On September 30, 2019, Dropkick Murphys came through the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, IL on their tour with Clutch and special guests, Hatebreed and Amigo the Devil. The night was filled with artists that you can tell really enjoy doing what they do by how they performed and interacted with the crowd. Dropkick Murphys kicked off this tour in support of their new album, 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory.
Folk rock solo Amigo the Devil was the first act for the night and someone that I hadn’t heard of before seeing this tour was coming through but I was very impressed. He switches between his acoustic and banjo through the set and had some fun with the crowd during his songs. Jokingly, he talked about the acoustics in the Aragon and how he can hear everyone’s conversations from where he was at. He put on a great performance with his quick finger picking on the instruments and soulful vocals. One of my favorite songs from the night was, “I Hope Your Husband Dies,” which is a very honest and real song but also gave the crowd a little bit of a surprise with the lyrics, if they didn’t know what to expect. The lighting was very simple but perfect for him to be lit with only his name on the screen behind him. I thought that he was kind of the oddball on the tour but the lyrics, and his dark sense of humor, really make him a good fit to go along with the rest of the bands.
If you’ve seen Hatebreed before, you know what kind of energy this band brings but if you haven’t, you are missing out. Hatebreed is easily the heaviest band in this lineup, as well. The band started with the hard hitting song, “To the Threshold,” and kept the mosh pits going throughout the set. Jamey Jasta is one of the best in the business as a frontman with his jumping, fist pumping, and getting the crowd fired up while running around on the stage. The lights were dark and moody throughout the set with dark blues, reds and yellow, which was much different than any of the other bands. Mosh pits and hardcore dancing filled the crowd throughout their entire set. If you like hardcore and metal music, but haven’t seen them live, do it! This was my fourth time seeing them, with also seeing them at two Ozzfest’s and their own headline tour. Of course they played a lot of their
The last time that I saw Clutch was in 2007 with Dub Trio and Five Horse Johnson on their headline tour when they stopped at The Metro. The band has been around since been around since 1991 with twelve full length albums, as well as live albums, but they’re not showing any signs of stopping. Their passion and love for their music shows through in their music and performance. The band started off with “Profits of Doom” and had about an hour long set as a co-headliner spot. Neil Fallon has a great voice on the recordings and in concert while still having a great presence. He likes to interact, smile and point at the fans, which just adds to the experience for all. Towards the end of their set, they played a great cover of the song, “Evil,” by Cactus and finally ended with “Rats.” The lighting was fantastic and made it really easy for the photographers to capture some great moments on stage.
Boston based, Dropkick Murphys is a band that I’ve seen a lot about but I’ve never seen them live and I was not disappointed in the least. As a matter of fact, this was one of the best live performances that I’ve ever attended. Singers, Ken Casey and Al Barr, were all over the place from the back of the stage to out on the barricade with the fans singing along, along with some of the musicians. They had extra risers and stairs set up on the front of the stage so that they could get closer to fans, as well as being able to easily get out interact with them. Not a lot of bands have bagpipes or an accordion player either, especially in this type of genre, so that’s something that you can look forward to! Before the band took the stage, “Foggy Dew” (performed by Sinéad O’Connor & The Chieftains version but written by Charles O’Neill), played. Once the song ended, the bagpipes started playing to start off, “Cadence to Arms,” and what a fun way to start off the night.
One of the most popular songs that the band has, from being in television shows/movies, is, “I’m Shipping Up To Boston,” which was performed in their encore. They played a few covers, like, “I Fought the Law” by The Crickets and “Just What I Needed” by The Cars. Lastly, one of the coolest things that happened in the night is during the last song, they allowed the crowd surfers up on stage so the stage was packed with people for, “Until Next Time.” The fans on stage and in the crowd had an absolute blast and this is something that you don’t see, especially due to unfortunate occurrences happening in the past. The entire set included bright lights to see the members, as well as lights shining all around the venue and a video screen in the back. Most of the videos in the back were catered to the song that they were performing but always including their logo.
One unique thing about this venue is when there are mosh pits, they end up wrapping around the barricade that extends out into the crowd to make a gigantic horseshoe shape. This was strongly encouraged by the band while leaning over the barricade looking towards it. The Aragon Ballroom never disappoints with sound, lights and experience with great acoustics and beautiful architecture.
If you’d like to check out any of these bands, please click one of the links above and enjoy!
Please see below for the rest of the tour dates on the tour and live pictures: