Flogging Molly kick of St. Patrick’s Day season in Boston

A review of Flogging Molly at the House of Blues on February 27, 2010

, Staff Writer

Flogging Molly’s Green 17 tour, now in its sixth year, is a month-long St. Patrick’s Day celebration across the country, culminating in a nearly 20,000-person extravaganza on March 17 in Phoenix. The Celtic punk rockers have been playing at Houses of Blues all over the place, so it made sense that they would drop by our own. The show this past Saturday, basically a best-of set, was a solid warm-up to what St. Patrick’s Day ends up being.

The thing about a Flogging Molly show is, you can probably predict about two-thirds of the setlist right away. The band has a number of well-known songs from each album, and you can bet you’re going to be hearing the likes of “Drunken Lullabies” and “Rebels of the Sacred Heart”. Sure enough, they touched on nearly every song fans were hoping to hear. The result was a concert less headbang-y (though there was the obligatory mosh pit front-and-center) and more singalong-y. One of the finest moments of the show was “If I Ever Leave This World Alive”, which started off innocuously enough, with Dave King singing as he strummed on an acoustic guitar. The song worked its way into a lengthy build. Throughout the whole thing, people’s hands were raised in the air, and a chorus of voices sang every lyric.

Flogging Molly’s sound translates really well to the live arena: boasting a lineup seven strong, every note you hear in their studio works is heard on stage. Bridget Regan sounded impeccable on her various wind instruments, and her fiddle in “Drunken Lullabies” managed to sound out above all the raucous going on below her. George Schwindt relentlessly dropped upbeats on his snare drum, a constant driving force, ensuring momentum stayed high. King himself kept a fair amount of composure during the show, especially considering how intense these songs are. At times he did walk around the stage to check out what other band members were doing, but for the most part he stood calmly in front of his microphone, singing in his unmistakable voice and Dublin brogue .

The show wasn’t without highlights from the band’s newest album, Float. The title track was a centerpiece of the band’s set, and has already become a fan favorite. “Us of Lesser Gods” was also well-received, and it seems like the new material generally has a certain maturity to it that other albums lacked, though “You Won’t Make A Fool of Me” was classic boisterous Flogging Molly stuff.

Suffice it to say, a show like this takes a lot out of you: the music is loud, the crowd is energetic (and drunk), and the songs seem to go by so quickly that there’s little recovery time before the band launches into another one. It goes by in a flash, but more than one person, as the audience left the venue, sighed in satisfaction as the cold air hit them. In spite of a fairly predictable setlist, it’s tough to fault Flogging Molly’s live show. They’ve been on the road a lot over the years, and, frankly, their best songs stand head-and-shoulders above the other stuff, so it’s no surprise that they would want to showcase their finest wares.

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