Dropkick Murphys / Teaneck American Legion Hall / March 20, 1999

After a solid performance at Coney Island high to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the Dropkick Murphys decided to give something back to suburban dwellers, playing a small town American Legion Hall for the kids who couldn’t make the New York venue.

Feeling out of place next to teens clad in studded leather, strange spiked mohawks, and some of the most unusual attire I’ve ever encountered, these well-behaved misfits were crammed tightly into the sweaty, tiny Legion Hall backroom. Despite the over-capacity crowd, kids body surfed and gleefully cheered on their Irish-bred Boston punk heroes.

Even though two rude, inconsiderate Legion members treated their strange-looking guests like absolute shit, calling the police to break up the mob, I praise the Teaneck cops not only for letting the one-hour set run its coarse, but for restraint, patience, and professionalism handling a tough situation.

Early on, the Dropkick Murphys got the kids raising fists in the air, covering Sham 69’s timeless youth brigade, “If The Kids Are United.” Though the sound system sucked, and it was difficult to comprehend lyrics, the resilient quartet overcame these problems by rampaging through supercharged, highly spirited tracks from 1998’s exhilarating Do Or Die album and the newly waxed Gang’s All Here.

Without a doubt, the Dropkick Murphys understand the youthful yearning and rebellious spirit of the fans, unifying them through positive anthems concerning freedom and righteousness.

However difficult it is to comprehend the reasoning behind booking this band at such an ill-suited non-club, the merchandise table seemed to do bang-up business afterward. I was impressed with the displays, t-shirts, records, CD’s and colorful paraphernalia. And yes, kudos to the Dropkick Murphys for keeping their fans positively enthralled.

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