Luck of the Irish: Flogging Molly pleases crowd at Toad’s

By on October 24, 2006

On Oct. 11, a rainy Wednesday night, Flogging Molly, the band that formed at Molly Malone’s, a bar in Los Angeles, hit the stage at Toad’s. Toad’s was a great location, big enough to fit a good amount of people, but small enough to keep the fans close to the stage. The band stays true to their Irish roots, as most of the band members are either from Ireland or of Irish descent.

Dave King, the leader of the group, writes Flogging Molly’s lyrics. Robert Schmidt, their banjo and mandolin player, stated that the inspiration for the lyrics came from King’s experiences.

“Primarily when he was a child, kind of looking back on that stuff. A lot of the new music will be about the differences between Ireland when he was a kid and now,” King said.

King started off the concert first by thanking the opening act Zox. Afterwards, he immediately went into their first song, “Screaming at the Wailing Walls.” The fast-paced Springsteen-esque concert rocked through their next two songs, “Likes of You Again” and “Swagger.” King then took a break to talk about the war and the Bush administration. He then proceeded to dedicate his next song to Bush, “Selfish Man.”

Flogging Molly was influenced by a range of musicians, from Johnny Cash, to The Beatles, to The Clash, to The Pogues and Dolly Parton. It is obvious in their range of sound and instrumentation in songs like “Whistles the Wind” to “Drunken Lullabies” to “Black Friday Rules.” Because of this, Molly has been able to develop a unique sound and style.

Dave King kept his fans energized by speeding up their songs compared to the CD versions. Before the show, Schmidt commented on one of his preferred songs saying, “I love playing ‘Tobacco Island’ right now because it’s a barnburner and is getting increasingly harder to play hence because we play it increasingly faster. Everything on stage with us is like warp-speed.” They did not slow down Wednesday night, however, other than on “Whistles the Wind.”

Combining their unique sound of the tin whistle, banjo and accordion, they flew through the rest of their set list of 17 songs. Other members combined to help King with the singing. The fiddle player, Bridget Regan, sang “Factory Girls” and guitarist, Nathen Maxwell sang “Queen Anne’s Revenge.” They finished with one of their fan favorites, “What’s Left of the Flag,” all the while, inducing massive amounts of jigging, despite the fatigue of the fans.

After a brief pause, King walked on stage alone with just his acoustic guitar with the fans chanting “ole” in the hopes of an encore. He claimed that years ago Johnny Cash had played at Toad’s, and proclaimed himself unworthy to be playing in the same venue as such a legend, but honored to have done so. He then asked the crowd if there was anyone from California in the crowd. After he found a very enthusiastic Californian front and center he smiled and said that he wrote his next song about coming to California.

Once he played the first notes of “Black Friday Rule’s,” Toad’s erupted back into the frenzy it was in before the encore. Flogging Molly finished the show with a song off their latest album, “Within a Mile of Home,” “Seven Deadly Sins”.

What looked like a relatively tame crowd, turned out to be, in the words of Dave King, “a bunch of Irish bastards.” They were blown away by Flogging Molly’s high-paced, high-octane concert.

The band hopes to release their next CD in the early summer of 2007.


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