Gig 1: Dropkick Murphys at The HMV Forum 18/1/13
The day I had finally come for the first gig of the year and I was dreading it. Normally on the day of a gig I am on a real high but this time I was pretty worried. You see this week there has been constant snow across the country, so all week I was only 50/50 if A: the gig would be on and B: if I could actually get there for it. The forecast for gig day was the worst for the whole week. All signs were pointing towards this being a very bad evening.
I finished work on gig day and did my usual ritual of rushing home, getting changed, grabbing my phone (which is currently fudged but I took it anyway), my iPod (don’t go anywhere without it, it’s like a limb), my wallet, my oyster card and most importantly my ticket for the gig. When I arrived at Colchester train station I was pleasantly surprised to find all the trains were running to schedule. This amazed me because you only ever hear how public transport is rubbish and fails whenever there is a slight be of dodgy weather. I arrived in London safe and sound, jumped on the tube and made my way to Kentish Town, home of The HMV Forum.
As I entered The Forum I could already hear the opening act Crowns distinctive “fish punk” sounds. I’ve seen Crowns twice before but something was different this time. As I made my way towards the stage I noticed they had added an accordion player to their ranks. This added a great new layer to their sound. Sadly there set went far too quick for my liking as the stormed through my personal favourites Kissing Gates, Parting In The Porch and Full Swing.
Up next was Teenage Bottlerocket. Teenage Bottlerocket are a band from Wyoming in the United States. They play very fast pop punk. When I say very fast I mean very very fast. It’s ridiculous. I was absolutely ecstatic when I heard they had been added to the bill for this gig as I have wanted to see them for years now. They played with so much passion and have an obvious love for the music they play. It’s infectious and I challenge anyone not to have a good time seeing them live. Personal song highlights for me were Skate Or Die, Radio, Stupid Games and a mid song breakdown were they played Blitzkrieg Bop. This was probably as close to seeing The Ramones play as I’ll ever get so it made me a very happy man.
Now it was time for the main event. Dropkick Murphys. The crowd was ready, the chants of “Let’s Go Murphys” were booming. This is why we all had braved the weather. Looking around the gig it dawned on me how many different types of people love this band. There were old people, young people, fathers and sons, boys and girls, old crusty punks and yuppies. As soon as the band took to the stage all of these different people began to party together despite any differences in their lives. Only a band like Dropkick Murphys could achieve such a feat. The band, as expected was magnificent tearing through songs of their brand new album as well as their hugely impressive back catalogue. Even with two power cuts the party barely stopped, piper Scruffy Wallace played an impromptu version of the classic Cadence To Arms whilst we waited. I once read a review of a Murphys gig where the writer said “Dropkicks’ shows don’t wind down; they stop.” A truer statement could not be said. I really loved every single song they played and sung along at the top of my voice to every single one but personal highlights for me were The Gauntlet and A Few Good Men just because they are my two favourite Murphys songs and I’d never seen them played live before.
Now it was time to go home. After shooting across London in impressive speed I was on the train back to Colchester thinking about my night and how happy I was for deciding to take the risk despite the weather. If I hadn’t I still would have not been to gig one of the fifty-two I need to complete my challenge and more importantly I would have missed out on an amazing night of punk rock from three amazing acts.
I’d like to add I had a very interesting chat with the taxi driver on the way home about music and vinyl and how lazy it is these days when DJs use iPods instead of records whilst DJing. He was a decent bloke and so I suggested he drop me off at the top of my road so he didn’t have to attempt to drive on the ice rink that is currently my street.
The next morning I awoke still buzzing from the night before and was quite pleased that I had 1 of the 52 done. However I then realised I was very much down on where I need to be to get the challenge done. We are now three weeks into the year and I’ve only done one gig. In theory I need to be averaging a gig a week so I’m technically two down already. I decided to rectify this so I went online and brought tickets for 13 more gigs. If any one of those or the others I’ve already booked is even half as good as the Dropkick Murphys gig I am in for the best year ever.
Now listening to Voices Of Fucked by Floating Bear