I just got home from the Flogging Molly concert at the Uptown Theater in KC. For those of you unfamiliar with this band, think of a cross between an Irish folk band and AC/DC. Hard to imagine but extremely entertaining even for the oldest person in the crowd, which was me. And now for the best part, my son, Thomas, bought me a ticket and I went with him and his friends. I am both honored and humbled by this experience especially since this makes 2 Flogging Molly concerts we attended in the last 3 years. Am I lucky or what? Most twenty somethings wouldn’t be caught dead in public with their fathers much less pay their way to a concert. As payback, I will now attempt to give you all a critical review of this freakishly loud evening of music.
Flogging Molly is like no other band on earth. They are incredibly adept musicians who could just as easily play an acoustic session in a concert hall. Their preferred venue is a small space, crowded with a 1000 or so kids who feel like bouncing off the walls. The energy level is only exceeded by the decibel level which is seismic, to say the least. When the bass makes your eyelids roll back into your head, you know it’s loud. They could just as easily measure it as G-force. Having attended once before, this time I came equipped with cotton balls which lessened the damage somewhat.
All that being said, their music is amazingly varied and well crafted. They have lyrics that can tell a story about life or just serve as an easy sing-a-long, which everybody seems to enjoy. Of course, their musical roots are homegrown from Irish drinking songs but that’s what the crowd is in to, so more’s the better. My personal favorite is “Rebels of the Sacred Heart” which has the most beautiful tin whistle accompaniment I have ever heard. The tin whistle, or penny whistle, has long been my favorite instrument and just for future reference, please play that piece at my funeral if you can find someone who is as good as this young lady.
For sheer unadulterated power, the highlight of the night had to be “Black Friday” which was vaguely reminiscent of an obscure band from the 70’s, named Atomic Rooster. I think Jimi Hendrix would be proud of the guitar licks Flogging Molly produced with that song. The bass player especially earned his pay tonight and I would have to go all the way back to Leo Lyons of Ten Years After to make a comparison of talent and stamina. In fact, the whole concert reminded me of Ten Years After for sound quality, musicianship and sustained energy level.
Aside from the show, my experience was way more fun than I’m used to having at 57 years old. Every time some kid bumped into me or had to slide by me I was given a very polite, “Excuse me sir”, or “Sorry sir”. I’d like to think the younger generation is really very polite but then I have to remember that I probably look like I’m an undercover cop to them and they just don’t want to take any chances around me. Whatever the reason, it’s nice to be treated with due respect given my advanced age and fatherly countenance. Just one piece of fatherly advice though, personal digital devices can be turned off for a few hours without permanent damage to the unit or your social media status. I’m just saying.
Flogging Molly concerts are best described by their own lyrics. They play “Drunken Lullabies” but they play them so well that it’s really a misnomer. Nobody could be drunk and play as well as they do, it just can’t be done. Their whole show is thoroughly entertaining and they even throw in some social commentary and a few fun facts that I was unaware of, specifically that 100,000 Irish were sent to Barbados as slaves to work in the sugar cane plantations. Good stuff and I love historical trivia like that. What’s better than to be entertained and educated all at the same time.
They ended the show with one of their most rousing numbers and the bouncing heads kept it up till the very end. No fights, no stupid drunken behavior, no puking and no one left disappointed as far as I could tell. It was just what a concert should be only more so because these guys really play their hearts out and they genuinely seem to enjoy every minute of it. I know I will go again any time and if you’re smart you will too.
©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content