With a cover of Bob Marley’s classic “Redemption Song” pouring through the PA system, Flogging Molly exploded onto the stage at House of Blues, Orlando last night.
The Detroit based rock band with Irish punk roots, brought their sold out 6th Annual Green 17 Tour to the City Beautiful. After taking the stage, the band immediately ripped into “Drunken Lullabies” and the fever-pitched party was underway. By the time they wrapped up “Requiem For a Dying Song,” the capacity crowd had morphed into a writhing, bouncing, screaming mass of flesh.
They are touring in support of their recent Speed of Darkness release, one that is filled with lyrics addressing the dire straits most Americans suddenly find themselves in. From “The Power’s Out,” Dave King sang “The power’s out, just like the economy.”
Flogging Molly fans are a passionate bunch. The band rarely gets a sniff of airplay, even over the satellite airwaves, but the Mollies’ fans know every lyric to virtually every song in their diverse catalog. They’ve put their passionate fans before commercial success and the fans love to repay that loyalty. This night, they were in for a treat, as front man and guitarist Dave King announced they’d be digging deep into their library and reviving some of their older tunes.
Watching the show as more of an independent observer, I can share that the quality of the musicianship is impressive. Dennis Casey’s lead riff’s were powerful all night, and his duet with drummer George Schwindt during a rollicking extended version of “Black Friday Rule” was an interesting and engaging twist on the classic guitar solo route. Nathan Maxwell on bass and Robert Schmidt on banjo had their shining moments, too; Maxwell on “Saints and Sinners” and Schmidt on “The Son Never Shines.”
Matthew Hensley’s accordion and King’s wife, Bridget Regan, on tin whistle and violin were the perfect complement to their hard rocking band mates. Regan also did a nice job taking the lead vocals on “A Prayer for Me in Silence.”
King writes the music and is clearly the heart of the band, he’s an accomplished guitar player and offers a unique, powerful and emotive voice. He commands the stage, conducts the audience throughout and was witty and engaging. A fantastic front man who absolutely appears to be enjoying this gig.
The crowd sang along, danced and moshed all night, and truly reached a fever pitch during “Swagger,” “The Likes of You Again,” and “Revolution.” It was an impressive site watching the mass of fans singing, chanting and gesturing at King’s biding.
The band wrapped up the set with a rocking version of “Seven Deadly Sins,” that again had the crowd bellowing along. In a nice nod to the band’s Irish roots, the fervid crowd pulled them back onto the stage with a rollicking soccer chant of “Ole.” King returned to the stage, congratulating the U.S Soccer team for their recent match, and slid into a relatively relaxed cover of Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changing.”
From there it was back to the fever pitch as the crowd deliriously sang along to “Salty Dog”. At the end of the song, they brought up the house lights and the PA pumped out Monty Python’s “Bright Side of Life.” The band gradually exited the stage, as the fully satisfied fans slid through the doors into the Darkness.
The setlist and a link to the band’s excellent 3 disc live album are provided below.
Devil Makes Three, a unique punkish-Americana trio out of Vermont opened the show. They had a great original sound and featured a guitarist, a banjo player complete with Gibbon-esque beard and woman on stand-up bass. No drummer, and they didn’t need one. Their enrgertic thirty minute set absolutely left me craving for more.
Black Joe Lewis followed up and warmed up the raucous crowd with a powerful and passionate set. The seven man wrecking crew absolutely left it all on the stage and tore through an invigorating 45 minute set. The crowd actually pulled them out for an encore, where they treated us with a fun cover version of “Surfin Bird.” Good stuff and an excellent prelude to the main act.
Rock On! – Cretin
Requiem For a Dying Song
The Speed of Darkness
Life In a Tenement Square
Whistles the Wind
Saints and Sinners
The Likes of You Again
The Power’s Out
The Son Never Shines
A Prayer For Me in Silence
Us of Lesser Gods
Black Friday Rule long version with Guitar/Drum duet interspersed
Devil’s Dance Floor
Rebels of the Sacred Heart
If I Ever Leave This World Alive
What’s Left of the Flag
Seven Deadly Sins
Times They are A-Changing (Dylan Cover)