Foot-tapping Irish Zest
There's no need for any glamorous rock and roll entrances or fancy intro music for these guys, the crowd packed into Leeds Uni bar has been chanting "Molly-Molly-Molly" for the last ten minutes, they know what they want and they're about to get it. With a cry of 'Hello you bastards we're Flogging Molly and this is what we do!' the band launch straight into their 100mph anthemic irish-punk with 'Screaming at the Wailing Wall'. Right from the start the crowd in the stalls is going crazy all the way up to the back row pressed against the sound desk wall and they carry on jumping, shouting and generally flailing around right up till the end of the set.
After you recoil from the wall of sound that hits you from the stage you suddenly realise just how talented the sound engineers are, everything comes across perfectly and that's no mean feat considering the band includes not only the usual electric guitar bass and drums but also a ukulele, accordion, fiddle and acoustic guitar, and they're usually all playing at the same time. It could so easily have turned into a big sonic mess, but melodies are expertly interwoven and the band is so tight they could put any three piece indie band to shame! At first the music can seem a little overwhelming as the pace rarely goes below several million bpm but you soon begin to appreciate the way the different instruments are used to vary the texture and feel of the sound around Dave King's powerful and heartfelt Irish accented vocals.
You get the impression that Flogging Molly put everything they have into their music, heart and soul. Early in the set Dave announces that 'this next song is dedicated to everyone who has ever lost someone, which is pretty much everyone. I hope you're listening Dad' The song is about losing his father and the moment is deeply moving, although I think it might have been lost on some of the kids down the front. The passion continues throughout the set, you can tell the band are enjoying every minute just as much as the crowd. Dave's banter is witty and entertaining but doesn't go on too long between songs and includes a few jibes directed at Bush and those who 'don't believe in freedom', from the look of some of the faces in the crowd you get the impression that Flogging Molly isn't just a band, it's a way of life.
Not all the crowd was convinced from the start though. There were some hecklers standing near me shouting the usual 'Next! Get Off!' just loud enough for their friends to hear but not loud enough to put them in danger of breaking any limbs; but by the end of the set the same three guys were actually singing along at the tops of their voices. It summed up the whole night for me really, you couldn't go away not liking Flogging Molly, even if the music wasn't your kind of thing you just couldn't help being swept up in the passion the melody and the sheer talent radiating from every pore of all seven members on the stage. No matter how hard you try you just won't be able to stop that foot tapping...