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Punk Rock Bowling Festival: Day Three – Dropkick Murphys, Conflict, Agnostic Front, Swingin’ Utters, The Business, The Mahones, IRA, Avenue Rockers

Monday morning at Punk Rock Bowling brings with it certain inevitable realizations. If you’ve done the weekend right, you’re probably begging for a proper night’s sleep, real food, and some relaxation. You also realize, oh shit! It’s the last day already. Already??!! The weekend seems so long yet so short at the same time. But there was still much more to do before the 17th annual reunion in the desert came to a close. After the Booze & Glory pool party, I ran back to my room to grab more gear and headed to the main stage to see our friends in Avenue Rockers. Battle Born opened the final day of the fest, however as the rest of the weekend attested, I was unable to get to the main stage for the openers.

If Sunday was a day that left to be imagined for me, Monday was the complete opposite. I was excited to see every single band on the bill, and Avenue Rockers started my fest off right. Grit, melody, unending stage energy, and sing along lyrics make these Texans a great show to see.

Next was a band that I wasn’t too familiar with, Colombian punks IRA (Acute Respiratory Infexion). The band is in your face and isn’t afraid to talk about politics that are plaguing their nation. In fact many songs were dedicated to those struggling or under oppression in their homeland.

Canadian Celtic band The Mahones were next to the stage, and I was excited to see what their set would entail. The band is in the process of releasing part two of their two part album (The Hunger & The Fight), which focuses more on their punk influences (vs their Irish influences featured on part one). The setlist sampled heavily from part two, but the band definitely let their Celtic roots shine through. Great set full of energy and movement. The Mahones is one of those bands that is just so photogenic it makes the selection process difficult because every shot is a gem.

As The Business took to the stage, the punks really started coming out. The Business is a band that has been with me for the greater part of two decades, and whenever they’re on a bill I get super excited. While many may stray away from a Business pit, I am driven to like a siren song. Shoot my 3, drop my gear with friend Shahab of GC Records, and B-line it to the pit. While the band didn’t play “H-Bomb” or “Disco Girls”, they did delight ears with “Guttersnipe”, “Harry May”, “(Do They) Owe Us A Living”, and many more classics. Mickey & co. have many more years left in them, and I look forward to being there for the ride.

I needed like four bottles of water to re-hydrate after dancing to the ol Brits, and was ready to go again by the time (my) local heroes Swingin’ Utters began their set. While the music may not be as ‘tough’ as some of the other bands, don’t tell frontman Johnny Peebucks that. His stage presence and just overall craziness is a sight to behold. Punches to the face, pained expressions, and an in your face attitude is Peebuck’s M.O. The band was playing their last show with founding drummer Greg McEntee, and it was great to wish him off in beautiful punk fashion.

From the East Coast….to the desert….Agnostic Front! The NYHC legends were a late add to PRB, filling in for Bad Manners who dropped off the fest at the last minute. To be honest, I think Agnostic Front was a better fit, even though I thought it would be great to see the (not so) Fat Bastard skank it up. I love posting up by bassist Mike Gallo, and just witnessing the jumps. He’s guaranteed for at least a couple, I even managed to get a rare one of Roger! Despite half the band wearing knee/ankle braces, the energy that was on stage was absorbed by the rambunctious crowd. And of course, the band ended with their standout hit “Gotta Go”. Great set from timeless musicians.

I had just seen Conflict two nights before at their club show with Krum Bums, and I was anxious to see them on the main stage. It had been years since I last saw Conflict, but it could’ve been like it was yesterday. The band seems to not have aged a bit and came out swinging from the first chord. One of the standout moments for me was when frontman Colin Jerwood took a moment to talk to the crowd about how we are all one. “Stop fighting, we are all one, we are in this together…everyone here is your friend.” It was a touching display of unity at a festival that prides itself on bringing people together from all sub-genres.

The final band to play the main stage of PRB 2015 was Dropkick Murphys. By this time, the entire festival was packed – brimming with beer, booze, spikes, and anticipation. I was in the zone in the photo pit, fighting some 30 other photographers for position, so I couldn’t tell you what the band opened with. In fact, the majority of their set was a blur. Between shooting, dancing, drinking, and singing along (to what I don’t know), I was trying to squeeze every last drop out of Punk Rock Bowling before the main event concluded.

You can have a look at the complete gallery of photos taken from Monday’s main stage sets below.



Skate and Surf announce full lineup

The completed Skate and Surf festival lineup has been announced and will now include Cancer Bats, Diamond Youth, Real Friends, and others. You can check out the entire lineup listed below.

