A bit of class here from Scottish troubadour Hugh Morrison. Some of you may know Hugh from Texas Celtic-folk rockers Murder the Stout or his long standing collaboration with the Street Dogs. The Other Side sees Hugh take his interpretation of the Scottish tradition on a road trip from his base in Texas to The Big Easy picking up the sounds of New Orleans and south Louisiana along the way – Cajun fiddle, horn and lap steel guitar – then blending them into his original Celtic folk-rock. Like I said class here – a lot of it.
I’ve seen The Briggs before, when I saw them open for Street Dogs on their Maiden Voyage Tour last year, and they were decent. When I saw them last, I’d just seen Dropkick Murphys two days before, and I’d seen so much bad punk (the opening acts) over a three-day span I was getting sick of the genre.
Same here — not bad, but I was here to see the last two bands. The Briggs got a lot of support from the crowd — apparently a lot of people were there to see this on this particular night. The band (who I don’t know as much about as I should) has a pirate theme (singer Joey LaRocca came out onstage in a captain’s hat that I think Ted Knight wore in “Caddyshack”), but I couldn’t tell if that made any difference in the music at all.
The last time I saw the Street Dogs was a year ago, and I had forgotten how good they were as a live band (though that show was in the now defunct Venom in St. Petersburg in front of about 20 people — sadly the night of Game 7 between the Red Sox and Yankees). The Briggs had asked the obligatory “Are you ready for Flogging Molly?” and also said, “And the Street Dogs are here!” The former got a big cheer, the latter barely anything (except for maybe me). So I wondered how many people there had heard of them. Not surprisingly, Mike McColgan makes the band a great live act, stalking the stage like a predator. He actually would give a nod to the fans who were singing the songs, pointing to them and thumping his chest in a show of appreciation.
The Boston band started with “Savin Hill” and moved right into “Jakes” and “Cut Down On the 12th” and a few of us were rocking out. You could tell who knew the band and who didn’t, but I heard a lot of people behind me singing along with McColgan. Other highlights: McColgan actually came out into the crowd to sing the start of “Fighter”, and had Flogging Molly’s Matt Hensley guest on a new song, “Tale of Mass Deception.” A great performance from one of the best live bands I’ve seen recently— I wish Street Dogs had more material, and am very much looking forward to their new “Back to the World” due in January 2005.
Ah yes, then Flogging Molly came out much to the delight of the crowd, which seemed like the majority had a two-page paper on the Louisiana Purchase due next week. They are also one of the The crush near the stage was impressive. I saw them at the Masquerade in Tampa back in March and I didn’t remember it being this bad. It of course was claustrophobic, hot, humid and sweaty. (After the show, my fingers wrinkled like I was swimming — I forget, is this normal?)
But though I was glad to be out of the mass at the end, I was disappointed the show was not longer. The songs from the new CD that you would imagine are great live songs — “Screaming at the Wailing Wall”, “Seven Deadly Sins”, “The Light From a Fading Star”, “Whistles The Wind” and “Tomorrow Comes A Day Too Soon” — didn’t disappoint.
Of course, the new material means that some of the songs I enjoyed in the past may have faded from their live repetoire, most notably in my case, “The Worst Day Since Yesterday.” In any event, they didn’t play it this night.
How Dave King (and the rest of Flogging Molly, for that matter) does this night after night almost mystifies me. If I started high-stepping like he did during Dennis Casey’s guitar solo on “Black Friday Rule”, I’d be sore for days.
Lastly, I’ve seen Flogging Molly five times in the past two years, and every time, I’ve seen some of the the band interacting with the fans before or after the show. I cannot overstate how much I appreciate this. (To be fair, Street Dogs and The Briggs were also hanging around the merchandise counter after the show, so props to them too.)
Hopefully, we’ll see Street Dogs and Flogging Molly hook up again for a show — it’s a great combination.
As an aside, the show also had a film presentation from Jello Biafra’s Punk Voter organization that got cheers from the Bush haters in the crowd, laughs for a Will Ferrell impression of Bush and elicited at least one shout of “Fuck politics!” So, um, vote. Or something.
Review by Rob Shore
December 23, 2010
Somewhat a secret gig this one – a fund-raiser for the Boston Fire Fighters Fallen Veterans Fund – the gig was billed as Continental, The Fenian Sons and Special Guests. It wasn’t hard to figure out who the special guests were – punk-rockers, firefighters and ex-members of Dropkick Muphys (and especially since Continental opened for The Street Dogs at the legendary Paradise club the prior night).
Up first were Boston’s The Fenian Sons playing for the first time “over the river” in the Peoples Republic of Cambridge. Solid workman-like Irish ballad/rock group – most of the songs were well know standards with a few originals mixed in – “Boston Irish” was a stand out. I’ll definitely go see these guys again.
