For the last 2 years, my anticipation to see Flogging Molly has been growing like missing out on that popular comedy film everyone and their mom has already seen. But true to popular belief, a Flogging Molly show really is a spectacle to behold.
As I arrived at the House of Blues, I wanted to get a good view of the whole stage upstairs to watch both opening acts. The majority of the pews were reserved seats and the stools weren’t taken, so a stool seemed ideal until Security brought it to my attention they too were “reserved” regardless of notation.
The first opening act was Drowning Men, hailing from Oceanside, California. Drowning opened their set featuring a theremin and organ intro, reminiscent to Gogol Bordello.
The band features dual organists, including vocalist Nato Bardeen, who at times also played guitar, and a small portion of mandolin. Drummer Rory Dolan was sporting a very thick walrus mustache that would probably make him an honorary member in his local Beard and Mustache Association.
The band's sound reminded me of the Kings of Leon, with some choruses sounding similar to The Killers, a few U2 bass parts, and some surfer guitar rifts thrown in the mix. Fan participation was well received with a decent turnout thus far.
During Drowning’s breakdown and set-up for the second act, the stage curtain was left open. In the crowd, I spotted two mohawks and out of all things…Luigi from Super Mario Bros.
Swedish act Moneybrother had an intro that was a dead ringer for “Devil In A Blue Dress.” Vocalist Anders Wendin sounds a lot like Bruce Springsteen with a Swedish accent. Saxophonist Gustav Bendt contributed to backing vocals and sometimes skanked (ska danced) in between parts.
Bassist Karen Kanan Corrêa had a nice solo in their third song. The intro for the fourth song in the set was strikingly familiar to the intro to “Barracuda”. By the end of their set, Wendin said, “we’ve got about 3 minutes and 32 seconds left to our song. We just want to say thank you very much.”
At times, Moneybrother had hints of The Clash here and there. As they performed, I started to notice the bar sides were now packed all around and the floor was nearly at maximium capacity. The pews upstairs were full more than half way through the set.
For Flogging Molly’s set, I wanted to get as close to the floor as possible.
Thankfully, one of my friends was able to secure a stool for me by a table so I could still write and have a great view at the same time.
The floor was also really packed by this time, so the stool was a major plus. The crowd was ready, as proven by the “Olé Olé Olé Olé” chant conjured four times throughout Flogging’s set-up. It was exciting, without a doubt.
DJ’s Crash and Mase from 96.1 WKZQ came out and threw out t-shirts from the stage. One shirt made it all the way to the sound booth. The stage set-up composed of a bass, accordian, drum set, banjo, mandolin, electric guitar, and an acoustic guitar.
Flogging’s intro was a short Irish a cappella song with the use of a projector from the sound board giving the background of the stage a fog effect.
The crowd started jumping on their feet, and the background turned into a skyscraper. Irish born vocalist Dave King greeted the crowd by saying, “good evening to you lovely bastards of Myrtle Beach!”
A mosh pit started with the song “The Likes Of You Again”. Right from the get-go, Flogging sounds incredible. In the middle of the mainly instrumental “Swagger”, the electric guitar went out, but was quickly replaced with another from off-stage. There was continuous applause throughout the entirety of the song.
The next song was the title track to the new album (coming out in May), “Speed Of Darkness.” It started with a short guitar breakdown; a good addition to Flogging’s repertoire. Someone attempted to be the first to crowd surf, but the moment was short-lived.
“There’s one person this song is about, and it’s me,” said King right before starting the song “Selfish Man”. After the song, King points out in the crowd, “I’ve never seen an Irish flag ever have so much fun in my life. Irish men and women should not drink vodka. My head feels like it’s been kicked in the bollocks. The best cure for a hangover is seeing all of you beautiful people!”
During the song “The Worst Day Since Yesterday” The crowd sung in unison, which was the first time in a few years I’d witnessed that.
One of my other friends had been in the pit for a great deal of the concert, and had lost one of his shoes. When he found it, it was placed at my table for safe keeping. King tells the crowd that banjo/mandolin player Bob Schmidt steals bowling shoes. And in doing so, begins the intro to one of their most well known songs, “Drunken Lullabies”, which received the biggest reaction of the whole concert.
“The Wanderlust” received a mellower vibe with swaying and waving arms. King said he wanted an Irish pub feel, but there were too many beer lights for his liking. He decidated the next song “So Stay Long” to late Thin Lizzy guitarist Gary Moore. “We don’t mourn death,” said King, “we celebrate life.” Multiple lighters went up.
King said one of the best things he’s ever done was to fly on a plane to the U.S. The pit starts again with “Black Friday Rule.” A shredding guitar solo in the song was followed by a huge applause, with everyone on their feet and clapping.
King tells the crowd the band wrote the next song (and first single off their new album) “Don’t Shut ‘Em Down” as a callout with the American and Irish economy in mind.
“Devil’s Dance Floor” received an ovation as loud as “Drunken Lullabies”. Band inductions came afterwords, followed by the soul-felt “If I Ever Leave This World Alive,” and wonderful sing along “What’s Left Of The Flag” to end the set.
Another “Olé Olé Olé Olé” chant was derived from the crowd awaiting an encore.
The encore included animated presenatitions of “Float,” “Tobacco Island,” and “Seven Deadly Sins” before the bands exited the stage to “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life” by Monty Phyton.
Afterward, my friend who had previously recovered his lost shoe in the pit, informed the rest of our group that the other he had worn also became lost. While we looked for it as the venue cleared out, a few members from the band came out to the floor to talk to the fans.
The first person we saw was guitarist Dennis Casey, who was by the side of the stage. Some of my friends were also having a conversation with bassist Nathen Maxwell by the main bar.
Before I left the floor, I saw some girls standing by the left side talking to a guy close to my height with a white long sleeved button down shirt, black tie, vest, and slacks, with a silver studded belt. It was banjo/mandolin player Bob Schmidt, who I interviewed two weeks prior! The opportunity to meet him was a treat and the best part of all.
Overall, the concert was amazing. One of the best I’ve bared witness to. The crowd was into Flogging Molly the whole time. You have to see it to believe it for yourself. Next year, you’ll see me on the floor.