Album Review: The Real McKenzies – “Shine Not Burn”

Album Review: The Real McKenzies – “Shine Not Burn”

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As a fellow mutton-chop sporting, kilt-wearing Scotsmen I can honestly tell you that one thing our drunken, proud heritage holds near and dear to its’ heart is our clan affiliation. Case in point, the new (and 2nd) live album from Canada’s musical warriors, The Real McKenzies, “Shine Not Burn”. This motto from the Clan Mackenzie hits home the fact that (as the Real Mckenzies have been quoted as saying)…”People come and people go, but Scots will never die”.

Recorded at the Wild at Heart in Kreuzberg, Berlin, this stripped down and raw version of ‘your traditional off-the-wall Mckenzies’ show highlights the fact that not only can this crew play one amazing set; they can do it with a mass arsenal of instruments and booze. With a room full of sweaty and excited Europeans proudly singing every word, this show documents the fact that this band has a stead fast following overseas.

With new instruments such as penny whistles & mandolins hitting the fold, as you start to listen to this album you are shown what it would sound like if you took years upon years of expereince and mixed it in with a band whose members have been involved in some of the greatest bands punk rock has ever seen. Guys such as Dave Gregg (from legendary Canadian hardcore kings, D.O.A), Sean Sellers (from Good Riddance) and Karl Alvarez (from All, Descendents). Throw in a traditional Scottish singer with a strong passion for history named Paul Mckenzie, a smart-ass and usually shirtless guitarist they commonly refer to as ‘Bone’, one of the original members of the clan, “Dirty” Kurt Robertson, a bagpiper with a street punk swagger by the name of Matt McNasty and you’ve got a recipe for pure, scotch laced entertainment. It almost seems serendipidus that they would record this album at a place called, ‘Wild At Heart’.

As an attendee at a recent Mckenzies show, I can attest that their set-list has always been full of a vast array of songs from all aspects of their great career as a band. Some traditional Scottish covers mixed in with the truest punk rock sound one could possibly find across this great nation we commonly call, Canada. With ‘Shine Not Burn’ they have taken that 2-hour spectacle and broke it down to its grittiest form. Traditional instruments and witty banter in hand, the Real Mckenzies take you along for the ride with the following songs…

Drink the Way I Do
10,000 Shots
Auld Mrs. Hunt
My Bonnie
Scots Wha’ Ha’e
Droppin’ Like Flies
Pour Decisions
The Skeleton and the Tailor
Best Day Until Tomorrow
Bitch Off the Money
Get Lost
Wild Mountain Thyme (my personal favorite)
Whisky Scotch Whisky
Sawney Beane Clan
Kings o’ Glasgow
Taylor Made II
Bugger Off

As I write this, I think back to the Mckenzies shows of past and I vividly remember walking out of the bar thinking to myself how much I truly love this band but that may not be the case for everyone. If you are a fan of the traditional Scottish music and fancy yourself an avid enjoyer of punk rock this band may just be for you. Sadly, if you prefer the speed induced street punk feel you may feel a little let down. Either way, Scottish or not…you should definitely take some personal time, pour yourself a glass of your cheapest scotch, set the speakers to eleven and hear what the Real Mckenzies have to say. This band right here has some serious talent and that my friends is undeniable. Three cheers for the Real McKenzies!

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