Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Concert Review: Flogging Molly

You may not have one, but I have a concert bucket list, #HowClicheForADJ (right?). A few names on that list include Rage Against the Machine, Daft Punk, B.O.B., J. Cole...all have varying degrees of liklihood I would see them, with (obviously) being the rare dinosaur I may never get to see because they do like one concern every other year and it's almost always in Chicago at Lollapalooza. With all that being said, I'm proud to say I was proactive enough to seek out tickets to attend one of the more difficult, rare birds on my bucket list last week in Flogging Molly at the Electric Factory. They have always proved elusive to me as I had a chance to see them at TOSU a few years back, but had been regretting that decision after realizing the infrequency they tour the US.

On par, the show sold out a few weeks leading up to the show and I had never seen the Electric Factory so packed to the brim before. I can now understand the capacity of the warehouse as there wasn't a non-crowded standing place in the house. As far as the warm up acts are concerned, The Drowning Men and Moneybrother were decent in their own right, but not quite attention grabbing enough for me to run home and cop their album. You may like them more than me, but they're not really my cup of tea.
You may be curious and wonder, @GWDJ, you're a Hip Hop fan, why @_floggingmolly? Simple, I'm half Irish, so naturally the instrumentation and dialect evoke a sense of pride and familiarity...oh yea did I mention it's great drinking music? Man, if you can listen to a Flogging Molly album and not wanna go VietHAM, you need to let loose a bit and reconsider how you take life too seriously. My expectation for the clientele that would be at the show was something like what you'd expect to see at a metal show, except wearing kilts and looking like they had Guinness in their baby bottle and subsequently, grew up in a pub.

When I got to the show, I realized my expectations weren't entirely true as there were quite a bit of older adults 40+ who were avid fans and seemingly had their shit together a deep appreciation for the band. Since I was with wifey, I did not subject myself to the crowded mess that became the pit, which was fairly tame (not even close to as violent as a metal show) and looked like a bunch of high schoolers actin' a damn fool (since when do people throw shoes in the air in the pit?). Instead, I opted for a nice birds eye view, centered with the stage, with no visual obstruction and a the perk of having a few feet of personal space.
Like most concerts the fans were rabid, incessantly chanting for the band to come onstage. When they did it was like a 0-100 mph acceleration as they sped through one of the new tracks off their upcoming album Speed of Darkness. Here was a clip I caught off top of their new track Speed of Darkness.

A big surprise came from me when they broke out Devil's Dancefloor not even halfway through their set. I had always thought of it as an encore type track since it is their most noteworthy hit (I thought), but again I'm more of a casual fan, which didn't really fit in with the majority of the crowd who had already seen them live.
Flogging Molly - Devil's Dancefloor

Somethin about the ol' tin whistle in that track does it for me man. Definitely makes me want to visit Ireland...

Much to the chagrin of the rowdies that live in the pit, midway through the set, Flogging Molly broke out into a 4 song acoustic set that was more like a string of lullabys than crazy drunken Irish music. To me it was a really cool contrast because I can appreciate slow acoustic banjo tracks like the one below, If I Ever Leave This World, which end up turning into echoing, wall shaking sing-alongs. Again, the tin whistle blends well and is a match made in heaven with the banjo, two instruments rarely used in American music.
Flogging Molly - If I Ever Leave This World

After the pit woke up from the nap, it was pedal back to the metal with more uptempo, jig inducing, accordion laced songs that ignited the crowd with energy. That's probably the biggest thing I noticed at this show when I took a second to step back. It's really hard to find live music that injects the crowd with endless energy the way Flogging Molly does. As the show continued on nearing the second hour of the set (AWESOME!), there was never a let up and I began to feel a sense of pride in myself that I had chosen to put them on my concert bucket list. They really were worth waiting for and missing all those years because they are an absolute blast to see live. No better way to show that than on their rendition of Rebels of a Sacred Heart...
Flogging Molly - Rebels of a Sacred Heart

Ended up being a great seat since I was bumped minimally, didn't have anything spilled on myself and got a great view of the stage (which isn't easy considering I'm under 6 ft tall) that allowed enough personal space to move around and stretch when needed. I'm really looking forward to their new album coming out in 2011 and if you have a chance to see them live, you'd be a fool to not heavily consider it...and consider it early because their shows ALWAYS sell out. While I'll never consider myself a hard core fan of their music and know every song by heart, there's definitely a uniqueness that goes along with their energetic, positive music that is unquestionably alluring, which is the ultimate reason why I have so much respect for their music.


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