The Scene: Back in 1970 the city of Denver blamed Mammoth Gardens for the general decline of the neighborhood. The Colfax venue closed and the building was boarded up. Sixteen years later, after various other uses, the venue re-opened as a concert site. In 1999 the building’s name was changed from Mammoth Gardens to what we all know as The Fillmore. It’s funny how time can change our perceptions. The city no longer looks at venues like The Fillmore, Ogden, and Bluebird theaters as blights on the neighborhood. Instead they have come to realize that Colfax is the heart of our city, and that the sounds spilling out of the three venues that sit on it make up Denver’s heartbeat.
Opener: The Mahones. Making my way through a crowd dressed in scally caps, punk rock T’s, boots, bracers, and the occasional kilt I half expected to see leprechauns skating around the floor of the Fillmore. The venue after all was first opened as Mammoth Roller Skating Rink in 1907. Instead I was met with whiskey and a beautiful girl on the accordion. Katie “Kaboom” McConnell was part of the Canadian quintet that makes up the Mahones. The band was originally put together by Dublin born Finny McConnell for a St. Patrick’s Day party. Thanks to the response of our brethren in the North, the band has stayed together and have eleven albums to their name. Check these guys out.
Opener: Old Man Markley. The first time I caught the Los Angeles Punk & Bluegrass band Old Man Markley was a year ago opening up for the Aggrolites. I was really excited to see them again, and left the show that night with two 7″ EPs. You wouldn’t think that autoharp, washboard, and a banjo could inspire a full on pit, but that’s exactly what they did with tracks like “Blood on My Hands” and “For Better For Worse.” It was like watching Hee Haw fueled by tall cans of beer and amphetamines. I don’t think that the Dropkick Murphys could have chosen a better opener for building energy in the room.
Dropkick Murphys: The headliner opened up their set with “For Boston,” a cover of Boston College’s fight song. It was a quick tip of the hat to their hometown, and all that it had been through recently with the Boston Marathon bombings. Quickly they went in to “The Boys Are Back” and “Prisoner’s Song” off the 2013 album Signed and Sealed in Blood. The band then went on to play the hits, both old and new, fusing electric guitars and a power drummer with traditional instruments such as bagpipes, fiddle, tin whistle, accordion, mandolin, and banjo. Gordon Gano, of Violent Femmes fame, even joined the Dropkicks on stage playing violin on the song “Rose Tattoo.” The band played over twenty songs, and then came back out for a five song encore that featured several ladies from the audience joining the band on the stage as they performed “End of the Night,” and later a cover of AC/DC’s “TNT.” Sweaty and smiling ear to ear we stumbled out into the night looking for a cab as the show came to an end.
Stage Presence: A
Set/Light Show: A