Flogging Molly/Street Dogs/The Briggs: House of Blues, Orlando – (September 22, 2004)

I’ve seen The Briggs before, when I saw them open for Street Dogs on their Maiden Voyage Tour last year, and they were decent. When I saw them last, I’d just seen Dropkick Murphys two days before, and I’d seen so much bad punk (the opening acts) over a three-day span I was getting sick of the genre.

Same here — not bad, but I was here to see the last two bands. The Briggs got a lot of support from the crowd — apparently a lot of people were there to see this on this particular night. The band (who I don’t know as much about as I should) has a pirate theme (singer Joey LaRocca came out onstage in a captain’s hat that I think Ted Knight wore in “Caddyshack”), but I couldn’t tell if that made any difference in the music at all.

The last time I saw the Street Dogs was a year ago, and I had forgotten how good they were as a live band (though that show was in the now defunct Venom in St. Petersburg in front of about 20 people — sadly the night of Game 7 between the Red Sox and Yankees). The Briggs had asked the obligatory “Are you ready for Flogging Molly?” and also said, “And the Street Dogs are here!” The former got a big cheer, the latter barely anything (except for maybe me). So I wondered how many people there had heard of them. Not surprisingly, Mike McColgan makes the band a great live act, stalking the stage like a predator. He actually would give a nod to the fans who were singing the songs, pointing to them and thumping his chest in a show of appreciation.

The Boston band started with “Savin Hill” and moved right into “Jakes” and “Cut Down On the 12th” and a few of us were rocking out. You could tell who knew the band and who didn’t, but I heard a lot of people behind me singing along with McColgan. Other highlights: McColgan actually came out into the crowd to sing the start of “Fighter”, and had Flogging Molly’s Matt Hensley guest on a new song, “Tale of Mass Deception.” A great performance from one of the best live bands I’ve seen recently— I wish Street Dogs had more material, and am very much looking forward to their new “Back to the World” due in January 2005.

Ah yes, then Flogging Molly came out much to the delight of the crowd, which seemed like the majority had a two-page paper on the Louisiana Purchase due next week. They are also one of the The crush near the stage was impressive. I saw them at the Masquerade in Tampa back in March and I didn’t remember it being this bad. It of course was claustrophobic, hot, humid and sweaty. (After the show, my fingers wrinkled like I was swimming — I forget, is this normal?)

But though I was glad to be out of the mass at the end, I was disappointed the show was not longer. The songs from the new CD that you would imagine are great live songs — “Screaming at the Wailing Wall”, “Seven Deadly Sins”, “The Light From a Fading Star”, “Whistles The Wind” and “Tomorrow Comes A Day Too Soon” — didn’t disappoint.

Of course, the new material means that some of the songs I enjoyed in the past may have faded from their live repetoire, most notably in my case, “The Worst Day Since Yesterday.” In any event, they didn’t play it this night.

How Dave King (and the rest of Flogging Molly, for that matter) does this night after night almost mystifies me. If I started high-stepping like he did during Dennis Casey’s guitar solo on “Black Friday Rule”, I’d be sore for days.

Lastly, I’ve seen Flogging Molly five times in the past two years, and every time, I’ve seen some of the the band interacting with the fans before or after the show. I cannot overstate how much I appreciate this. (To be fair, Street Dogs and The Briggs were also hanging around the merchandise counter after the show, so props to them too.)

Hopefully, we’ll see Street Dogs and Flogging Molly hook up again for a show — it’s a great combination.

As an aside, the show also had a film presentation from Jello Biafra’s Punk Voter organization that got cheers from the Bush haters in the crowd, laughs for a Will Ferrell impression of Bush and elicited at least one shout of “Fuck politics!” So, um, vote. Or something.

Review by Rob Shore

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