10.00 saw Rick Barton and his new band Continental hit the stage and they hit the stage hard. It would be unfair to call these guys a great punk band cos that would be so limiting – maybe a great LOUD rock’n’roll band. Barton at 50 (and he proudly told us so. A lot.) plays with the energy and passion of a man half his age in fact I’d say most 25 year olds would struggle to keep up and certainly would not have the shitty life experiences that Barton bleeds through his songs. Unfortunately, the Patriots football game as playing on a big screen behind the bar and as good as the band were the game as a bigger draw.
The Street Dogs were wise enough to come on after the game ended, ensuring full attention from all. Now, the last (and only time) I saw the Street Dogs play was opening for The Pogues in Boston’s Orphium theater a few years back – big stage, empty seats cos most of punters were off buying booze somewhere else prior to The Pogues set (opening for The Pogues is tough). Tonight, TTs was the perfect place to see the Street Dogs – a small, sweaty rock club and the band was on fire and the audience lapping it up with moshing and circle pits galore. Mike McColgan was outstanding as a front man and easily broke down the wall of separation between band and audience as he brought friends and punters onto the stage and launched himself off the stage into the crowd.
It was great to hear lots of stuff off the early albums (especially since I haven’t heard the last 2 releases after their label stopped sending me their stuff to review……..bastards) – Jakes, Cutdown on the 12th, Savin Hill. Tonight, the Street Dogs were the best damn rock’n’punk band in the world.
September 15, 2011
John Curtin is the drummer Tin Whistle and Bodhran play for The Gobshites (and a stand-up comic but not with The Gobshites – that’s Pete Walsh’s gig). John posted recently on his blog, “This Is Not A Rant”, an non-rant about the Shamrock-N-Roll Festival stop in Bangor where The Gobshites played – I thought it would be cool to post as a review of the show and an insider view of what was going on. So, in John’s own words……
This weekend was pretty exciting. The Gobshites played Shamrock-N-Roll Festival in Bangor, Maine with headliners Dropkick Murphy’s, as well as Stiff Little Fingers, Street Dogs, the Mahones, Chuck Ragan, and the Parkington Sisters. We were part of the local band “Undercard” that included Pubcrawlers, Bar Stuards, Beantown Boozehounds, and the O’Tooles. Our set wasn’t until 3PM, but we had to be there at 10 in the morning, which meant leaving the house at 5. Ah, the life of a rock star. Due to a couple of last minute cancellations, I ended up playing drums (And a HUGE thanks to the O’Tooles for letting us use their kit. Lifesavers, so y’are!), and we borrowed Travis from the Pubcrawlers (Another big thank you) to play tin whistle.
It was a long day, but boy was it fun. The local bands hung out in the field behind the “B” stage, and it was like a cookout without the grill. Everyone brought their amber-colored liquid of choice (mine, of course, was iced tea), and Jess went into teacher mode and organized the snacks along with the Pubcrawlers’ ladies (Who brought sandwich making materials. We brought plenty of crunchy stuff, plus popcakes and Nutella. We definitely made some converts that day.). Everyone came out to watch each other’s sets, and there was actually a pretty decent sized crown there from the start. We’ve played festivals where no one really shows up until the main acts start, so it was nice to see folks supporting the local acts too. It definitely added to everyone’s energy on stage, which resulted in some really fun sets from everyone.
As for our performance, well, it could have been better in my opinion. But nonetheless, we were well received. Actually, the crowd seemed to appreciate everyone, which was nice. For some reason, I kept dropping sticks. I don’t know if it was exhaustion from the long drive or what, but my right hand just could not seem to get a proper grip on the drumstick. Weird. Plus I could barely hear the rest of the band, so I don’t even know if I was playing in time. Oh well, it’s punk rock, it’s not supposed to be pretty. At least I had the Nutella handy to wash all of my frustrations away…
The main stage started up around 6 or so, with the first act being the Parkington Sisters. Not an act you’d typically expect to see at a show like this. But what they lacked in sonic boom-ness, they made up for in profanity. There’s just something about a hot chick that can wail on a fiddle and swear like a stevedore. I’ve been listening to a lot of rootsy music lately, so they were a welcome interlude. Not everyone liked them, but Jess and I did, so they made at least two fans that day. Mahones were up next. We opened for them in Boston last Summer, but I unfortunately had to miss that show, so this was actually the first time I’d ever seen them live. Wow, they put on a great show. Their whistle player is simply amazing, and their accordion player was lively and leggy. Mama’s got a squeezebox, indeed.
Chuck Ragan had a good set, although I had gone to get dinner during much of it. His low growl and emotion really drove his folk punk songs. I need to pick up some of his music. We’ve played withStreet Dogs before, and they’re about as good a punk rock band as there is nowadays. Mike and Johnny really know how to fire up a crowd, everybody was moving and having a good time during their set. If they come to your town, make sure you don’t miss it. For reals, these guys scorched the stage.
