On a night like Fat Tuesday there are few bands that you'd rather party with than Los Angeles based Irish rock outfit Flogging Molly. With the beer flowing, the band tore down the house Tuesday night leaving no doubt of their stature as the premier Irish rock band.
Despite the rain in St. Louis, the crowd showed up in force to the sold out show at The Pageant to support the band (read: sing their guts out) on the final party day before the Lenten season. The band proceeded to turn the mid-size venue, into a local Irish pub.
Hailing from San Diego, CA, the quintet known as The Drowning Men opened the evening, but I unfortunately missed all but two or three songs of their short set.
The second support band, Moneybrother, a 6 piece band from Stockholm, Sweeden featuring Anders Wendin (formerly of punk rock band Monster) on guitar/vocals. Their sound is a mix of rock and soul with influences of punk, reggae, pop and protest songs. To further describe their sound just take Joe Strummer and put him in front of the E Street Band and you're very close. Wendin is backed by a solid band comprised of saxophone player Gustav Bendt, a lead guitarist Yoni Gordon, drummer August Berg, organ/piano player Wes Shippee and bass guitarist Karen Kanan Corrêa. Wendin even plays a Fender Telecaster just like Strummer and Springsteen. Wendin certainly had plenty experience working the crowd and with his charisma he had the crowd behind the band by the end of their opening set. Gracious to a fault, Wendin thanked the crowd for their early turnout to see his band. The band has released 6 full length albums since 2003; only one being a Swedish language album. Check out their music here and read an interview with Wendin here.
Just before the start of the show the AC/DC track "Riff Raff" pumped up the crowd with its bluesy classic rock vibe. A perfect choice for St. Louis even though many likely didn't recognize the song because they hadn't been born when AC/DC released Powerage (it's not on Back In Black and yes there's other great albums in their catalog) in 1978.
Playing in front of a backdrop with a picture of what looked like the abandoned Michigan Central Station in Detroit, Flogging Molly hit the stage at 9:29 p.m. to a loud roar of the audience ready to drink and sing to their heart's content. Vocalist/guitar player Dave King took control of the of the evening holding court over his followers, many wearing Flogging Molly t-shirts, newsboy hats or some type of green St. Patrick's Day type shirt. Each seemingly ready to follow him into battle against any and all foes. The singer welcomed the crowd with tongue firmly in cheek saying, "What a bunch of beautiful-looking bastards we got here tonight!" King proceeded to strum his trusty Gibson jumbo body guitars while dancing a jig around the stage crowded with 6 other musicians while playing MC and introducing songs and the band along the way.
The floor directly in front of the stage, which previously had seemed 3/4 full, was quickly filled to capacity as more people pushed their way into the area to get their mosh on. An mosh they did turing the dance floor into a pool of sweaty bodies throwing forearms, elbows and stomping to the beat. About 3 songs into the set King gave some sage advise learned in his own youth in the 1970s to his younger brethren by reminding the crowd that when a floor is small pogoing may be the best route to having a good time, but not getting hurt.
Playing a perfect variety of old and new material mixed with hits and album cuts, the 7 piece band played a strong 22 song set that had the crowd energized throughout. During much of the set the crowd raised hands and fists high in the air and shouted out words to the songs they knew so well. Classics like "Swagger", "Requiem For A Dying Song and "Drunken Lullabies" were early favorites along with new songs "Speed Of Darkness" and "Saints And Sinners."
King slowed down the proceedings midway through the set playing a "few acoustic" numbers including "The Wanderlust", "Factory Girls" and a new song though only guitar player Dennis Casey changed over to an acoustic guitar while the rest of the band just turned down the intensity a little.
By the time the set reached the end the background changed to show videos as the band played. "What's Left Of The Flag" showed images of Irish patriotism, wartime propaganda posters, and the Irish flag. When the encore started with "Float" the official video played in the background; while "Tobacco Island", a song describing people from Ireland being sold as slaves to work in Barbados in 1659, had a map charting the course as the backdrop.
After a nearly 2 hour set that left the audience smiling wide as they wobbled out of the venue toward home, Flogging Molly bid adieu to the St. Louis crowd. Near the end of the evening King appropriately said, "When you're in a band like Flogging Molly, every fuckin' day is St. Patrick's Day." How right he is!
Their label Side One Dummy will release the band's fifth studio record titled Speed Of Darkness this May.
Flogging Molly set list:
Speed Of Darkness (new song)
The Likes Of You Again
(Dave advises on floor dancers to pogo)
Requiem For A Dying Song
Worst Day Since Yesterday
Saints and Sinners (new song)
(No More) Paddys Lament
The Wanderlust (acoustic)
Factory Girls (acoustic)
Souls Sail On (acoustic) (new song)
Black Friday Rule
Don't Shut 'Em Down (new song) (hospitals, schools, factories)
Rebels of the Sacred Heart
Devil's Dance Floor
If I Ever Leave This World Alive
What's Left Of The Flag
The Seven Deadly Sins