To celebrate the last date of their highly successful tour, or massive date or non-stop partying and chaotic behaviour, this rabble of celtic-punk infused bands hit Birmingham to tear the O2 Academy a new one and remind them exactly why punk is far from dead.
First up are Oi! Band from South Normanton Resistance 77 who despite a measly turn out, being the first up after all, the turn the ante up to eleven and deliver an electrifying and energetic set full of shouting and kicking at other audience-inspiring vocals and attitude that set the initial pace for the evening.
Blood Or Whiskey introduce the celtic punk theme of this invasion tour introducing the pipe to their music to take us right over the pond to Ireland, whilst still instilling punk ideals with gruff vocals, raw lyrics and a tempo so fast if you head-banged to every beat your skull would disintegrate, and there’s also the neat blending of a banjo into the mix if you like your music as weird as it comes.
After such a clean and concise set from Blood Or Whiskey, The Mahones are quite the opposite. Celebrating 25 years since their inception, they take to the stage kicking, screaming and shouting… And that’s just their ever-lively accordion player. They deliver an eclectic and raucous set that feels like it both could have been made up on the spot as it is spontaneous and unpredictable, but also thought out for weeks and months as it holds a quiet control and calm as they flow through song to song in epic fashion, before ending on a touching and tear-jerking ode to their late bassist Paul “Cuzo” Mancuso.
Entering the stage after a haunting Irish chant and a bagpipe solo; Dropkick Murphys take to the stage in a blaze of glory to kick off two hours of punk history, tearing through their back catalogue of which is extensive to once again show every person in the room exactly why they are still ever relevant in modern music. The crowd is in a frenzy from start to finish with everybody moving, whether that be from dancing to the up-tempo and racing bass lines and drum beats or thrashing around to the gravelly vocals, nostalgic lyrics and crashing guitars… Or even if you joined the hundred or so fans that graced the stage to help with vocals for their encore and really get in the party spirit, not one person was left standing around looking bored for even a second.
“Party” really is the only way to sum up this show, every band that graced the stage was energetic from start to finish and brought a fun, welcoming and charged atmosphere that left the crowd baying for more. I for one definitely cannot wait to encounter any of these bands live once more in the near future.