If you are Irish, or just like to think that you are at this time of year, the Cain’s Ballroom was the place to be on Monday night.
Flogging Molly brought their high energy Irish folk/punk show to a packed house that drank, chanted, and jigged well into the night. The 5th Annual Green 17 Tour, which plays only seventeen cities leading up to St. Patrick’s Day has become a staple at the Cain’s and it is easy to see why it is so widely popular to the point of a sold out show.
The 7 piece band from Los Angeles has garnered quite a following since 1997. If you have never seen this show, it is a must see.
The House that Bob built may as well have been a pub in Dublin and looked the part with Guinness and Jameson banners hanging from the rafters. The dark beer was in place and the amazingly smooth Irish Whiskey flowed, all this 2 days before the big day. It was going to be a rowdy night. Of course, anytime you see guys sporting kilts to a rock show you are in for a heck of a evening.
Openers were Synthetic Elements and Architects. Both gave very solid sets and had a blast playing to the party friendly crowd.Synthetic Elements were first to take the stage amidst sirens and flashing red lights. They quickly had fans bouncing up and down. It is a mix of punk, ska, and pirate dirge. Great use of the washboard also. These guys are having a great time with each other and playing to the crowd. Even bursting into the Manchester United futbol chant. Ole’ Ole’ Ole’ Ole’, Ole’ Ole’ Elements are a very energetic band that love to drink beer and give toasts to the crowd.
Architects were up next and played a strong hard driving set. It was a little hard to understand at times but they pushed through. Stating that they had two kinds of songs, those about drugs and those about law enforcement. Although a solid set, there was nothing that really stood out about these guys, except when the drummer took his splash cymbal and threw it (stand and everything) across the stage. They also played a cool version of “Sin City” that they set up as a dedication to the other bands on the bill and added, ” If you are older you may recognize this song, if you are younger, we wrote it.” Very clever to introduce a new crowd to a good song, but after reading some other press on these guys, they do the same thing every night. It may be time to change up your wording a bit.
Both openers aside, it was time for what was obviously the reason people had showed up. After a lengthy intermission, which apparently had some technical issues, Flogging Molly saunters onto the stage and kicks off an amazing set of green tinted punk rock. Lead singer Dave King, formerly with the 80’s heavy metal band Fastway, is quite enthusiastic on stage and dances around through most of the show. He is very much a showman and keeps the audience involved the whole way through.
FM is a band that has some stand out musicians that include King’s wife, Bridget Regan who does a great job on the fiddle and tin whistle, also worth mentioning was former pro skateboarder, Matt Hensley playing the accordion. Molly plays their set as a celebration of life and fun loving friendship with each other.
King’s banter with the crowd alone was worth the price of the ticket. He welcomes you into his life with stories of his mother and father. We Irish are pretty rough on our parents, with tales of their vices. “My mother will be 89 years old as of June this year, she is a very easy women to please. As long as when we get off the plane we have 200 cigarettes and a bottle of Jameson’s.” says King. He spoke of his dad and how he had passed when he was young, but had taken the time to buy him some records, one of which was “Live at Folsom Prison” by Johnny Cash.
Stand out tunes were “Rebels of the Sacred Heart,” “Drunken Lullabies,” “Every Dog Has His Day,” or “The Worst Day Since Yesterday” The last of which was featured in the film Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
The band was incredibly energetic, and the show was fantastic. The Irish punk thing Flogging Molly does is pretty much infinitely expandable, and I’m sure that it’s a style that will allow the band to keep making albums as long as they’d like.
As stated before, if you have not seen Flogging Molly you owe it to yourself to buy a ticket, get a shot of Jameson’s with a Guinness chaser and be a part of the mayhem that is a FM concert, you will not be disappointed.
Photos by: Kevin Pyle
About the writer:
Ernie Osborn is a California transplant that has been around the music business much of his life. He has been in bands and currently plays guitar and sings when called upon to do so. He also writes articles in the Tulsa Speaks section enititled, “Whatever Happened To…” check it out.