and the barricade, constantly fist bumping with fans. They ripped through their first album, "Do or Die," in its entirety to kick off the show. Hardcore fans, a few sporting kilts, devoured the performance and a handful ended up on stage during "Skinhead on the MBTA" to finish the album. They closed the first set with "Out of Our Heads" and BTO's "Takin' Care of Business."
The Dropkick Murphys added a second of fan favorites from the rest of their catalog. "The State of Massachusetts" kicked off the second portion of their show that also included "Ramble and Roll" and "(F)lannigan's Ball" amongst others. They asked the female contingent to join them onstage for "End of the Night" before finishing with a crushing rendition of "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" that truly showed their Irish roots. It's no wonder that they already have five sold-out shows staged for that city to wrap up the tour.
Additional Dropkick Murphys 2014 Annual St. Patrick's Day Tour dates:
February 23 - Chicago, Ill. - Riviera
February 24 - St. Louis, Mo. - The Pageant
February 25 - Springfield, Mo. - Gilloz Theatre
February 27 - Oklahoma City, Okla. - Diamond Ballroom
February 28 - Dallas, Texas - House of Blues
March 1 - Austin, Texas - Stubb’s
March 2 - Houston, Texas - House of Blues
March 3 - New Orleans, La. - House of Blues
March 5 - Birmingham, Ala. - Iron City
March 6 - Jacksonville, Fla. - Maverick’s on the Landing
March 7 - Charlotte, N.C. - Fillmore
March 8 - Pittsburgh, Pa. - Stage AE
March 10 - Sayreville, N.J. - Starland Ballroom
March 11 - Huntington, N.Y. - The Paramount
March 13 - Boston, Mass. - House of Blues
March 14 - Boston, Mass. - House of Blues
March 15 - Boston, Mass. - House of Blues – Matinee
March 15 - Boston, Mass. - House of Blues – Evening
March 16 - Boston, Mass. - House of Blues