(Photo by Jared Jernagan)
On Monday night, the Los Angeles-based Celtic punk band brought its energetic live show to the Murat Egyptian Room Monday evening, and did not disappoint the sold out crowd.
Opening with "(No More) Paddy's Lament," perhaps the loudest number off of 2008's "Float," everyone knew we were in for a rockin' night.
But there's something else to a Flogging Molly show. While the seven-piece plays with a ferocity that leaves ears ringing at night's end, there's a personal element to it all. To steal a phrase, this music is "of the people, by the people and for the people." While the band's Irish roots give them a strong following in a certain demographic, it's really music for anyone who doesn't always have it easy, who's had a tough day or just wants to let it all out.
The connection between band and audience really shined through about halfway through the set when the band went acoustic for a few songs. The crowd, raucous to that point, took the slowdown in stride, swaying to the sounds of "The Wanderlust," "Us of Lesser Gods" and "Factory Girls."
Volume and aggression may be big parts of what makes this band what it is, but the heart that underlies it all really matters.
None of this is to say it wasn't a wild night of music. Fan favorites "Drunken Lullabies" and "What's Left of the Flag" produced wild moments in the crowd, with the former prompting King to call the crowd "a fun bunch of singers."
Musically, the night's finest moment came from "Float." Coming just at the end of the acoustic set, the song opens with just King's voice and acoustic guitar. From there it builds, with Matthew Hensley's accordion first joining the mix. Fiddler Bridget Regan then joins the mix, followed by the banjo of Robert Schmidt. The three instruments mix beautifully, driving the song through much of its run.
By the end though, it's a full band affair, as George Schwindt (drumming with his hands) and bassist Nathen Maxwell join. The song reaches a fever pitch, though, when electric guitarist joins in, with his moaning axe bringing the song to its final, cathartic moments.
The show served as proof of the great live band this ensemble is. Just last week, they released "Live at the Greek Theatre" as a DVD and double CD. The Indy show stood up to the Los Angeles performance documented on the release.
This band has honed its live show for well over a decade and it shows. They bring it consistently every night, whether the recorders are on or not.
A good show from a band who really cares will always keep the fans coming back.