Dropkick Murphys / Rancid
Boston to Berkley II
w/ Special Guest The Bronx
The Shrine Auditorium – Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, October 16th, 2021
A late approval for this show was quite the surprise to wake up to on a Saturday morning. The Dropkick Murphy/Rancid Tour dubbed “Boston to Berkley II” (BtoB I took place in 2017) didn’t quite end in Berkley, but I’ll consider Los Angeles close enough. Another tour that was a casualty of the pandemic as it was meant to take place in 2020, the wait was definitely worth it.
A little out of my wheelhouse, but a show that I didn’t even know I really needed. The concert was in a parking lot in the shadow of the Beautiful Shrine Auditorium. A great outdoor venue with a ton of space that needs to be utilized for a lot more big local shows.
So what did I learn about shooting my first Punk show?
First: Make sure that your “trigger” finger is loosened up and ready… because the quick, frenetic energy of a punk show coupled with the extremely short length of these rapid fire songs does NOT allow a lot of time for “artistic” picture taking. The usual three songs allowed for photogs is more like one song of any other show. Lesson learned.
Second: As a photographer in one of the largest photo pits that I’ve ever shot in… You need to be nimble.. Sure..move around to get your shots, BUT… also more importantly, to get out of the way of the objects being hurled at you. I got hit in the back with something sharp at one point. And more than a few time there were full beers hurled at the front.
Third: Bring a friend to hold your camera gear so you can have a chance to jump into a mosh pit with all the other rabid fans. What I’m not sure is would I be Pogoing in a Mosh pit or Moshing in a Pogo pit?! Either way, I want to be part of it!
Fourth: The women into Metal need to step it up, because the fairer sex at this show were representing! The Punk chicks were there in droves and not just with their dudes. They were there in groups, in their gear, and they all looked fantastic! Testament concert? You’d get maybe 10% women. This show; I’d put the women in the crowd at least at 30-40%.
On with the show…
I’m now a fan. Killer energy, great set. Would love to catch this band in a small club to eat up the vibe that they put out. Formed in Los Angeles, in 2002, The Bronx were the perfect choice to kick things off on this tour and especially this final date of the tour in LA. Full of personality and a set of catchy songs that hooked me without any prior listens.
Singer, Matt Caughthran, got the crowd going by reminding them.. “This isn’t a Rock Show, this is a Muther Fucking PUNK Rock Show!” I WILL be checking out The Bronx again.
The Bronx are:
Matt Caughthran – vocals
Joby J. Ford – guitar, backing vocals
Ken Horne – guitar, backing vocals
Brad Magers – bass, backing vocals
Joey Castillo – drums
During the pandemic I was digging the Live stream events that Dropkick Murphys had put on and was SO excited to get to see them in person. I see DKM as less of a Punk band and more of an Angry Irish family of brothers that happen to play instruments. Although those may actually be one in the same. Enough band members as an actual Irish catholic family, DKM are a ton of fun.
Singers, Ken Casey and Al Barr are like two angry panthers pacing back and forth across the stage
Pure BAWSTAN through and through, they’re at their best when they’re embracing those Irish roots through tin whistles, bag pipes and accordions. A few things I never thought I’d see in my life… Bigfoot, Zero Balance on my mortgage and a headbanging accordion player. Well, I’m going to cross of the latter. What an amazing show by Tim Brennan who played… well… just about everything! Lead guitar, mandolin accordion, keyobards and an especially killer turn with some slick banjo pickin’.
Something I found funny was when Ken Casey addressed the crowd before playing their Boston Red Sox Anthem, “Tessie”. “We’ve supported you and you’ve been there for us, so we’d love for you to sing along with us on this song. An unusually passionate LA crowd came back with a barrage of Boos letting DKM know that they were firmly in Dodger Town and they were on their own for this one.
The fans were quickly back on board as Dropkick Murphys continued on with a set that blessed the LA crowd with the best they had to offer.
A performance that barely allowed for a breath, Rancid machine gunned through a set of their classics. These Berkley Punk Legends were all business as the headliner for the final night of this tour.
I think the biggest compliment you could give Rancid is that they’re still as Raw and Raucous as they’ve ever been. Mosh pits were whirling and a crowd that had been staggered at the back, started packing in the front.
Their set included a few recent tracks but mainly pulled from their storied career and a slew of hits that had the crowd increasingly growing towards rabid status. The set closers, “Time Bomb” and “Ruby Soho” were the perfect conclusion to the night and the tour.
Tim Armstrong – vocals, guitars
Matt Freeman – bass guitar, vocals
Lars Frederiksen – guitars, vocals
Branden Steineckert – drums, percussion, backing vocals