The 40 greatest concerts in Boston history: 15

The Pogues | Axis | July 2, 1986
By PHOENIX STAFF  |  October 25, 2006


The Pogues
Anyone who’d seen the Pogues in London was already aware of the boozy, sharp-edged mayhem this bunch could create with tin whistles, mandolins, accordions, and the like, not to mention the, ah, tipsy mannerisms of ever-swilling singer-songwriter Shane MacGowan. But for most, this, the band’s first Boston gig, was a revelation. Expectations had been building ever since word of a punkish Irish band fronted by the hard-drinking MacGowan started filtering into local pubs. So Axis was a mass of sweating, drinking, Guinness-tossing celebrants as the Irish and punk communities seemed to fuse into one entity — the very same that would give birth to Dropkick Murphys a decade later. The surly, yet poetic MacGowan was at the top of his shambolic form, spitting out anthems like “Transmetropolitan” — “I’m gonna kick up bloody murder in the town we know so well” — and “The Boys from County Hell,” where MacGowan offered the come-on “Lend me ten pounds and I’ll buy you a drink.” Those songs summed up much of the intent. But the showstopper played near the end was the Pogues’ roughshod-but-reverent version of Eric Bogle’s “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda” — a powerful anti-war song sung from the point of view of a legless vet from “a forgotten war.”
40 39 38 37 36 35 34 33 32 31 30 29 28 27 26
25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
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