The Dropkick Murphys
The Dropkick Murphys' roadies were greeted with hockey-crowd chants of "Let's go, Murphys!" Sunday as they set up instruments at the sold-out 9:30 club. Soon afterward, the Irish traditional "The Foggy Dew" introduced a kilted pipes-and-drums corps that played the opening mournful melody of "Your Spirit's Alive" from the Murphys' recent CD, "The Warrior's Code."
Then all hell broke loose.
For the next 75 minutes the lower level of the club became a massive mosh pit, as the Murphys ripped through strident Irish-punk songs, barely pausing to catch their collective breath. The seven-piece group creates a massive but melodic roar, and the addition of bagpipes, mandolin, accordion, piano and pennywhistle added depth and contrasting textures to the songs. Al Barr's sandpaper roar always sounds on the verge of blowing out, but he kept up the massive vocal eruptions throughout, with bassist Ken Casey occasionally taking the lead.
The Dropkick Murphys formed 10 years ago but the group's roughneck style hasn't changed at all. Great new tunes ("The Warrior's Code," "The Walking Dead," "The Burden") slotted seamlessly next to "Boys on the Docks," "Barroom Hero," "Worker's Song" and other older numbers. The band slowed up only for "The Fields of Athenry," which was dedicated to Andrew Farrar, a Marine sergeant who died in Iraq and had the song played at his funeral.
The Boston crew finished with a trio of songs that began with women from the audience jumping onstage to dance "The Spicy McHaggis Jig," followed by guys screaming along to "Skinhead on the MBTA." Amid a crowded, rowdy stage the Murphys closed with a rousing, perfectly timed cover of the self-titled theme song by D.C.'s legendary Minor Threat. No need for an encore.
-- Christopher Porter
With a new R&B guy group forming every few minutes, it's hard for existing acts, such as the Atlanta-based quartet Jagged Edge, to hold the attention of the listening public. It's been just two years since JE cut an album, but in that time men with fresher faces and shinier jewelry have emerged. So as they prepare to release their fifth LP, Kyle Norman, Richard Wingo and twins Brian and Brandon Casey need to prove they're still worth listening to.
Surprisingly, they are -- as much as they ever were. Their four-part harmonies are intact and the Casey brothers will forever be Doublemint cute. It's a pity hardly anyone got to see them at Constitution Hall on Sunday night.
The singers, who appeared with Lil' Mo and Carl Thomas, couldn't hide their disappointment with the low turnout, but vowed to dazzle the few hundred people in attendance. "We love doin' a show when it's packed, but we still love doin' a show when it ain't packed," Norman said.
That noble attitude endured until the sound began failing.
Between pleading for the mikes to be turned up and tracks to be played at the appropriate times, the foursome managed to sing a handful of their slinky ballads and smoothed-out, hip-hop "lite" hits.
They whisked through the musical proposal "Let's Get Married," memorable for the line "We ain't gettin' no younger, girl, we might as well do it"; the Jermaine Dupri-produced "I Gotta Be," from their 1998 debut, "A Jagged Era"; and a slightly less whiny version of Keith Sweat's "Right and a Wrong Way." The Spanish-guitar-spiked "Where the Party At" provided a fitting finale.
-- Sarah Godfrey