Dropkick Murphys celebrate 'Meanest of Times'

For the Dropkick Murphys, few things take priority over the band's beloved Boston Red Sox.

The seven-piece Boston-based group that leans heavily on hardcore punk rock and Irish influences has served as an unofficial musical mascot for the World Series-winning Red Sox for several years; it generally avoids performing in October to prevent scheduling conflicts with post-season Red Sox games.

“It has happened before where we were watching a game and we took the stage late due to a baseball conflict,” says lead vocalist Al Barr on the phone from his home in Boston. “We try not to do too much touring in October if things are going well for us in a baseball sense.”

The Red Sox are 6-0 for games featuring Dropkick Murphys performances. The band helped send the team to the World Series this year; it played the National Anthem and a brief set at Fenway Park before Game 7 of the American League Championship series, a dream gig that was followed by on-field revelry. It comes to San Francisco’s Warfield on Saturday.

The Dropkick Murphys have more to celebrate. Their exposure and record sales catapulted after Martin Scorsese included parts of the song “Shipping Up to Boston” in his award-winning film “The Departed.”

Downloads of the song _ an example of the how the band fuses crunching punk elements (distorted guitars, throaty vocals) and traditional folk instrumentation (bagpipes, accordion, banjo) _ skyrocketed after the film's release. The buzz continued when “The Meanest of Time” reached No. 20 on the Billboard 200 chart after its Sept. 18 release.

The album follows the musical template the Dropkick Murphys have honed throughout their career. But Barr says it marks the first time the band's punk and Celticinfluences have cohesively merged.

“I like to say this is the cake that was baked all at once, as opposed to different slices of different tasting cake, which is what other records have been,” Barr says. “We've always been a Celtic punk band, but our past records have had songs that are more heavy and leaning to the punk or the rock side and songs that were more straight folk. With this you're getting the veracity of the rock and the punk and folk all in one tune.”

“The Meanest of Times” is also the first release on Born & Bred Records, a label created by the band with distribution from a Warner Music subsidiary. It marks an end to the Dropkick Murphys' 10-year tenure on Hellcat records. Barr says considering sales for new album, he thinks creating the label was a good idea.

“It's still pretty early, but all the signs are saying it was a great move,” Barr says. “With the way things kicked off with the album, we are off to a great start.”

IF YOU GO

Dropkick Murphys

Where: Warfield, 982 Market St., San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Tickets: $25

Contact: (415) 567-2060, www.livenation.com  

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