The boys were back in town at the New York State Fair. In 2018, Dropkick Murphys was a last minute Chevy Court fill-in for Dickey Betts, who suffered a mild stroke and was unable to perform. Singer Ken Casey announced at the 2018 performance that it was the band’s first state fair appearance. The Boston-based Celtic punk rock band drew a crowd of 13,000 in 2018. This year, they more than doubled that with an estimated 30,200 in attendance. Casey joked that, “We played here last year as a last-minute addition. They invited us back this year. I can tell you, we don’t get invited back too many places.”
Singers Al Barr and Ken Casey traded vocals throughout the evening as they ran back and forth across the stage, getting the crowd amped up. They brought along their traditional entourage of back-up sounds that included an accordion, banjo, keyboard and of course the bagpipes. All punk music should have bagpipes! The Dropkicks played a nice mix of fan favorites and rebel rousing tunes including, “The Boys Are Back,” “The State of Massachusetts,” “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya,” “First Class Loser” and their spin on the traditional Irish song “Black Velvet Band.”
The Dropkicks ripped through 23 songs and kept the crowd on their feet and bouncing along to the music. A quick poll of the audience determined there were many first-time attendees. The band ended their main set with the inspirational union track “Worker’s Song” before coming back to finish off the night. For the encore, Ken Casey let the crowd sing along to the catchy hit “Rose Tattoo.” They rounded out the evening with “Until the Next Time” and ended with their biggest sing along hit, “I’m Shipping Up to Boston.” Singers Casey and Barr ran through the crowd high-fiving fans and inviting them to sing along. The band knows how to make their fans feel welcome and that is why the Dropkicks will keep getting invited back.
Review by: Kelly Besaw
Photos: Chris Besaw