Rose Tattoo: Dropkick Murphys Play Austin

When my mother died in 2012 I wanted to memorialize her and carry her memory with me always. So, I did what many selfish, lazy Millennials do these days when they want to mark a momentous life occasion, I got a tattoo! A red rose tattoo to be exact, on my left arm closest to my heart.

In 2013 one of my favorite bands The Dropkick Murphys came out with their album Signed and Sealed in Blood, which included the song “Rose Tattoo”. I’d like to think they wrote the song for me, in order to help me overcome my pain, but I know that’s a little vain. Instead, I will simply say that the song speaks to me every time I hear it. On the 27th of February at Stubbs BBQ in Austin, I got to hear “Rose Tattoo” live for the first time. It was epic! Needless to say my voice was definitely strained the day after and I felt like I smoked 100 cigarettes the night before, even though I’m not even a fucking smoker.

The Dropkick Murphys

If you aren’t familiar with the Dropkick Murphys, you’re missing out and you need to listen to them immediately. They are an iconic original rock band from Boston, Massachusetts who have intertwined Irish and Punk music over a tremendous and impressive 20 year history. They are also the band responsible for the main song in the movie The Departed. And, as the song “Rose Tattoo” aptly notes:

“The pictures tell the story, this life has many shades.”

As I expected the Murphys put on one hell of a show that lasted almost an exact two hours and the extremely diverse crowd ate it up. Their set consisted of a good mixture of old songs and new including, “The Boys are Back”, “Shipping up to Boston” and “The End of the Night”, which ended the show on high note, with a crowded stage full of fans, singing their hearts out above the roar of the crowd. The ever upstanding Murphys even paid homage to the unfortunate soul who lost his life in front of their tour bus in 2014, when he ran out in front of them on I35 in Round Rock, TX. I’ve personally seen the Dropkick Murphys several times and they never disappoint.

Opening the show for the Dropkick Murphys were two very good bands in their own rite: Darkbuster and Tiger Army. Darkbuster another Boston, Massachusetts based band and Tiger Army, a Psychobilly rock band hailing from Los Angeles, California who both have been making music since 1996.

Upon doing some research, I found that this tour was not the first time these two bands have opened up for the Murphys. And, based upon the gathered fans, with their band t-shirts and swag, it was obvious that each band had their own cult following.


This show was the first time ever heard of Darkbuster and I was really impressed. They were loud, raucous and fast paced with enough groove to remove a woman’s clothing. Not to mention the highlight of the evening occurred when the band’s lead singer Lenny Lashley let a little girl (presumably his daughter) adorned with the cutest pink headphones, take over his singing duties for just a few bars stating “finally someone who sings better than me.”

Tiger Army

Tiger Army drew one hell of a female crowd, which is understandable given just how sexy their lead singer Nick 13 is. The band hit it hard, hit it fast and seemingly made love to their instruments. Announcing their fifth full-length, titled V •••, the band played a new song called Prisoner of the Night, which you can view right now.

Their song lyrics are engrossed in a life of sex, drugs and pure rock-n-roll and it reminds me of a provisional point after the end of rock’s first wave if you will, but prior to The Beatles invasion in American song history. Smooth and exciting, but fast enough to get your feet moving.

They mentioned they would be back in Austin before the end of the year and I assure you that I will do my best to be in attendance.