The festival is scheduled for May 16th and 17th in Asbury Park, NJ and will feature a half pipe competition as well as live wretsling by Legends of Wrestling.



Music Videos: Dropkick Murphys – “Johnny We Hardly Knew Ya” and “Prisoner’s Song” live

To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Boston’s own Dropkick Murphys and BlankTV have teamed up to release two new live videos from the Celtic punk icons. Watch performances of “Johnny We Hardly Knew Ya” and “Prisoner’s Song” below.

The videos are from the Dropkick Murphys’ show at the Roseland Ballroom, in Portland, Oregon, back in October. The videos have only been seen once before, when the band live-streamed the concert that night.

The band’s latest album, Signed And Sealed With Blood, came out in 2013 through their own label, Born and Bred Records. The Dropkick Murphys are currently touring in Ireland and the UK, before heading back to the US for some festival shows in May, including a headlining gig at Punk Rock Bowling.



Show Review: Celtic Punk Invasion: Dropkick Murphys, The Mahones, Blood or Whiskey and Bryan McPherson

The Celtic Punk Invasion Tour swung into the Capital Region of New York, Monday March 2nd for the first date in the US after returning from Europe. The venue was the Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park and you could probably guess the audience was literally green with enthusiasm.

The opening act was also a class act, Bryan McPherson who opened for the European leg of the tour and will stay on the US tour until March 12th. Unfortunately the crowd was so enormous outside of the venue that even with press credentials it took a while to get through the door; this resulted in me not capturing any photos of McPherson but I did catch the entire set and I was thoroughly impressed. Take my word for it he was a handsome guy, sorry I don’t have any pics to prove it. But most importantly Bryan’s musicianship was second to none and he captivated a rowdy crowd of revelers with only his voice and an acoustic guitar.

Blood or Whiskey from Dublin and Kildare, Ireland took the stage next and it was so sweet to finally get to see them live. I have been a fan for nearly 15 years. While producing a radio show I stumbled upon a 4 track almost demo-ish in appearance CD by the band. I gave the CD some air play and then I took it home. Ever since I have been a loyal fan but this was my first chance to see them in action. Blood or Whiskey delivered even though they didn’t play my favorite song “Sober Again”, I forgive them. Maybe they only play that song after the St. Paddy’s season has ended, which would make sense.

When The Mahones took stage they’re presence was remarkable. Lead singer Finny McConnell at one point looked like an actual leprechaun, it was the green light hitting his body and illuminating his outfit and hat but there’s no way I was the only one that saw it. The Mahones have been around since 1990 which was probably about the year a quarter of the crowd was born but the band continues to do what they do best and entertain audiences old and young. Katie “Kaboom” McConnell was hands down the one performer that evening that you could not take your eyes off of. It wasn’t just because women who play the accordion are extra-sexy but it was just the way she becomes entranced with her instrument when she plays and dances. If you haven’t had a chance to see The Mahones live over the past 25 years what’s your excuse?

Well when the stage gets dark and “The Foggy Dew” begins to play you know you are in for it. One by one, the Murphys began to make an entrance, grabbing their instruments and taking their positions. At this point you can only see the silhouettes of their Irish caps but as the lights brightened the festivities resumed. The first song they played was Out of our Heads and as for the next few songs I had crowd surfers falling on my head while I was in the photo pit. Hey, what do you expect it’s a Dropkick show; everyone’s excited.

The crowd chanted along to favorites like Rose Tattoo, Going Out In Style and of course the theme song to every modern-day Irish mobster movie you can think of but what was unexpected was the invite for fans to pick songs of their choice for the band to play no matter how unrehearsed or polished. Eurotrash a 1997 release was not only requested by a fan but the band brought the fan on stage to sing his request. I thought he did a pretty-damn good job.

Anti-Spoiler Alert: Well I wont give away the entire show but you know there was an encore after eager fans repeatedly chanted “let’s go Murphys”. The band came out and played two favorites while inviting fans on stage to join in. Fans love this tradition and security must love it too. All in all it was a hell of a show!



Full Album Stream: “Famous For Nothing: A Tribute to Dropkick Murphys”

Today marks the release of “Famous For Nothing: A Tribute to Dropkick Murphys” through TakeAShot Records.

The 18-track album features Dropkick Murphys all performed by different streetpunk, Oi!, and folk musicians including The Lucky Ones, East End Radicals, Ramshackle Army, Brain Damage, and many more. This is a great chance to hear your favorite DKM songs in a different light.

