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REVIEW: A Night with Flogging Molly

Filed under: Music
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mc-flogging-molly-at-sands-brings-together-the-best-of-celtic-and-punk-concert-review--20141130St. Patrick’s Day came a little early this year. The Los Angeles-based Celtic punk rockers, Flogging Molly whipped up a frenzy before a boisterous crowd last night at Rapids Theatre in Niagara Falls.

Performing for nearly two hours were FM’s Dave King on lead vocals and acoustic guitar (occasionally bodhrán, a framed drum), Dennis Casey on electric guitar, Matthew Hensley on accordion, Nathen Maxwell on bass, Bridget Regan on violin and tin whistle, Robert Schmidt on banjo and George Schwindt pounding on the drums. The group ran through more than 20 songs, a little bit of everything from their 5 studio albums.

For most of the night, the band barreled at full speed, King in constant motion-dancing jig, circling the stage or egging on the audience of 2,000 – and singing in a voice that wore his heart on his sleeve.

The crowd on the standing-room-only area of the theatre loved everything the band cranked out. In classic punk rock fashion, the songs were excuses to release aggression. From a second-floor balcony, the movement looked like continuous waves that crashed and ebbed in raging fury.

It was that way from the start, its 23-song, 100-minute show, which, with two supporting acts, crept up until midnight. Opening with the classic punk countdown (1! 2! 3! 4!) into a blast of “Screaming at The Wailing Wall,”

Fast and fearless, the band blazed through the chant-y, clapping “(No More) Paddy’s Lament” and “Every Dog Has Its Day,” King high-step jigging around as he shouted the words.

From its 2000 debut, Swagger, came a mid-show coupling “Devil’s Dance Floor” and an enthusiastic “The Likes of You Again” that had the crowd thrusting in arms.

Once Schmidt started his banjo lead in “Drunken Lullabies,” it was abundantly clear that crowd had no plans of settling down.

A cover of The Dubliners’ “The Rare Ould Times,” dedicated to singer Barney Mckenna, who died in 2012, showed Flogging Molly is every bit as good a Celtic band, starting the song with just King’s voice, acoustic guitar and Regan’s tin whistle before the band kicked in fast, then blasted in.

With “Swagger,” the crowd’s energy, already high, rose even more. It was frenzied as the main set closed with a very punk “Salty Dog” and a very liberating “What’s Left of the Flag.”

As the band left the stage the crowd immediately began to chant “OLE OLE OLE,” in anticipation for a well-deserved encore.

And then out with a furious “Seven Deadly Sins” and “If I Ever Leave This World Alive,” deeply felt and building to blast – the perfect intersection of Celtic and punk that no one plays better than Flogging Molly.

 

– Jeff Czum