Flogging Molly @ Birmingham Academy – 4th June 2008

Flogging Molly

Up first are Ill Scarlet who give an energetic and enthusiastic performance despite a lack of response from the crowd, with the exception of a group of four guys going crazy throughout the whole set. Their reggae and ska infused sound created quite a relaxed atmosphere, particularly with final song, ‘Mary Jane’ which got the crowd swaying along. The guys are very likeable, chatting to the crowd and even throwing out free CDs. With great vocals and catchy reggae inspired songs like the impressive, ‘Heaters’, its likely the UK won’t have seen the last of Ill Scarlet.

Pepper@ Birmingham AcademyPepper@ Birmingham Academy

Pepper take to the stage next, immediately reminding the crowd of what is expected at a Flogging Molly gig, yelling ‘It’s time to wake up and get fucking drunk!’. The Hawaii guys’ sound is again relaxed with strong reggae and ska influences, however their set is more chaotic and less polished than the previous support. This is most likely deliberate however, as with frequent condemnations of popular American music and MTV from singer Kaleo Wassman, Pepper clearly intend to uphold the punk ideals, throwing in a ‘Hey Ho, Let’s Go’ and a cover of The Clash for good measure. The last song sees Pepper recruiting members of Flogging Molly to join in on new single,
‘Blackout’, getting the energy going for the headliners up next.

As soon as Flogging Molly appear on stage, its difficult not to feel like singing along with a pint of Guinness raised. The Irish influence is so clear in everything about the band, the inclusion of Bridget King’s tin whistle and uillean pipes on many songs creating the unmistakable Irish sound.

Flogging MollyFlogging Molly

‘Drunken Lullabies’ receives a massive reaction, everyone in the place slurring along, however songs from new album, ‘Float’ also go down well, particularly ‘Requiem For A Dying Song’. The illusion of being in an Irish pub somewhere is easy to buy into, despite the large venue, as all seven members of the band on stage together somehow make the place seem smaller
and more intimate.

The calmer ‘Float’ provides a more serious note amongst the drinking songs, a take on not giving up when times get tough and a reflection on getting older. The pace is soon picked up again, the furious and patriotic ‘What’s Left Of The Flag’ getting the entire crowd dancing along. The absence of ‘Irish Drinking Song’ may be a disappointment for some, however the band
have plenty more great songs to keep the crowd happy.

Flogging MollyFlogging Molly

Ending with ‘Seven Deadly Sins’, they have people dancing right to the back of the room, singing along as loud as they can. Flogging Molly are really not a band you can see live and not get involved, the slurring choruses and use of punk mixed with traditional Celtic style making their live show the ultimate Guinness-swigging Irish experience.

Flogging Molly

Review – Helen Catchpowle
Photos – Lucy Pryor

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