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

Flogging Molly: Life is Good

July 4, 2017

Life of Good is a very good album! Very much a return to roots by the Mollies after the more boundary pushing Speed of Darkness. The general consensus around the “interweb” is Life is Good is the best thing Flogging Molly have done since Within a Mile of Home or even Drunken Lullabies and I would very much agree – settled science. The young pretenders have been snapping at FMs heels for quite a while but Dave King and gang have stepped back into the ring to reclaim the Celtic-punk heavy weight title. So without a track-by-track, blow-by-blow review here are the highlights.

The Hand Of John L. Sullivan that punches as hard as the great man himself.

Welcome To Adamstown, with it’s ska/horn dance-ability. I actually grew-up not too far from Adamstown and went to school right beside it. There was nothing there when I was in school a lifetime a go, just fields and a country house. In the late 1990s/2000s there was a massive property boom in Ireland – developers built thousands of houses in west Dublin yet no real infrastructure was put in (shops, schools, churches – yep you atheists) then the whole thing went bust leaving unfinished streets and negative equity, unemployment and bank foreclosures. Now there are hundreds of houses but still noting there. Welcome To Adamstown gets the story right.

The Last Serenade (Sailors And Fisherman), reminiscent at times of the magnificent the son never shines on closed doors.

Flogging Molly are truly back and life is great.

Track listing:

There’s Nothing Left Pt. 1
The Hand Of John L. Sullivan
Welcome To Adamstown
Reptiles (We Woke Up)
The Day’s We’ve Yet To Meet
Life Is Good
The Last Serenade (Sailors And Fisherman)
The Guns Of Jericho
Crushed (Hostile Nations)
The Bride Wore Black
Until We Meet Again

Flogging Molly: Speed Of Darkness

July 1, 2011

There are two types of bands that have long, successful careers. The bands that stick to the basics and the same tried and true formula that keeps the punters happy and screaming for more of the same – AC/DC, The Ramones, Motorhead – you always know what your getting from these guys. Then there are the groups that can reinvent themselves, change direction and bring along the fan base – U2, Bowie and Costello. Its a brave thing to try and change and its difficult to successfully bring along the fan base – Kiss, The Rolling Stones and even The Pogues faltered and stumbled when they did something outside the expected. So when FM put out “Don’t Shut ‘Em Down” as a teaser it was one of those “what the fu@k” moments as the entire FM army scratched their head. No pints! No pirates! More The Jam with a Celtic/industrial bent meets Billy Bragg and Michael Moore – the Detroit move must have really influenced Dave’s outlook on life.

So, what’s the rest of the album like – a mix of the newish stuff and stuff that would be more at home on Float or Within a Mile of Home. Unfortunately, if any of those oldish tracks did make it onto either of those album they wouldn’t be the memorable ones – and there lies the problem, good songs don’t just cut it for FM, they can’t be merely good and experimental, they need to be great (or have at least 3 great songs) and experimental to pull it off. They only get close once to great once on the track “Revolution”.

I’m going to give some of the benefit of the doubt to the use of new producer (Ryan Hewitt of Red Hot Chili Peppers fame) and blame him for the newish tracks and the dulled sound and I’m gonna claim Speed…would have been so much better with Ted Hult or Steve Albin behind the glass.

In the end of the day Speed the Darkness is a good album with some brave ideas but not a great one and Flogging Molly needs to do great

Flogging Molly: Within a Mile From Home

Just like previous Flogging Molly releases, “Within A Mile From Home” grabs you by the bollocks, picks you up off the ground, and slams you hard against the wall with a sonic blast of fury that only those Molly Malone floggers could produce. Yes indeed, the latest FM release is here, and i’m already black & blue from the bruises. I’m sure you already know, but the first time you hear these guys, your jaw will drop, and your head will explode. That first listen is simply too much for the body to handle. You just have to buck up, and soak it in. It takes a few listening sessions just to describe them. “Within A Mile From Home” is no different than any other FM album. It does not disappoint. It WILL kick your ass, and you will love it.

