Dropkick Murphys at Huntington Center in Toledo, OH

Dropkick Murphys played a show in Toledo, Ohio with The Interrupters and Jesse Ahern after spending the day on the UAW strike picket line.

The night was young when Jesse Ahern took the tall stage at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio. Jesse was a solo act, playing an acoustic guitar and a harmonica. He delighted both those who had seen him before and those there for the first time with his acoustic rock and folk sounds that border with punk in a wonderful way.

He played music and took the time he had to talk to the audience. During the songs, he led with intros to many of his songs, including telling the audience that he hoped his kids would never have to see the things he had seen in his life. During the set, he played a variety of his original songs and included a cover of The Clash’s “Bankrobber. Before leaving the stage for the evening, he told the audience that “if no one has told you today that they love you, I love you, and there isn’t anything you can do about that,” which was well received.

Up next was the Los Angeles-based band, The Interrupters. They have a strong family bond with all the members of the band being related in some way. They consist of brothers Kevin, Justin, and Jesse Bivona, and lead singer Aimee Interrupter, who married Kevin Bivona. They were also joined by touring band member Billy Kottage on keyboard and trombone.

They opened with the powerful song, “Take Back the Power.” It is a very empowering song that highly motivated the crowd to get moving. Up next was the equally powerful song, “Title Holder.” After that was a cover of the Bob Marley song “Judge Not.” Then the crowd got even more into the set as they played their songs “about the power of music,” “On a Turntable,” and “A Friend Like Me.” By the time they got to “By My Side,” the crowd was full and everyone in the venue was moving.

The set continued with a very personal song, ‘Raised by Wolves,” about Aimee coming to terms with her troubling childhood. They then started “She Got Arrested” but had to stop part of the way through to break up a fight that was happening in the crowd. After the situation was de-escalated, they said they would only continue after everyone hugged each other, stating that “if you bring hate to a punk rock show, then you gotta go.” They were able to finish the song, picking it up seamlessly on cue.

They then performed a cover of the Billie Eilish song “Bad Guy,” followed by “Gave You Everything.” To finish off the set, they closed with the very popular song “She’s Kerosene” which had fans in the pit and in the seats standing up and skanking. This left the crowd happy and very ready for the headliners.

After a quick changeover, the lights dimmed, and the curtain dropped to play a quick intro video for Dropkick Murphys. The crowd started getting rowdy from the first notes of the first song, “Worker’s Song.” They started with a song that, along with the U.A.W. signs displayed on the stage with candles burning, showed their support for the union worker’s strike at a nearby factory. Earlier in the day, they joined those on the line to show support and played music for them. Without any pauses or breaks, they went straight into “The Boys Are Back” where singer Ken Casey spent most of the time singing right into the crowd from the edge of the barricade.

The crowd really started to push around for the third song, “Prisoner’s Song.” It was a welcome fun time to be in the middle of the crowd. By the time the fourth song, “Skinhead on the MBTA,” started, the crowd surfing was starting to pick up. When the crowd favorite, “Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya,” started, there was a more pronounced mosh pit where people were having an amazing time.

The next songs, “The Gauntlet,” “Going Out in Style,” and a cover of The Almanac’s song, “Which Side Are You On?” further amplified the crowd’s great evening in Toledo. They then played “Turn Up That Dial” and “All You Fonies” before playing “Hear the Curfew Blowin” from their newest album, Okemah Rising.

They then played the extremely popular song “The State of Massachusetts,” which was once the intro song for a show on MTV. This was followed with “The Hardest Mile” and then “Rose Tattoo.” Originally on Signed and Sealed in Blood, the song was re-recorded and released one year later with guest vocals from Bruce Springsteen. With rock legends in mind, they went into an AC/DC cover of “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” which had everyone in the pit and seated area standing and singing along. They then closed out the main set with “Out of Our Heads.”

After a brief pause, they came back out to start the long encore with “Ten Times More.” Up next was “Barroom Hero” from their first studio album, Do or Die. Then, for the third encore song, “First Class Loser.” They introduced it by dedicating it to Donald Trump, explaining exactly why they felt this was appropriate. They then invited up the child of a long-time fan who has been coming to their shows since the 1990s to dance to the intro of “I’m Shipping Up to Boston.” This song is their most well-known song, appearing in TV commercials, movies, sporting events, and political events. To close out the night, they ended with “Kiss Me, I’m Sh*tfaced,” a song that is easy to sing along to and even easier with some alcohol.

When seeing Dropkick Murphys, their sets are never short of amazing. There was singing, moshing, crowd surfing, hugging, dancing, and screaming, sometimes even simultaneously. Even if someone does not know the band all that well, it is highly recommended to check out their tour. It starts off as a concert and ends with what feels like a big party with a bunch of new friends.

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About Jessica Trail 27 Articles
Jessica is based in Hamtramck, MI. She is an engineer who is also passionate about photography and live music. When she is not researching new shows and festivals to attend she enjoys playing with her dog and rooting for her favorite sports teams.