The band I was most excited to see was Stiff Little Fingers. Punk rock legends. Northern Ireland’s answer to The Clash. As with the Mahones, I had to miss the show we opened for them a few months ago, so this was a second chance to bask in the glow of one of my all time favorite bands. They pulled out almost all the hits. I found myself singing along like a twelve year old girl at a Justine Bieber concert (No, I’m not linking to his website.).
We didn’t stay for the entire Dropkick Murphy’s set, because by then we’d been walking around and rocking out for nearly 12 hours. So I missed the acoustic part of the show, and the part where Ken Casey stepped on my friend Gina’s head (She’s fine, she actually got kind of psyched about it.). I’ve seen them many many times, and they’re a great live act, but we were totally spent and decided to call it a night. Luckily, Jess has family not too far away, so we sacked out there with two of the biggest dogs I’ve ever seen and a kitten with double paws, who seemed and acted like a long lost relative of Finn.
Sunday’s drive home was long, but fun (I retained my Punchbuggy crown), and we ended the weekend at Secret Society Tattoo and Art Gallery in Worcester. They were having an art opening for a local artist, and Jess was pouring the whisky (she spells it without the “E”, so I will too). The food was good, and I met some cool folks from the Worcester arts scene. Jeff Gemma and Danny Gunns, the guys who do the ink slinging there, were in attendance (Jeff is actually the owner), and it was a cool, laid back way to finish the weekend.
Tonight, the Gobshites try out a new drummer, and we’re playing out on the deck again this Friday at Mick Morgan’s in Sharon. Last time there was an absolute blast, so I’m definitely looking forward to this show. Stop by and say hi if you can.
Souveniers are available in the gift shop…
September 9, 2010
On Robert Burns Rocks, Hugh presents us with a collection of tradition Scottish ballads – heavy on the accordion with the gruff vocals of Hugh supported by both members of Murder the Stout and the guitar of Johnny Rioux of The Street Dogs (Hugh has played and toured with The Street Dogs). In summary,Robert Burns Rocks is a folk-rock kick up the arse to the Scottish ballad tradition from a pair of size 11 Doc Martins.
History is full of “what if questions”. What if JFK wasn’t assinated? Would the US have got so intangled in Vietnam? What if Al Gore had won the Florida re-count? Would we be in Iraq today? What if Mike McColgan hadn’t left the Dropkick Murphys to join the Boston Fire Department? Well the first two questions I can only guess at. Yes, we would have got as deeply involved in Vietnam and it would have been as messey. And no we wouldn’t be in Iraq but we’d still be in the shitter. The one question I can answer with certainty is the DKM’s would have followed up “Do or Die” with something that would sounds pretty similiar to “Savin Hill”. In fact it’s closer to “Do or Die” then anything the Dropkicks have done in a while. This is fifteen tracks of fist pumping, chant-it-out, punk anthems that bring alive Savin Hill (also known as Stab’n’Kill,) the tough blue collar Irish-American neighborhood that Mike calls home. Possiably, the best rock’n’roll album I’ll hear this year.
Yes I know I’m late to the plate with this review of Back to the World, but I certainly have a fresh take on this CD. After rifling through the racks at Newbury Comics this afternoon I found that there really isn’t anything new out there for us lovers of the shamrock rock. So I grabbed the new Street Dogs, because I liked there Savin Hill full length and there two EP’s they put out, however there was a slight problem with all the there stuff I bought when I saw them live for the first time at a Flogging Molly show in Boston. The problem I found with them was there lack of material. What do I mean by that? Well the problem popped it’s head on this album as well, they are a phenomenal group, and Mike was everything I loved about the Dropkick Murphy’s, but maybe they may have wanted to expand their song book before pushing this CD as a new album.
Most the tracks here are somewhere else, on another CD, somewhere on an EP or on Savin Hill their first full length. I’m a little disappointed by this, but I didn’t let it get in the way of enjoying what was new, and there were a few really great songs. Before I catch crap for this, I do realize this was a major release as opposed to the smaller more local releases they have come out with over the past few years. That’s why when I looked over the track list in the store I bought it in I weighed the decision to buy it in support of the band or just pass it up until something else came along. Well I bought it; I want to see these guys do well.
As far as the songs on the CD as they are, they were produced very well. This band is incredibly tight and Mike I swear turns every band he’s into gold! The band has a sound that the Dropkick Murphy’s should have stuck with, not their slow change to a traditional Irish music cover band. Its funny how most Irish rock bands start with little original music, and rock out trad songs to fill time in sets, and here’s the Dropkicks going in the opposite direction. But the Street Dogs struck out as a rock band and I‘m sure they are going to make it big. Just as long as their sitting around writing more songs when they are not touring we need more of the Street Dogs!