“Within A Mile From Home” contains 15 tracks that in this reviewers opinion should be played from start to finish with no interruptions, and no excuses. You’ll enter the audio journey with determination, and you’ll exit with a sense of satisfaction only a handful of albums can deliver.”Within A Mile Of Home” is one of those albums. From the first track, “Screaming At A Wailing Wall”, to the final effort, “Don’t Let Me Die Still Wondering” It’s all there. From the euphoric laughter, to the bitter tears, and from the doubt, to the the unconditional love, that only the beauty of life can bring. Lead singer, Dave King, still has that desperation in his lyrics & his voice, but just not as raw and vulnerable as they were on the first album “Swagger”. These lyrics are fine tuned, and more calculated. Obviously, they were written by a proud soul who has seen the peaks, and the valleys of life, and doesn’t mind telling you about it.

Musically, Flogging Molly have grown since the last release. (Am I hearing Cajun and a little Appalachian in the mix?) They are still as tight as a broke Scotsman during tax season, and still as diverse as a refugee ship arriving at Ellis Island in the 19th century. Speaking of ships, nautical fans will enjoy tracks such as the pirate anthem, “The Seven Deadly Sins”, and “Queen Anne’s Revenge” with Nathen Maxwell (bass) up front with the vocals. There’s the ballads such as the tearful track, “The Spoken Wheel”, or “Whistles The Wind”, that’s sure to have you signing along with the chorus. I should also mention the kick ass track “To Youth (My Sweet Roisin Dubh)” that was previously released on the latest Warped Tour 2004 Compilation. Then you’ve got yourself a duet on “Factory Girls” with Lucinda Williams sharing the microphone.

All in all, you can never tell people what the standout tracks are on a Flogging Molly album. Certain tracks affect people in different ways, but one things for sure, there’s always something for everyone on FM albums. (which can explain the crowds at their live shows.) Speaking of shows, I’m looking forward to the upcoming tour. I’m looking forward to sharing the Devil’s Dance Floor with fellow Flogging Molly fans from every walk of life. I’m looking forward to picking you up off the floor, only to have you return the favor. I’m looking forward to packing a pub full of chanting Flogging Molly fans. I’m looking forward sharing an evening with an amazing band that continues to amaze me with a new release every couple of years, and maybe that’s the riddle. To simply look forward to the next time Flogging Molly will grab you by the bollocks, pick you off the ground, and slam you hard against the wall with a sonic blast of fury that only Flogging Molly could produce. We’ve all felt it right? or is it just me? Hell, I dunno, what do I know? Cheers to ya!

Track listing:
Light of a Fading Star
Tobacco Island
The Wrong Company
Tomorrow Comes a Day to Soon
Queen Annes Revenge
The Wanderlust
Within a Mile of Home
The Spoken Wheel
With a Wonder and a Wild Desire
Don’t Let Me Die Still Wonderin’

July 2004

Review By “Barnacle” Brian Gillespie

Flogging Molly: Drunken Lullabies (Review 2)

(As purveyors of the Modern Irish Music Scene, we here at Shite N’ Onions felt this release important enough to review twice. By the way, if you’re not a Star Wars fan, you may want to skip this and go directly to Brian Gillespie’s review ASAP)

As a life-long Star Wars fan, (not nerd, but fan, mind you) I’d liken the build-up to this release to the anticipation I felt upon hearing about “The Phantom Menace” for the first time. Pumped to say the least. The teasers came swiftly. The live staple “Rebels of the Sacred Heart” promised excitement upon first listen. News of the new album in progress spread across the ‘net. The Flogging Molly Club on Yahoo drummed up excitement for what seemed like years. And then – a release date, and no bonus points for originality here: St. Patrick’s Day.

Coming home with the album was like the lights dimming and preparing to watch Luacsfilms fuck with all that was sacred. This was Flogging Molly after all. “Swagger” was one of the reasons directly responsible for this site being created. So, did this album screw with past memories of glory like the putrid awfulness that was “The Phantom Menace?” Did this album contain a Jar-Jar Binks? I’m happy and relieved to respond with an earth-shattering “Feck No!”

In many ways for me, this release is “Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” to “Swagger”s “Episode IV: Star Wars.” To sum up, a darker, more mature effort that I prefer to the original. You heard it. I think this album is better than “Swagger.” It’s not heresy or sacrilege. I just like the overall mood and atmosphere FM have created with this one. The band have all upped the ante, and they all sound top-notch. From Matt Hensley’s prominent accordion to Bridget Regan’s whistle/fiddle, they never sounded better. Dennis Casey, Nathan Maxwell and George Schwindt provide a helluva raucous noise any band would be proud of, and I’m very impressed with Robert Schmidt’s mandolin/bazouki/banjo playing as well. And then we have the vocal stylings and lyrical musings of Mr. King. To sum up his contributions, we turn to a line Dave himself once sang: I am the King and Long Shall I Reign! Well-said and damn right.

