In its history as a band, Flogging Molly has shown itself adept at both ends of this equation, producing some of the best Celtic punk out there, while each March, taking advantage of the season in which everyone thinks they are Irish (including this English-Dutch music writer).
Flogging Molly's "Live at the Greek Theatre," released today on SideOneDummy Records, is the band's eighth record, and fifth released in March. Additionally, the band is currently on its sixth annual Green 17 Tour, in which it counts down the days until St. Patrick's Day with a whirlwind tour.
But the music remains at the forefront with this seven-piece. On "Live at the Greek Theatre," the band continues to show why it has such a devoted following in both the punk and Irish music worlds. The continue to mix traditional instruments (banjo, accordian, fiddle, tin whistle, acoustic guitar) with modern rock instruments (electric guitar and bass, drums) and instrumentation.
The new release gives fans the full concert experience, with a high-definition DVD and 2-CD set featuring the entirety of the band's Sept. 12, 2009 concert in Los Angeles. The band proves once again it knows how to put on a show.
"We're going to be doing a lot of old songs, a lot of new songs, and having a bit of fun in between," singer Dave King says early in the show. The band then proceeds to prove him right.
Mixing old favorites like "Swagger," "Drunken Lullabies" and "What's Left of the Flag" with more recent releases like "Float" and "Requiem for a Dying Song," the band does its job, playing the songs fans want to hear while continuing to promote "Float," their most recent studio release.
It's a lot more than just playing the songs for this band, though. Nearly every song is introduced with a story or joke from King, one of the most engaging frontmen in any genre right now.
With the DVD, we also get to see a hard working band connecting with its fans. Whether in the live audience or watching it on your television, it's hard not to respect the work this band does, weaving between each other on stage as sweat pours down their brows.
For those of us who only feel Irish during this month, Flogging Molly does a good job of making us feel welcome.
My spin: B+
"Live at the Greek Theatre" is a must-have for Flogging Molly fans. For those who've seen them in concert, it's a chance to take the experience home to relive on your television or stereo. For anyone who hasn't seen them live, it's a great introduction.
This one should be purchased in full. In the age of the download, this DVD/CD combo is about the full experience, not only of the live show, but of fully opening the four-panel package, taking in the pictures of the 16-page booklet and just holding the discs in your hand. Sometimes, that's still an experience worth having.
It's also a great preview of what the band will be bringing to Indianapolis when they play a 6 p.m. show at the Murat Egyptian Room next Monday. The show will feature support act Frank Turner as well as The Architects.
Released: March 2 on SideOneDummy Records
Flogging Molly is: Dave King-lead vocals, acoustic guitars; Bridget Regan-fiddle, tin whistle, backing vocals; Dennis Casey-electric guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar, backing vocals; Robert Schmidt-banjo, mandolin, backing vocals; Nathen Maxwell-accordion, backing vocals; George Schwindt-drums
Additional player: Gary Schwindt-trumpet
Producer: Johnny Bouchard, Gary Schwindt, Ginny Song
Director: Kevin J. Custer