The end of one era begets the beginning of a new one. This is true in so many aspects of life, including the musical world as Celtic rockers Flogging Molly are in the midst of retiring their incredibly popular Green 17 Tour that has become an annual pilgrimage for many fans of the band.
On Tuesday Flogging Molly performed for a sold out appreciative throng at The Pageant in St. Louis with a rousing performance, which is nothing out of the ordinary for this band.
After 10 years the annual Celtic appreciation tour (it started on March 1st and ended on St. Patrick’s Day in 2005 and has grown to 28 dates centering on the Irish holiday) Flogging Molly has called it quits on the Green 17 Tour. This, by no means signals an end to the band, but a freeing up of scheduling in the spring for bigger and better things.
For those who have never seen a Flogging Molly show live you are missing a wildly intense show that combines traditional Celtic music with an edgy punk rock sound. But as much energy as the band gives out it seems they receive and equal amount back from the crowd. On Tuesday the crowd was fired up from the opening chords of “Screaming at the Wailing Wall” and didn’t let up for the entire 2+ hour show. (The floor up front was a mosh pit for nearly the whole show)
Vocalist Dave King was his usual energetic self, joking with fans (including picking on one gent who had inadvertently painted the Ivory Coast flag on his face in Orange-white-green as opposed to the Irish Green-white-orange), giving props to a young man’s impressive beard and admiring the raucous crowd’s energy mixed among his jovial dry sense of humor and showmanship.
King’s immediately recognizable vocals were very strong (Maybe his “secret” is the several cans of Guinness he toasts to the fans every night) and the rest of the band (fiddle player/wife Bridget Regan, guitarist Dennis Casey, Accordionist Matt Hensley, bassist Nathen Maxwell, mandolinist Bob Schmidt and drummer George Schwindt) were as tight as ever.
The show seemed to flow seamlessly from edgy songs (“Devil’s Dance Floor”) to acoustic (a three song break in the middle of the set) to a cover (“The Rare Ould Times” by the Dublin City Ramblers but dedicated to Irish folk artist Luke Kelly who covered the song with The Dubliners) all without missing a beat.
Flogging Molly ran the gamut from the latest song they have recorded (“Rise Up”) to their first song they recorded in “Salty Dog” and a ton of songs in between in their 25 song set, hitting something for everyone. Although, this reviewer would have liked to have heard “Laura”, something they have yet to play in the Gateway City (though I assume that may not be Bridget’s first choice of a song to play).
A highlight (hard to pick just one) came during “Black Friday Rule” as King performed the first 2/3 of the song solo with only his acoustic guitar accompanying his vocals. The rest of the band came out to punch the ending, but it was a nice change to a wonderfully poignant song.
The Green 17 Tour has always been a sort of showcase for their greatest hits, per se, without being able to focus too much on new material. Freeing up the spring schedule will allow them to do so beginning next year when they release their follow up to 2011’s “Speed of Darkness”.
In putting the Green 17 Tour to rest Flogging Molly is doing so with a bang, and it is certainly not a tour to miss.
Flogging Molly Setlist:
1) Screaming at the Wailing Wall
2) (No More) Paddy’s Lament
3) Every Dog Has Its Day
5) Whistles the Wind
6) Drunken Lullabies
7) Life in a Tenement Square
8) Saints and Sinners
9) Requiem for a Dying Song
10) This Present State of Grace (Acoustic)
11) The Son Never Shines (On Closed Doors) (Acoustic)
12) Us of Lesser Gods (Acoustic)
13) Tobacco Island
14) The Rare Ould Times (Dublin City Ramblers cover)
15) Devil’s Dance Floor
16) The Likes of You Again
19) Rise Up
20) Salty Dog
21) What’s Left of the Flag
22) The Wrong Company
23) Black Friday Rule
24) Seven Deadly Sins
25) If I Ever Leave This World Alive