From the opening tunes of “Drunken Lullabies” it’s clear we’re back in familiar territory. “Ah, but maybe it’s the way we were taught/Or maybe it’s the way we fought/But a smile never grins without tears to begin/For each kiss is a cry we lost” laments vocalist Dave King. King sounds better on this release than he did on the last, more full of rage and pissed off. The lyrics and intonations seem angrier as well.

Highlights of the first, faster half of the album are many: “May the Living Be Dead (In Our Wake)”sets the plate but my fave of the opening side alternates between the aforementioned live staple “Rebels of the Sacred Heart” and the rollicking “The Kilburn High Road.”

The second half kicks off with the familiar oldie “Swagger” to get the pint a shakin.’ Side Two includes bass player Nathan Maxwell’s pinned sea-tale “Cruel Mistress” on which he also sings. To me, it sounds like the Pogues “Hell’s Ditch” era. Very impressive debut, sir. But, of course, it’s King whose lyrical mastery I marvel at, and cuts 9-12 are my favorite 4 straight on any album in sometime.

“Death Valley Queen” may well be my favorite cut on the record. Gotta dig the line: “So I found me a whore/With a face just like yours/After several gallons of porter.” And then to hear everything slow down as, after chastising for most of the song, King admits: “I have always loved you” is great, great stuff. “Another Bag of Bricks” treads musically along the same lines as the Pogues “Turkish Song of the Damned” and turns out excellent. The band flex their musical chops on this one. Different from anything I’ve heard out of FM. The old Irish traditional “Dublin in the Rare Ould Times” follows. It was originally written by Pete St. John has always been a favorite of mine, particularly the Dubliners version. FM start things out trad enough, with the slow intro, but this soon segues into a version three times as fast as I’ve heard. It, too, is untouchable.

The album ends on an acoustic (and I would guess autobiographical) note “The Sun Never Shines (On Closed Doors)” which seems to serve as a warning. It seems to say to the darkness of the record: don’t get caught up in it. You need light, hope and love in your life to survive. King gives us that ray of hope with the last tune.

So, in retrospect, the song gives us hope, as did the final scene in “Empire Strikes Back.” After all the darkness, after Solo had been kidnapped by Boba Fett and Darth Vader, after Luke gets his hand whacked off and Vader proclaims himself his father, we still have hope. We stills see Luke, Lando, Chewie and Leia getting ready to go after Solo and the Empire, and we knew all would be well. So, be well until FM’s “Return of the Jedi” my friends. But know this – this may be their greatest hour.

April 2002

By Sean “The Wookie” Holland

Flogging Molly: Drunken Lullabies (Review 1)

The Pogues may be untouchable, but Flogging Molly is pretty damn close! As far as I am concerned, Flogging Molly is the BEST Celtic-Punk band out there right now. No Question! With “Drunken Lullabies” we get an album just as strong, and just as excellent as “Swagger.” The only thing missing with this one is the “Holy Shit!! Who are these guys!!” that we all said when we heard “Swagger” for the first time. Trust me, I still said “holy shit!!” when I put “Drunken Lullabies” on a couple of days ago! It has everything you would expect from a Flogging Molly album! From the thundering drums, to the tin whistle, from the spoons to the Uilleann pipes, it is ALL there.

Those of you who have the live album will be glad to know that “If I Ever Leave This World Alive” finally made it on this one. So did “Rebels Of The Sacred Heart,” a song the band has teased us with at the live shows last year. “Cruel Mistress” may be my favorite tracks on the album, but, I can’t justify picking and choosing, because every song on the album has me bouncing off the walls, spilling my Guinness everywhere.(at 7 am before work!) I am at a loss of words with this album, because it is so brilliant! Matt Hensley’s squeezebox skills even inspired me to jump on my old skateboard and try to relive old glory days…I fell on my arse and realized I can’t skate like Mr. Hensley, (the professional) does!!

The year is young, but, I think I already have my pick for album of the year in the imaginary celtic-folk-punk award show that takes place in my head each year. (I would be sitting next to the lovely Bridget, the fiddle player, of course!)


April 2002

By Brian Gillespie