Once one of the hardest touring bands in the industry, Flogging Molly seems to be on a hiatus. There was a time in Montreal when Flogging Molly shows were like Scott Gomez goals, you could count on one or two of them each year. This visit to Metropolis was the band’s first headlining gig in our city in six years. You could sense the anticipation.
Irishman Dylan Walshe was the first to take the stage and kick things off with his soulful folk. He stood alone and managed to hold the attention of a crowd ready for a true Paddy party
The White Buffalo was next. Another soulful folk act, with more southern tendencies. Best known for his participation on the Sons of Anarchy soundtrack, every song sounds like it belonged in the biker saga. A haunting voice with a great stage presence, the White Buffalo got the crowd fired up for the main event.
Vocalist/guitarist Dave King came out looking more like an english professor than a rock frontman, sporting his beard, horn-rimmed glasses and khakis. Most english professors though, would kill to command their audience like the Irishman. From the opening notes of new track “The Hand of John L. Sullivan,” the crowd began to let out six years of anticipation.
A Flogging Molly show is a lot like a raucous Irish pub that fits two thousand. Everyone’s in high spirits and singing along at the top of their lungs. If you stand just below the edge of the balcony, you can hear the masses above stomping their feet like the sound of thunder. It was obvious King was having vocal troubles, a fact he admitted, but it didn’t seems to slow the band or the crowd down for a single second.
None drove the crowd insane more than the litany of classics they unrolled, from “Drunken Lullabies” and “Tobacco Island” to “Rebels of the Sacred Heart.” It hit a fever pitch from the moment Bridget Regan blew the first few notes of “Devil’s Dance Floor” into her flute. Just when you thought the crowd couldn’t get louder, they rolled right into “If I Ever Leave This World Alive” and King barely needed to sing, a packed theatre at full voice, people arm in arm swaying to the melody. The sway quickly turned back into a bounce for “What’s Left of the Flag.”
After the mediocre reception fans gave their last album, Speed of Darkness, it was good to hear the reception fans gave the tracks from the upcoming Life Is Good. The new tracks offered help a lot of the familiar celtic influence with their trademark swing, but with a bit of a harder edge. Often times a band touring before the release of an album hit a wall presenting fans with material they’ve never heard, this wasn’t the case on this night. Their new album promises big things.
It was great to have these seven drunken pirates back. The wait was too long, here’s to hoping we don’t wait so long for their next visit.
Review – Richard Brunette
Photos – Kieron Yates