St. Patrick's Day Tour 2022

Dropkick Murphys w/Jesse Ahern, The Rumjacks, & The Bombpops LIVE @ The Orange Peel - Asheville, NC // 03.02.2022

Review by: Heather Burditt

The opening acts for the Dropkick Murphys St. Patrick’s Day tour 2022 were straight fire! The biggest surprise for me was, Jesse Ahern, a solo singer songwriter from Boston who opened the night. He’s smooth like butter; if you chase your butter with a shot of whiskey or two. His lyrics are real and gritty and passionate and the crowd hung on every word. Now, if the Dropkick Murphys are a punk rock band with Celtic Irish roots, then the second act, The Rumjacks, originally from Sydney, Australia, are a traditional Celtic musical group with an intense punk rock infusion. They are high energy and have a massive stage presence, but don’t shy away from stepping back for a moment to play the quintessential Celtic ballad. They are a live band you do not want to miss. The Bombpops, a pop-punk group from LA, were the wild card in this lineup. They seemed a bit out of place in the crowd of blue collar Dropkicks fans, but they rightfully carved out their place on stage with classic style and short punk rock songs that nodded to that early west coast pop punk sound.


I’ve been following the Dropkick Murphys since the late nineties, right about the time they began. The first time I saw them was 20 some odd years ago in an old gymnasium. Somewhere. A friend's band opened for them. I can’t remember where, nor the name of the venue or band. I was allowed “backstage” and I recall there was a surprising amount of food for the bands! Then, before I was married, I found myself at a yacht club in Boston at the filming of their video for “Walk Away”. Since then, I’ve raised a few kids, changed locations so many times I can’t count, and gotten divorced. Since then it's been my favorite song of theirs. I might be the girl they are singing about. While they didn't play it this particular night, to say that getting to photograph them was a bit of a dream would be an understatement.


"almost every song is an anthem that the entire crowd knows the words to"


While Al Barr was certainly missed, front man Ken Casey held it down. There is no one else that can make a 1000+ person venue feel like a small punk rock show in the bar on the corner quite like Ken. He came out running, fist bumping every single person he could. He makes it a point to connect with his fans. And they love it, because last year's St. Patrick’s Day live-stream show was strange and somber and lonely. But this year? They are on stage in front of their people! They are loud, energetic, and almost every song is an anthem that every person in the crowd knows the words to. And if you don’t, you do now!


The Dropkick Murphys have grown to become legends and working class heros, yet for as much as they’ve changed, is as much as they’ve stayed the same. They are still bringing killer performances that make us feel like they care about us as much as we care about them. Even bringing front row die hard Ruth, one of the older women in the crowd (who by the way knew every word to every song!) onstage to sing and dance I’m Shipping Up to Boston with the band. Get it Ruth. You inspire me.

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