Flogging Molly ring in St. Patrick’s Day season

A review of Flogging Molly at the House of Blues on February 21, 2012

, Staff Writer

Though they may not be quite as beloved around these parts as the Dropkick Murphys, Los Angeles’ Flogging Molly have made Boston a regular stop on their annual Green 17 tour for quite some time, and 2012 proved to be no exception. With the band’s performance at the House of Blues just happening to fall on Mardi Gras, the Irish punk rockers delivered a show that was filled with even more revelry than they tend to bring.

Although the set itself was without surprises (in fact, it was quite similar to last year’s setlist), the evening still proved to be wildly fun for all of those involved. After all, you don’t go to a Flogging Molly show for musical surprises. In the end, the band gave everyone exactly what they were looking for with a set filled with beloved hits and loads of energy.

Flogging Molly was quite to assuage any doubts as to whether they’d play “Drunken Lullabies” on this evening. Rather than save what is perhaps their most beloved song for the very end of the show, the band busted it out as the opener. The high-energy tune turned into a raucous sing-along as the audience whipped itself into a frenzy that didn’t die down until the end of a set that hit on nearly 25 different songs.

The stage itself was fairly minimal – the Flogging Molly logo was displayed proudly in back of the band, and save for a bit of mood lighting, the focus was entirely on the band.

The set was somewhat heavy on songs from 2011’s Speed of Darkness, the band’s fifth album, though the band was sure to demonstrate their musical variety. Although songs like “Requiem For A Dying Song” and “Revolution” are fast-paced headbangers, others like the first half of “If I Ever Leave This World Alive” are much more toned down, with singer Dave King happy to do his thing alone on an acoustic guitar. It all came together to create a well-paced set that left the audience happy and exhausted.

Songs from Speed of Darkness were notably less Irish sounding than Flogging Molly’s previous works. You’d be forgiven for thinking that a piece like “Speed of Darkness” were from another band. That’s not to say that the record isn’t without lively fiddles and grand crescendos, but the energy has been shifted slightly. It all works out in the live show, however.

“Oliver Boy” was a particularly well-received song, with a driving energy that helped usher in the end of the set perfectly. “Black Friday Rule” featured a great solo from guitarist Dennis Casey. The rest of the band backed him up perfectly, allowing him to work his magic. Of course, King helped lead the crowd through a few sing-alongs as the show progressed as well.

The end of the set was powered by a hit parade that included “If I Ever Leave This World Alive” and “What’s Left of the Flag”, both of which perfectly exemplified Flogging Molly’s acute ability to build a song to wild levels of energy. They capped the set off with “Seven Deadly Sins”, a fast-paced and irresistible tune that left the audience hankering for more.

The encore most notably featured a cover of “The Times They Are A-Changin'”, which, as it turns out, works pretty well when given the Flogging Molly treatment. “Salty Dog” closed things out perfectly – quintessentially Irish in its aesthetic and filled with life and vitality, it was a great exclamation point to what was a show filled with them.

Flogging Molly’s music may be very familiar at this point, but the formula works perfectly in the live arena. King and his fellow bandmates are known for bringing high levels of energy wherever they are, but as this show proved, they seem to take it to a higher level in Boston. There’s definitely a certain sense of tradition that the band has cultivated with the Green 17 Tour, and as long as they continue to come to Boston, they’re going to keep on bringing in slews of fans for what is sure to be a fun night.

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