“St. Patrick’s Day was three days ago but when Flogging Molly comes to town, every day is fucking St. Patrick’s Day,” said lead singer/guitarist Dave King during the band’s show at the Ace of Spades last Wednesday. Over the past twenty years, Flogging Molly has toured relentlessly, recorded albums and even founded their own music festival for a cruise liner.
On their latest album Life Is Good (Vanguard Records, 2017), the band finds themselves in a world that looks less optimistic than years prior. However, holding true to the energy they give at their shows, the power of music is still a force that can carry on through the bleakest moments of current times. As anybody who has seen Molly live for the first time can witness, their energy is quite like no other in live music.
To open the show was Scott H. Biram (a.k.a The Dirty Old One Man Band). One has to ask what liquid fury he drank before he walked on stage. He sat down on a wooden box (which was also used as foot percussion) and lashed out at the audience with a monstrous growl of country and bluegrass. Hailing from Austin, TX, Biram was a different type of solo act who sang songs appropriately titled “Alcohol Blues,” “Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue,” and “Trainwrecker”. With fury and drunken rawness, Biram blazed through selections from his catalog with his guitar and stomped each beat, needing no drummer to back him up.
Next was Jon Snodgrass and Friends, a veteran musician and member of notable bands (Drag The River, The Scorpios) who, along with his three-piece group, played melodic punk songs that reminisced of Bob Mould’s Sugar era of solo work. Knowing that age can reflect in music, Jon sang about issues that are more important to him now as a father, such as the cautionary tale “Don’t Break Her Heart.” Other songs from his previous EPs such as “They’re Not Friends” and “Losing Everyone” showcased the evolution of the singer-songwriter who branched out over the years to create his own niche from the alt-country sound.
Raised fists and cans of Guinness went into the air as Flogging Molly came on next. The seven-piece group orchestrates pure chaos on stage with ballads and raucous pit charger songs that have accumulated an army of fans over the years. Although they deal with serious themes in their music such as the IRA conflicts, genocide, and PTSD, classics such as “Drunken Lullabies” and “Salty Dog” brought the crowd to a dancing frenzy with strangers arm-in-arm. Dave King, along with multi-instrumentalists Bridget Regan and Bob Schmidt, bassist Nathen Maxwell, guitarist Dennis Casey, accordionist Matt Hensley, and drummer Mike Alonso performed fan favorites including “The Hand of John L. Sullivan,” “Rebels of the Sacred Heart” and “Float” without missing a beat. King would speak in between songs about his childhood growing up in poverty-stricken Dublin reminding fans that their songs are based on real-life experiences. To end the night was none other than fan favorite “What’s Left of the Flag” which resulted in drunken dancing, beer, sweat-soaked shirts, and smiles.
Words: Jake Monka. Photos: Dan Tyree.