Two iconic punk bands converged on Coney Island Sunday night as the coolest punk tour of the last 5 years made its way from Brockton to Brooklyn, where Dropkick Murphys and Rancid collided on the From Boston To Berkeley tour that sees the duo tour across the country from – you guessed it, Boston all the way to Berkeley, the respective homes of each band. It’s no secret that I absolutely love Dropkick Murphys, and we covered them earlier this year on the 11 Short Stories tour. It’s also no secret that I absolutely hated the lighting at The Paramount after making the hour-and-a-half drive from Brooklyn, so when I found out DKM would be on tour a second time this year and playing a show quite literally in my backyard, I knew I had to be there to do it again.
I skipped the opener – The Bouncing Souls – because, well, I was being lazy. That’s one of the perks of living 3 blocks from a venue and knowing everyone, you show up any time you want and walk in like you own the place. So that’s exactly what I did, and I rolled in just a few minutes prior to Dropkick Murphys taking the stage. As they’ve done on every show since 11 Short Stories of Pain and Glory was released earlier this year, they kicked off their set with the instrumental The Lonesome Boatsman before rolling right into The Boys are Back, which I have a nasty habit of singing along to in the pit. From there it was I Had a Hat, The Gang’s All Here and the traditional Irish tune Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya.
It’s worth noting that there were a few tunes obviously absent from this run’s setlist, despite the band running through 16 songs in 45 minutes. No Fields of Athenry, no Irish Rover, no Worker’s Song or Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced (I was really hoping for that one, I even had the shirt on!). The latter two at the very least would have been great additions, so not hearing them was something of a disappointment. There was, however, Out of Our Heads, Going Out in Style, I’m Shipping Up to Boston and Until The Next Time to close out their set and make way for Rancid.
Dropkick Murphys on their own are awesome, but after the break we’ll talk about Rancid and the cool stuff that happened at the end of the night.
Now, I like Rancid, but not in the way I love Dropkick Murphys – I like Time Bomb and Ruby Soho, but who doesn’t – so this was always a DKM show for me with the added bonus of seeing California’s native punk band. That said, it’s a punk show that was already in full swing by the time Rancid came on, so it was going to be good no matter what. And it was, despite being unceremoniously ejected from the pit by security after 2 songs due to their inability to handle crowd surfers. 20 songs later, with hits including The 11th Hour, Dead Bodies, Maxwell Murder, Salvation, It’s Quite Alright, Old Friend with Kevin Bivona of The Interrupters on keyboard and many others, it was almost time to go home.
I say almost because it’s generally assumed that on a tour such as this, they’ll be an encore, and there was. However, this was no normal encore. This was a punk rock encore that saw the two main attractions join forces for a whopping four-song encore full of covers ranging from Johnny Cash to New York punk icons The Ramones. The two groups played Cretin Hop, Take ‘Em All by Cock Sparrer, Folsom Prison Blues by the late Cash, and wrapped the whole thing up with If The Kids Are United by Sham 69. And so it was over, almost as quickly as it started, and it was time to go home after just under two hours of time split between DKM and Rancid.
What a great show this was, what a great tour this is, and whoever came up with the idea to pair these two bands on a cross-country journey should be applauded. This is not one to miss, and you should check out the photo gallery below.