Songs for the Past, Present and Future
Spring’s in full swing, which means it’s time for drinking, dancing and concerts! While Flogging Molly might not be the first band that comes to mind when you think of the Cinco de Mayo, I’ll be damned if there was a better concert to attend this weekend.
Dublin’s own Dylan Walshe got the evening off to a solid start with his somber, yet uplifting music. Keeping the beat and rhythm all on his own, using a stomp box and tambourine below his feet. This multi-instrumentalist fit the night’s lineup perfectly, complementing Flogging Molly’s take on Irish folk music. It was a stripped down, straight forward performance with personality to spare.
The White Buffalo took the stage to rousing applause and damn did they earn it with an energetic and engaging performance. Singer Jake Smith’s voice sounds like I feel after a night of drinking whiskey and smoking unfiltered Lucky Strikes. It’s easy to see why Kurt Sutter wanted him to contribute music to Sons of Anarchy, with his effortless cool and presence. Bassist Christopher Hoffee and drummer Matt Lynott kept things moving along, hitting every note with style and intensity, while Mr. Smith lost himself in the music, flinging his head back, letting his hair fly free.
Both openers put on an amazing show and are worth seeking out if you have the chance, the cherry on top came in the form of a band I firmly believe to be one of the best live music experiences.
More Than A Party
You can take Flogging Molly on surface value alone and fixate on the drinking references and danceable elements of the music, which is how many young fans find their way to the band. An older sibling uses their music as background noise for a loud party and so begins either a casual relationship fueled by alcohol or one with a band who cements unbreakable bonds with friends.
The themes of regret, love, and loss in the band’s music only deepened my love for them. They were a band my best friend Chase and I listened to religiously, hoisting pints of Guinness and dancing around like morons at home because what else were two 19-year-old dorks supposed to do? While these memories were formative and Flogging Molly provided an amazing soundtrack to them, unfortunately, fate has a way of sticking its unwanted nose into things and ruining everything. Chase passed away at the age of 22, forcing me to confront certain realities at a young age. Yet there was Flogging Molly again, spinning on my turntable, but now for a party of one.
The words of loss and regret in the band’s lyrics began to amplify in my mind and inform my perception of the band. This mixed with upbeat nature of the music and the sense of camaraderie at their shows, only helped in coping with the loss of my friend. For while there’s always going to moments of pain in life, it’s still worth living to the fullest.
But Still A Party
There really isn’t anything else on earth like going to a Flogging Molly show. It’s part punk show, part family reunion and an all around party. The band is always on point, bringing an energy that is sure to infect even the most stubborn curmudgeon in the crowd. Part of their staying power is that they have never let themselves be pigeonholed into one genre, by mixing Irish Folk music with the intensity of Punk they’ve carved out their own niche. It’s also this unique mix that allows them to appeal to a multi-generational fanbase. I distinctly remember being at my first Flogging Molly show in 2004 at the age of 18. I turned around and saw a man who had to be at least 80, sitting in a wheelchair, wearing a green Flogging Molly shirt with a gray scally cap on, singing along to every word. He was flanked by who I assume were his son and grandson, the smiles on all of their faces spoke volumes of the bond the band instills.
This tradition continued on Saturday night in Seattle, as more lifelong memories were made. Especially for the young girl who singer Dave King dedicated their new song “Reptiles (We Woke Up)” to, a huge smile beamed across her face as she sat atop her father’s shoulders. A moment I’m sure they’ll cherish for a long time to come. And if there’s one thing that going to Flogging Molly shows has taught me it’s to grab the ones you love, hold them close and let go of the petty problems that plague our daily lives.
May 10th Boise, ID The Knitting Factory
May 12th Salt Lake City, UT The Complex
May 13th Denver, CO Fillmore Auditorium
May 14th Omaha, NE Sokol Auditorium
May 16th St. Paul, MN Palace Theatre
May 18th Cleveland, OH Agora
May 19th Pittsburgh, PA Stage AE
May 20th Silver Spring, MD The Fillmore
May 21st New Haven, CT College Street Music Hall
May 23rd New York, NY Irving Plaza
May 24th New York, NY Irving Plaza
May 26th Boston, MA House of Blues
May 27th Portland, ME State Theater
May 28th Montreal, Quebec Metropolis
May 30 Toronto, CN Rebel Complex
June 1st Grand Rapids, MI 20 Monroe Live
June 2nd Chicago, IL Aragon Ballroom
June 3rd Detroit, MI The Fillmore
June 4th Cincinnati, OH Bunbury Music Festival