Flogging Molly bring the ‘Green’ to House of Blues

A review of Flogging Molly at the House of Blues on February 27, 2011

, Managing Editor

Although the calendar read February 27, Sunday night at the House of Blues had the Celtic spirit of March 17 as LA’s Flogging Molly rocked an unofficial commencement of the St. Patrick’s Day season here in Boston as they hit town with their 8th annual “Green 17” tour.

While in Boston we have our very own Irish punk band in the Dropkick Murphys, fans here proved that there’s always room for one more, to the extent of a sold-out show. Cut from a similar cloth, Flogging Molly have always found it easy to find an audience in this town, as their Irish-themed, working class songs produce the same anthemic, sing-alongs as our beloved Murphys.

As Flogging Molly took the smokey stage to the sound of The Dubliner’s rendition of “The Auld Triangle”, the band kicked things off with the first of several new songs to appear in their otherwise “fan-favorite”-filled set. “Speed of Darkness”, the first of a handful of their forthcoming album of the same name, found the band at their usual escalated energy level, but not quite at their rowdiest. The most impressive new track appeared several songs later, as the “Saints & Sinners” banjo and fiddle-fueled breakdown had the floor moving despite the fans’ unfamiliarity. Frontman Dave King humorously introduced the song by saying, “Growing up in Ireland you’re either a saint or a sinner… and I chose to be the middleman”.

King kept the spirit light through his jokes and jigging throughout the night. He playfully called out his “bastard cousin” before “(No More) Paddy’s Lament” asking “have you brought my teabags?!”, and made several references to another favorite beverage with frequent Guinness toasts. King showed his serious side as well, dedicating “The Wanderlust”, a song about “leaving home”, to all the servicemen and women, and later taking a more political tone before introducing new song “Don’t Shoot ‘Em Down”, saying “Whether it’s Dublin, or Detroit, or Boston, or New York… we’re all going through the same shit so let’s stick together!”.

The band changed up speeds midway through the night, playing a small acoustic set after the rousing “Drunken Lullabies”. After “The Wanderlust”, King made a couple more dedications as “So Sail On” was played in honor of the late Thin Lizzy guitarist Gary Moore, after which King dedicated “Factory Girl” to his 90-year old mother. Still, despite the soft acoustics and sweet sentiments, it’s difficult for there to be a prettier moment at a Flogging Molly show than their always powerful “If I Ever Leave This World Alive”.

To the chant of “Ole, Ole, Ole”, the band returned to blister through a three-song encore of “Float”, another song about sticking together, “Tobacco Island”, a song aimed at the hated Oliver Cromwell, and their common closer “Seven Deadly Sins”, which had even the “Gin & Tonic drinkers” in the second level with their hands up.

Although it may still be a few weeks away, the St. Patrick’s Day festivities have already begun. Unlike the irritatingly early start to the Christmas season every year, when it comes to St. Patrick’s, it’s never too early for Boston to start celebrating.

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