November 10, 2012

Dropkick Murphys at the Spokane, WA Knitting Factory

Dropkick Murphy's Tour
My wife's birthday was earlier this week and her birthday wish was to see the Dropkick Murphys in concert.  She was able to get tickets to their November 7th performance in Spokane, WA.

I took care of the car and the hotel for the trip and did all of the driving.  We left Wednesday morning and got back late Thursday night.

It was an interesting trip.
Now I don't mind driving, but 430 miles up to Spokane in a crappy rental car was pushing it.  I knew shortly after leaving town I didn't like the car and I should have just gone and exchanged it for a better one.....but I didn't.  My sore knee and sore ass from the hard-as-a-rock armrest and poorly padded chairs....all my fault.  If you rent cars much at all and you want to get one of the more fuel-efficient models, stay away from the Chevy Aveo.

The drive up was uneventful and we got to the hotel early enough that we could get a meal and then show up way too early to pickup our tickets from Will Call.  The information we got from the Knitting Factory staff seemed hit-or-miss and we missed out on an opportunity to get into the venue early.

Like many venues, the drinks were really overpriced, the seating non-existent, and it was a bit on the warm side.  We managed to find a good spot on the upper balcony where we could get a good view of the stage, but there was nowhere to sit.  From our vantage spot we could see they had a lot of seating stacked up to the side of the stage, but heaven forbid that they could put more stools out.

The warm-up acts for the Dropkick Murphys, The Mahones & Teenage Bottlerocket sucked pretty hard.  I think if I was able to listen to their music on CD I might have a better opinion of their work, especially with The Mahones, but as-performed at the show.....ugh.  You know the old saying that if the music is too loud then you are too old?  Well it was too loud, and I don't think I'm too old.  The music was loud, but the problem was that the guitars and the drums were overpowering.  For The Mahones I could not hear a single word they sung.  Hell, I wasn't even able to hear the name of the band.  They could have been called "Charlie Brown's Teacher" for all I knew.

Once The Mahones cleared out their gear Teenage Bottlerocket got to play.  I don't think I'd care for their music as much, but at least I was able to hear some of their words.....some being the operative word.  When they cleared out their gear there was more room on the stage for the Dropkick Murphys.  I was able to hear far more of their words being sung, but there was still a lot of garbling going on.  When they had the bagpipes or flute playing I could barely hear that as well.  The sound mixing was just way off.  If I hadn't already known a lot of the music already I probably would have been extremely disappointed.

The Dropkick Murphys did put on a helluva show though.  They moved between songs so fast I was surprised that they were able to keep up the pace.  We did get to hear a few new songs that will be coming on their next album out in January, including a new Christmas song that was pretty awesome. That one will be available just after Thanksgiving.

Kiss Me, I'm Shitfaced
At the end of the show, what I think was an encore, they brought up on stage a bunch of women from the audience and sang, "Kiss Me, I'm Shitfaced".  I was most impressed with the show at this point.  First, as this was going on, one of the Knitting Room waitresses was going around and giving out ice water to those she had served earlier.  I was hot and thirsty at the time and this gesture was pretty awesome.  What also impressed me was how the band was up on stage.  Some of the band moved more to the back to make room for more fans onstage and the lead singer made a fuss while singing, never dropping a note.  He gestured up a stage-hand to sit at the far corner of the stage and make sure the two small kids who had come up on stage were safe from falling off the edge.  You could see the stage-hand interacting with the kids, and it seemed they were all having as much fun as the semi (or completely) drunken chicks further along the stage.

We got home after the concert and crashed at the hotel.  In the morning we had breakfast with a friend of ours that lives in Spokane and after a short game of Munchkin Quest we got on the road late (3 PM).  Although we had plenty of time to get back, there was a storm-front moving in and the first pass over the mountains was far trickier than I'd have liked.

Obviously we got back ok.

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