You can stream the whole ‘compilation’ below.

Dropkick Murphys’ last full-length album, “Signed And Sealed With Blood”, was released in 2013 through the band’s own Born & Bred Records.



DS Photo Gallery: Bryan McPherson, Syndey Ducks, Blood or Whiskey, and Dropkick Murphys at The Warfield, SF

***sometimes stories get lost in the interweb – this is a photo gallery / review for a show back in November***

I caught the last end of Bryan McPherson‘s set because I was interviewing Blood or Whiskey, but what I was able to catch was amazing. Even though it was only one man, one guitar, and one voice, there might as well have been an orchestra behind him with the power he was belting out. Political, heartfelt, gritty, he had it all, or at least whatever we all look to in a punk singer-songwriter. He rips it. Classic Americana sound with his harmonica and acoustic guitar. It kind of seemed like Bryan McPherson was a weird choice to start the night, but when you actually sit back and think about it, it was a perfect fit. He’s got that same ‘thing’ that all the other bands have. This kind of working class, stick to your roots mentality. Maybe because it was election day I don’t know, but there was something that got the crowd hootin and hollerin and ready for the next band to take the stage, Syndey Ducks.

I had just seen Sydney Ducks a couple weeks before at the Pirates Press ‘Rock The Ship’ party, and it was awesome. I always get excited to see my local bands play locally. They always rock. They have that traditional, street sound that I really love. Front man puts on a great show, the bass lines are driving, it’s just good fuckin’ punk with amazing energy.

Blood or Whiskey was next to the stage, and despite the lack of familiarity with the group, fans got pretty damn rowdy and even made one of the largest circle pits I had seen at the Warfield. They killed it in my opinion. They mix a little bit more ska in their latest album, and they’re doing it good. The band ended with “Poxy Pub”, one of my favorites. I hadn’t seen these guys since 2009 at Rebellion (where they are an annual staple), and hearing “Poxy Pub” again live brought all the memories coming back. Expect to see more from these guys as they have been approved for a lengthy band visa, and on the heels of this Dropkick Murphys tour, I believe they will become a household name.

Have a look at all the shots from the night’s events below.



10 Great Punk Songs About Hockey!

Anyone who knows me knows I like my sports history. Hell, I’m trying to get a doctorate in the subject. I love all sports and their long histories: rugby, football, soccer, baseball, cricket–even the biathlon speaks to me with its beautiful mixture of skiing and guns.

Above them all is a special place in my heart reserved for hockey. My first sporting event was at the good ol’ Brendan Byrne Arena to watch the New Jersey Devils take on The New York Rangers in ’93. My heart skipped a beat when I heard the Devils won the cup in ’95 while living in the not-so-frozen landscape of Arizona at age 8. Would you believe me if I told you a woman got me back into the game after the lockout in 2005? It has sparked intense friendships, intense rivalries and led to challenges of my honor. Most people in the US of A could care less about hockey, and yet punk bands love singing about them!

Punk bands love hockey! They love the hits! They love the regionalism! They modify logos of their favorite teams for merch! Read on ya hoosiers, here are some punk puck-centric songs.

Check it out below.



Dropkick Murphys add Bryan “Banned By Disney” McPherson as support for upcoming Celtic Punk Invasion tour

©Jo M. Wood Photography 2014

As if you needed more of a reason to check out the European leg of Dropkick Murphys‘ upcoming Celtic Punk Invasion tour, today brings with it the announcement that the already-awesome lineup just got awesomer.

California-based Boston native Bryan McPherson has been added to round out the lineup that already included the Dropkicks being supported by The Mahones and Blood Or Whiskey. McPherson, who’s perhaps best (or at least most recently) known for getting banned by Disney on a previous Dropkicks tour, recently had a Kickstarter campaign for his upcoming album “Wedgewood” exceed his fundraising goals.

The first European dates on the Celtic Punk Invasion tour kicks off February 3rd in Eindhoven, Netherlands, and wraps up February 22nd in Koln, Germany. Full info here.

 



Skate and Surf 2015 unveils line up

The folks at Skate and Surf have announced the initial 2015 lineup, featuring Dropkick Murphys, The Front Bottoms, The Wonder Years, The Story So Far, Modern Baseball, and many more. You can check out the flyer for the weekend below.

Skate and Surf Festival will take place on May 16 and May 17, 2015 in Asbury Park, NJ. You can buy your tickets here.



