It was a beautiful night in downtown Denver as I walked down Champa towards Sculpture Park. I could feel the nice breeze and the ever so cool sound of the opening band ‘Doors’. This venue provides the perfect setting for the show. With tons of space to walk around and sit if need be, many of the concertgoers took advantage of this throughout the night. My photographer and I found a nice spot close to the stage in order to be ready for the action that was yet to come.
The Selecter take the stage and with a fun ska/reggae feel to them, they took the crowd by storm. Many dancing along with their friends, keeping in step with the beat with the traditional big band style that included saxophones, keyboards and a little bit of funk. Having been around for quite some time now, they were welcomed excitedly by the attendees, all of whom came out to see the many legends gracing the stage tonight.
After a brief intermission, the stage begins to set for Dropkick Murphys. As I look back around at the crowd, I realize that it has gotten even bigger than it was, not even 40 minutes ago when the last band took to the stage. All I can say is the turnout was so large there would be no way for any typical venue to accommodate the fans. Having been around since 1996, over 20 years of touring and making music, the Dropkick Murphys are absolute legends in the punk music scene. “The Lonesome Boatman” begins to play and a hush draws over the crowd. Towards the back of the stage lies a black curtain awaiting the signal to reveal just what everyone has been waiting for. Finally, after much anticipation from all, the curtain drops and DKM launches into ‘The Boys Are Back’ and all you heard was an elated eruption from them all as singer Al Barr growls toward the crowd. His voice providing the right amount of grit mixed with a melodic twist. Having the capability to flex within songs makes his voice a very recognizable one. Charismatic across the stage, DKM launches into another solid hit “The Gang’s All Here” followed by “Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya”. I felt like I was in heaven! I remember listening to all of these in my high school days, solidifying that statement that good punk never dies. As proof of this, they then perform a cover of Alice Cooper ‘School’s Out for Summer’. Capping the evening off with two of my personal favs “Rose Tattoo” and “The State of Massachusetts”, DKM ended their night by pulling many of their fans onto the stage while singing “Going Out in Style”. They pulled at least 20 people up on the stage, all ages ranging from seven to forty-seven! You could see all their excitement, especially the little kids, on having the chance to be on stage next to their favorite punk rockers. This was by far one of the best ways to end a set. Everyone was having so much fun!
With only a short break, the set went black and Rancid immediately took the stage. Tim Armstrong and Lars Frederiksen are greeted with cheers from the fans; they seem to have a few people here that really adore them. I have always loved Rancid, one of the first cd’s I ever purchased was ‘Out Come the Wolves’ and also happens to be one of my first vinyl purchases. The opening song ‘Radio’ got the crowd moving and Tim launched into the beginning of ‘Root Radicals’. Turning to look at the crowd and as far as I could see, there were only faces and everyone was singing along or dancing that little punk shuffle. It was awesome to see just how big of a crowd this talent could bring. Playing all of my favorite songs from ‘Out Come the Wolves’ which included “Olympia, Wa”, “Time Bomb”, “Fall Back Down” and “Ruby Soho”, I was dancing along just like everyone else in the crowd. When good music flows through you, it becomes a pulse to your heart and takes over your soul. Such a great feeling with amazing energy from both the performers and the crowd! Rancid leaves the stage, and just when you thought it was over, the lights come back up and not just Rancid comes out, but so does DKM to perform an encore for everyone that decided to stay. The three-song encore included covers of “Cretin Hop” by ‘The Ramones’, “Kids Are United” by ‘Atari Teenage Riot’ and “Folsom Prison Blues” by ‘Johnny Cash’.
To date, this was by far one of my most favorite shows. The weather was perfect, the setting was ideal and the music was fierce. I would suggest all to go check out this show when it comes to your town; they are just half way through their tour, so if you are on the West coast then you still have a chance to check them out by clicking the link below:
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Photos by Teddy G / Xposer Photography