A Sunday evening in Salt Lake City can be pretty quiet, but when Dropkick Murphys, Clutch, Hatebreed and Amigo the Devil show up it is anything but quiet. This was what happened on Sunday October 6, 2019 at The Union Events Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. The night was full of stories provided by the bands on the bill.
The evening started with Amigo the Devil. Imagine a Tenacious D like experience but better. Danny Kiranos took the stage with an acoustic guitar and a banjo. A daring move for anyone staring at a crowd that is ready to rip it up. However from the first lyrics Danny sang, the crowd was drawn into every story he told. How could you not be with songs like “Dahmer Does Hollywood,” “I Hope Your Husband Dies” and my favorite “Hungover in Jonestown.” The lyrics were clever but dark in their own way:
“So I drink till the night becomes another day
And the day’s just another little thing in our way
No one ever chooses to be a flawed design
But this life is a joke, and death is the punchline”
Amigo the Devil tells a story like no other. Don’t miss this show if it comes your way.
Up next was Hatebreed. Their songs tell a story in themselves, but the bigger story is the fact that although Hatebreed has not released an album since 2016, they still had a huge following at the show. The crowd was sprinkled with Hatebreed merchandise. The band played a variety of songs from their 20+ year career. At one point during their set, singer Jamey Jasta noted it had been a while since they released any material and vowed to release new Hatebreed in 2020.
A long break ensued as the stage magically became bigger. This meant it was time for Clutch to play. The mics were checked and the guitars were tuned and it was time to start. The band arrived on stage one by one. The last spot to be filled by singer Neil Fallon. Clutch immediately broke into “Sucker for the Witch.” Lyrically the song is amazing and that combined with Fallon’s ability to turn a song into a story make it like listening to your exaggerating father tell stories from days of old. Hands flying in the air to add to the believability of the tale. Lyrics like:
“I can tell you precisely
Where this all began
Salem, Massachusetts and I was hardly a man
I fell madly in love with
Some brand of Stevie Nicks
Oh, I begged, and I pleaded like a fiend for a fix”
You can see where this is going, only it wasn’t just this song. The story telling continued with every song. “Spacegrass:”
“Dodge Swinger 1973, top down, chassis low,
Panel dim, light drive, Jesus on the dashboard.”
Hands in the air, driving the car, Fallon took us on the ride through the bands set that included “Give Me the Keys” ironically, from their latest album Book of Bad Decisions. At this point who wouldn’t be willing to turn the driving over to Fallon bad decision or not? The crowd was hearing a four-minute story and loving it. The set had to come to an end unfortunately at some point and the band’s classic hit “Electric Worry” would serve as the final chapter that night.
The set changed once again for the Dropkick Murphys. As the lights dropped the familiar sounds of bagpipes began to overwhelmingly fill the venue. Soon, as the lights began to rise, the piper could be seen up on a riser. Guitar, bass and drums soon complimented and eventually overpowered the bagpipes.
The crowd screamed as vocalist Ken Casey and Al Barr appeared. The band was deep into “Cadence to Arms” and the mosh pit began to circle. Flying elbows and knees pushed a lot of the crowd to the sides, especially the ones with children. The show continued and stories of Irish heroes like the “The Fighting 69th.”, a song that details an Irish infantry from the civil war. Dropkick Murphys carried on as they continued with “I fought the Law.” This elevated some of the crowd quite literally, crowd surfers were passed to the front and over the barrier.
As the Dropkick Murphys continued to tell stories of Irish decent they took a moment to recognize Danny from Amigo the Devil whose last show was here in Salt Lake City. After they gave Danny a warm farewell, the band recognized the loss of Rick Ocasik of The Cars by playing “Just What I Needed.” As the set began to come to a close the band played a classic, fitting for an ending to a show, “Until the Next Time”. The chanting crowd sang the lyrics with the band:
“We’ll meet again
Don’t know where, don’t know when
We all had a good time
And we’re sad to see it end”