Punk Rock Bowling announces headliners for 2015 festival

Punk Rock Bowling, Las Vegas’ 3-day punk rock festival, has announced three big acts for the 2015 show:  Boston’s Dropkick Murphys, Swedish punks Refused, and Rancid.  In years past, PRB organizers release the full lineup over the course of a few months, so we’ll  keep you posted as more bands are announced.

Tickets for this year’s festival don’t go on sale until January, so save up those dollars.  You can see some photos from last year’s shows here and here.



Dropkick Murphys cancel show after tragedy

©Jo M. Wood Photography 2014The Dropkick Murphys canceled the Tulsa date on their current tour after a horrible tragedy occurred while the band was en route from Texas. Based on reports, a man ran out on the highway and was struck and killed by the band’s tour bus. You can read the full statement from the band below. As of now, it seems as though the rest of the tour will continue as planned.

Our thoughts are with all involved.



Bryan McPherson banned from opening for Dropkick Murphys at House Of Blues Anaheim

Bostonian-turned-Californian folk-punk singer-songwriter Bryan McPherson has once again been tabbed (along with Blood Or Whiskey) as an opener for Dropkick Murphys on their upcoming eleven-date tour that runs from California to Oklahoma. Thanks to the long arm of the law that is The Walt Disney Company, McPherson will only be playing ten of the eleven dates. McPherson took to Facebook to explain:

BANNED by Disney!!! Well holy fucking shit people, I just got Banned from playing the Anaheim show (editor’s note: show date is November 5th) by Disney since the venue is in their complex. The reason? My “Anti-political police views and drug insinuation”. Well I’m honored they actually listened to the words. I’m floored. What an honor!!!

We’ve reached out to Disney, LiveNation and the House of Blues in Anaheim for comment (seriously…we have!). As of this writing, it’s been all radio silence, but we’ll keep you posted. Head below for the full tour rundown.



Dropkick Murphys announce Celtic Punk Invasion Tour w/ The Mahones & Blood Or Whiskey

Boston Celtic punk icons Dropkick Murphys have just announced the Celtic Punk Invasion Tour, which will see the band playing shows in the eastern United States, and in the UK with support from The Mahones and Blood Or Whiskey.

Details on all the dates and locations can be found below (highlights include 5 hometown shows and 2 St. Paddy’s Day shows in Ireland).

Dropkick Murphys’ latest full-length album Signed And Sealed With Blood was released last year through their own Born & Bred Records. Our review of the record can be found over here.



Dropkick Murphys to live stream tonight’s show in Portland, Oregon

©Jo M. Wood Photography 2014Boston Celtic punk icons Dropkick Murphys have announced they will be streaming the show they’re playing at Portland, Oregon’s Roseland Theater tonight live on Yahoo Screen.

All you’ve gotta do to watch is head over here at 10pm Pacific / 12am Central / 1am Eastern.

The band’s latest full-length Signed And Sealed With Blood was released last year through their own Born & Bred Records. All their upcoming tour dates can be found here.



DS Interview: Rick Barton opens up on writing new Continental music, early Dropkick Murphys days, and being the best man he can be

Rick Barton is always searching.

The longtime veteran of the Boston punk rock scene finds himself on the perpetual quest to be the best man that he could be. To be brutally honest, this quest has come with its fair share of trials and tribulations. As Barton sings on “Busted,” which appears on his band Continental‘s upcoming album Millionaires,  he may have “been dumb more times than (he has) been smart.” And yet, with age of course comes wisdom. The original Dropkick Murphys‘ guitarist has taken his lumps over the years, but seems to continue to learn from his mistakes from an unlikely source: Facebook?

Boston-area music fans may know of the maelstrom that Barton created in a serious of rather opinionated posts on the social networking site last Spring (the details of which will not be discussed here…ask around). “Anybody can do whatever the hell they want,” Barton recounts. “That’s the one thing I learned about my debacle on Facebook; anyone can do whatever they want, I don’t even care. I just know that I have to do what I have to do for myself.”

And that’s what Barton continues to do. Dying Scene caught up with Barton a few times over the last week or so to discuss Continental’s upcoming album, to get a little bit into his history as a songwriter, particularly with Continental and Dropkick Murphys, and to discuss his goals for his current project (which, as you should know, features his son Stephen on bass). The result, as to be expected, was as straight-forward, honest and compelling as you’d expect. Barton continues to wear his heart on his sleeve, which we generally celebrate as a scene. Unless, of course, that heart makes us uncomfortable, which is on us, not on him. Check out our conversation below!