Celtic Punk Invasion Tour, Zurich 2015 featuring the DropKick Murphys, The Mahones, Blood or Whiskey and lots and lots of beer
Hot off the heels of the concert in Buttisholz, and the craic with Keltikon, we ventured into Zurich the week after to attend the mad cap “Celtic Punk Invasion Tour” extravaganza of the Dropkick Murphys, with support from The Mahones and Blood Or Whiskey.
Before I start, I must mention that the sound set up for the first two bands was atrocious, and whether it was the small venue or the acoustics didn’t travel or what, but it was near impossible for the audience to hear what was played clearly. Unless you were standing directly in line with the stage you could not evidently hear what was played, just a mass of noise. (Some might say isn’t that what punk is anyway!)
First up were the Irish band Blood Or Whiskey. Now to be fair I didn’t know a whole lot about this band, only that they have got generally good reviews on the odd punk sites I have seen. Blood Or Whiskey are from Ireland, they seem to have been touring for a long time, and have made a bit of a name of themselves on the Celt punk scene. They play a kind of traditional set mixed up with out and out punk/rock, but recently have started to mix some ska, reggae and dub into their sounds.
But what I can say that for a support act they certainly got the crowd going. The lead singer Dugs Mulhooly definitely can work a crowd, and gave a very high tempo lead performance, that had the horde worked up into a frenzy. Full of energy, and a lot of good fun.
After Blood and Whiskey, came The Mahones, the Canadian Irish punk band, formed on St. Patrick’s Day in 1990 in Ontario. There is a great on stage chemistry between lead singer Finny McConnell and accordion player Katie “Kaboom”, both lightning up the stage with their music.
It wasn’t the first-time I had seen The Mahones live, and they always give a good set of rousing tunes. Another hour of high octane music followed.
Two bands, two hours or there abouts of jumping round like a maniac, would we have any energy for the Dropkicks?
So onto the DropKick Murphys, the main stars of the gig, the Bostonian rockers, and probably the most famous of all the Celtic punk bands out there at the moment. Funnily enough the sound for their set immediately rectified itself! They came out all guns a blazing, and we had another hour of head banging, foot thumping tunes. Great fun, good amount of moshing (women worse than the fellas!), and all done in the best of (punk) spirits. And the finale was something else, lead singer Ken Casey invited all the ladies to the stage for their encore of “Kiss Me I’m Shitfaced”, and the stage was packed to the rafters, a great way to end a very energetic and mad capped night. We passed over our football night that evening, but it felt like we did more than enough of jumping round like mad fellas to negate any exercise we might have missed!
Before and afterwards we had a bit of a chit chat with some of the members of both the Mahones and the Blood or Whiskey guys. Didn’t do a real interview as understandably they were all jack tired with the very demanding European tour they were on, and you clearly see that sometimes the life on tour is tough.
The little chat we did have was cool though, and both bands were very courteous to all their fans, hanging around, signing CD’s, tees, and the like, and sharing the banter. Cheesy I know, but what a great bunch of lads, ha!
So overall three kick ass bands, over 3 hours of great rocking tunes, battered and bruised, we missed the last train out of Zurich, but not to worry we got the early morning one packed with commuters!
Managed to buy the latest Blood and Whiskey album, ‘Tell The Truth And Shame The Devil’ (2014)
Cracking album, here is the review (from our mates in London Celtic Punks who have kindly let us reproduce it here)
Six years since their last EP and nine since their last LP news of the upcoming release of this, Blood Or Whiskeys 4th studio album, kind of took us all by surprise here. After such a long time of inactivity the news was literally music to our ears!
Formed way back in 1993 in Leixlip, County Kildare, Ireland they were one of the original celtic-punk bands and have inspired most of what passes for celtic/folk punk in the scene in the last 20 years. Sneered at by the purists at home in Ireland for trying to make traditional music more relevant they escaped to the continent and the States and years of heavy touring. Eventually that took its toil and the line up changes over the years have become legendary! Legal battles with their record labels, the untimely death of band member Alan Confrey and those line up changes all contributed to the bands lengthy hiatus. All a great shame as they seemed at the time to be well on the way to if not international stardom at least international punk rock stardom. Several appearances at Rebellion Festivals around Europe had seen their popularity blossom but then it all came to a grinding halt. So it was good news to hear the imminent release of this but is the weight of expectation too great?
Well for your coin you get 11 songs clocking in at 33 minutes and from the very start its that original Blood Or Whiskey sound we love so much. Have to add though they aint just gone back and re-recorded one of their old albums because they now sound like a hybrid of Pogues/Clash/Specials. From the first track ‘Dirty Aul War’ the ska beats collide with the punk which collide with trad sounds but all in that unmistakable BorW way. The addition of brass instruments later on in the track ‘Gone Or Forgotten’ is genius.
Touches of dub in ‘Seanie O’Keefe’ show the bands progression musically despite having both feet firmly in the celtic-punk scene as Chris states in their recent interview in Shite’n’Onions
“Yes we are without doubt a part of the Celtic Punk scene simply by the instruments that we have in the group and that is a good thing, it always makes me smile when I see how far Irish music and our culture has travelled, we have played everywhere from the US to Japan and all over Europe and every where we go there is a love for this small nation it makes you proud to be Irish and proud of all the great music and musicians from Ireland that came before us and managed to influence people all over the world. Going from what I have just said the Celtic punk scene makes me personally proud to be Irish as it shows me how the rest of the world loves and enjoys Irish music and culture. I’m not sure why there has not been many other bands from Ireland playing Celtic Punk because you do get other bands mixing folk with rock etc just not so many doing the Celtic Punk thing. Maybe it’s because the Punk scene isn’t as big here in Ireland as it is in the likes of the US and Europe, mainly due to the size of our population I suppose.”
The album never gets going in a punk rock way in the same vein as say ‘Cashed Out On Culture’ but there’s plenty here to have you leaping around your living rooms and their almost certain to come rocking up near to where you live wherever in the world that is!
The boys have self funded the release themselves so they’re gonna be doing plenty of touring to flog it but you can get it from all the usual places so check the links at the end. ‘Emigrant’ is the obligatory song about the scourge of emigration that has haunted the Irish race for centuries now. ‘Cannibal Economy’ and a instrumental ‘Black Pits’ bring the album to a close and its over way too early. A massive return to form and cant wait to see them live now. Glad to have you back Blood Or Whiskey go straight to the front of the queue.
Original article here
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