The Dropkick Murphys bring bold punk rock sound to Canopy Club
If you didn't know the Dropkick Murphys were born and bred in the Boston area, it wouldn't take you long to find out. From the bagpipes, punk rock style, and explicit reference to their hometown, the Dropkick Murphys exude Bostonian pride and an aggressive northeast swagger.
The band's drummer, Matt Kelly, is even a true Bostonian when he speaks: His words carry more than a hint of a Boston accent.
But that doesn't stop fans from all over the world from connecting with their music.
"They can't relate to us on an exact level as far as us being born around Boston and growing up in that sort of area and that sort of culture," Kelly said. "But people relate to us because they have pride in where they come from and their towns. There's a lot more to it than just being from a town."
The band, now with seven members, was started in 1996 in Massachusetts.
"Ken (Casey) started the band. He had one song, he had an idea, and he had a place he wanted to go with that," Kelly said. "Basically started off in the basement of a barbershop."
Since the band's start, the Dropkick Murphys have released seven studio albums and have another set to drop in January 2013. The band has also had music featured on the soundtrack of three Academy Award-winning films. The band's song, "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" was the anthem for Martin Scorsese's 2006 film "The Departed." Since that film, the band has gained much more mainstream attention.
"After the movie, people were going bananas over it," Kelly said. "We're like acceptable to the normal people now, which is hilarious," he said.
The band's sound certainly isn't mainstream as much as it is unique and energizing. Kelly described the Dropkick Murphys' aesthetic as "aggressive" and "street punk with a twist," two elements that he promises the band carried through on its newest album, "Signed and Sealed in Blood."
"We're really psyched about it. The album before (this one), 'Going Out In Style,' there were four years between the last record and that. But ... the creative juices were still flowing, and we still had all of these ideas," Kelly said. "Where 'Going Out In Style' was a concept record with a lot of deep meaning with everything being tied into the concept of the story, this album doesn't have those parameters. It's just straight up punk rock."
The band will be playing a number of songs from its newest album at the upcoming concert at the Canopy Club in Urbana.
"The audiences have been amazing as far as their responses to the new stuff. People aren't just sitting through it and being quiet about it — they're actually getting into it," Kelly said. "It's definitely the sound that we are known for. Big choruses, singalong choruses, aggressive.
"We just kind of sat back when (this album) was done and were like, 'This is really special and we're really excited about it,'" he said.
Concertgoers who caught the Dropkick Murphys show a few years ago can expect a night full of entertainment.
"If you saw us last time, it's going to be a completely different set," Kelly said. "We'll make sure of that. We don't play the same set twice. An hour and a half of adrenaline and energy. Expect to hear some new songs. Expect to hear some old songs, and everything in between."
But the band also has something in store for those who haven't heard its music before.
Despite an aggressive sound, band members have a compassionate side. As an addition to their tour, the band is asking fans to consider donating to the Claddagh Fund or contributing on its Facebook page to help support the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
A visit to the Claddagh Fund website proves that the band takes charity every bit as seriously as their music. And according to the drummer, their performances are no joke.
"You're going to see something unique, and we're going to give 1,000 percent on stage," Kelly said. "And if we didn't, we wouldn't be doing this."
If you go
Who: The Dropkick Murphys, with Teenage Bottlerocket and The Mahones
When: 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16
Where: Canopy Club, 708 S. Goodwin Ave., U
Tickets: $28 in advance; $30 at the door
Of note: Must be 18 to enter
Also: The band is raising funds for those affected by Hurricane Sandy; you can donate on the band's Facebook page or at http://www.claddaghfund.org/