Review – Therover413
“Fading America Dream” is the third release in four years from Boston’s (though now LA based) Street Dogs. While I thought the first Street Dogs release was a street fighting punk classic, it’s follow up “Back to the World”, while good, fell short of the lofty heights of number 1. “Fading America Dream” like “Back to the World” is a strong punk release – very much in the vein of Dropkick Murphys (Mike McColgan’s era of course), Rancid or The Bouncing Souls – but still no “Savin Hill”. Fans of Celtic punk should note “Shards of Light” with Flogging Molly’s Matt Hensley and James Fearnley of The Pogues helping out.
Like a blast of fresh air over that steaming pile of shit some people like to call the music industry, The Street Dogs are welcomed like an animal lover with a fenced yard, walking into the pound with a smile on their face. This has to be the greatest way to start off the new year! Hell, I was still shaking off the cobwebs of New Year’s Eve, when I stumbled down to the mailbox, and opened up a package containing The new Street Dogs album. I guess you could say I was caught odd guard. (You should have heard how loud I barked “Holy Shit” when I saw the album!) Speaking of being caught off guard, that could explain my reaction when I first heard the early demos that eventually became “Savin Hill.” All I could say for the rest of the day was “McColgan’s Back!!!”
When The Street Dogs came to town last fall, I was more prepared. It was their first time coming to Portland. Playing moments after Boston won the World Series, The Street Dogs were in high spirits, and it showed. (Hell, after the Briggs played, there was about a 45 minute break between bands… We were all downstairs in the bar, watching the game on the big screen!) I never got around to writing a concert review of that gig. (The Briggs, Street Dogs, Flogging Molly) I think I was too busy listening to “Savin Hill”… The greatest record of 2003.
Well guess what, “Back To The World” is even better!
Sticking to the same formula as their previous efforts. “Back To The World” covers all the important subjects. Sounding more polished than ever, The Street Dogs have once again, lit the fuse and blew the God-Damned roof off.
Here’s a quick teaser, until the album hits stores Jan. 25th.
1. Strike A Blow:
An assult on the current state of music. A song about bringing new life to the radio.
2. You Alone:
A song dedicated to Greg Riley A.K.A. Chickenman.
3. In Defense Of Dorchester:
Hometown pride. You can hear this one on The Street Dogs website. One of my favorites.
4. Back To The World:
Obviously the title track, “Back To The World” is a soldiers tale about the current mess in the Middle East, wishing he could get back to his wife, & kids. This one really hits home.
5. Tale Of Mass Deception:
After telling us a tale about a soldier’s story in the previous track, The Street Dogs blast our current so-called “leaders”.With a bit of the accordian mixed in for good measure, “Tale Of Mass Deception” starts out like this: “An elaborate con on the common man,
Propelled by your massive media plan.
And I can see your hostile takeover, greed and your lies.
Turning what I love, into what I despise.”
(You can also hear this one on The Street Dogs website)
6. Drink Tonight:
After the last couple of songs, it’s time to take a break and have a drink or two. “Drink Tonight” is obviously a drinkin’ song, a very good drinking song. Turn up the volume to 11, and hold on, it’s the hardest hitting track on the record!
A song about a crusty old WWII Vet sitting at the end of the bar, bitter & drunk. I can almost picture this guy.
8. White Collar Fraud:
Ever worked in an office (Or anywhere for that matter!) with a backstabbing asshole who sucks up to the boss, and does anything they possibly can to get ahead. Well, this is a song about that guy. (I hate that guy…)
Remember that guy in school that aced every test with ease, and had the whole world in the palm of his hand, only to blow it on drugs, drinking, and general fast lane living? Well, this is a song about that guy.
10. Pull The Pin:
I very well could have missed the entire point, but what I got outta this one was it’s about a guy at the end of his rope with a gernade, and he’s about to pull the pin.(Or something to that effect.)
11. Hands Down:
A real man doesn’t strike a woman. It’s about keeping your hands down, and talking about it peacefully. A real man doesn’t beat his wife. No matter what!
12. Union & The Law:
What’s wrong with being treated fairly? You knew it was coming eventually, this is a Pro-Union song giving a voice for the working man. “Union & The Law” is about exposing the current problems with “company downsizing.”
Holy shit, 3 days into 2005, and I have already heard the best album of the year! The Street Dogs will be touring this winter with Social Distortion. I’m sure you all will have tickets.
Review by: Brian Gillespie
Abbey Lounge Records is a spin off label of The Abbey Lounge, a dive venue in Somerville, MA that helped launch Street Dogs. Street Dogs contribute 2 tacks, “Savin Hill”, which in my opinion is an absolute punk classic (if punk can be classic that is) and the previously unreleased “One of a kind”, which is good. Female fronted The Dents provide the other 2 tracks of high energy punk’n’roll.