–By Sean Derrick
Ever since Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys established themselves with high energy live shows back in the mid 1990’s fans of both groups have wished for a co-headlining tour.
Well, this summer the fans finally got their wish and luckily the Saint Louis area was included on the 17-date tour with an outdoor show this past Tuesday at Pop’s in Sauget, IL.
The tour is a Celtic punk rockers’ wet dream, and rightfully so. Even though the styles of each band is different the message and outcome are the same.
Driven with a more traditional Irish band styling infused with punk Flogging Molly’s set was intense. Irish born front man Dave King brought his high level energy mixed with witty one liners while taking fun jabs at a few audience members, who were clearly eating it up.
The stage was set up in Pop’s parking lot facing north to accommodate the large crowd and joked that he would be taking his wife (fiddle/violin player Bridget Regan) to “one of the fine gentleman’s establishments after the show” motioning towards one situated on the other side of Pop’s. “Only the best for Bridget” King deadpanned.
Flogging Molly’s rocking melodic verses intertwined with King’s thick Irish accent and the traditional Irish stylings give the band it’s unique sound, evidenced on songs like “Devil’s Dance Floor” and “The Seven Deadly Sins”. It really stood out during the band’s up-tempo’d version of “Float” (Always excellent live).
King, joked a lot in between songs during the band’s set. Being a former heavy metal vocalist he noticed a fan wearing an Iron Maiden t-shirt and proceeded to belt out a few elongated metal notes. (Rock never leaves the blood)
King also poured out a couple verses of the Queen staple “We Will Rock You” placed precariously and perfectly in the middle of “Crushed (Hostile Nations)”.
While King danced around the stage in between verses the rest of the band (Regan, guitarist Dennis Casey, bassist Nathen Maxwell, banjo and guitarist Bob Schmidt, accordionist Matt Hensley, and drummer Mike Alonso) were spot on, with particularly excellent guitar work by Casey, especially evident on “Black Friday Rule”.
While Flogging Molly’s songs are traditional in nature infused with punk, the opposite is true for co-headliners Dropkick Murphys as they are more a punk band who utilize Celtic stylings into their songs.
With a loud and boisterous set Dropkick Murphys utilize a take-no-prisoners attitude during their high energy shows.
Led by vocalist Al Barr’s growling vocals the band tore though “Captain Kelly’s Kitchen”, “The Boys Are Back”, and “Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya” to open the show and didn’t look back at the carnage they left behind.
Barr, vocalist Ken Casey, and guitarist Tim Brennan spent seemingly more time down in the pit getting closer to the fans than on the stage. Their aggressive nature has been an endearing measure for their fans and it showed during their performance Tuesday.
While King was more jovial Barr and Casey were more matter-of-fact using more dry humor to get their point across, like referencing the location of the show “in the middle of nowhere in strip club heaven”. The band stuck with it’s staple of worker and social struggles in America today intertwined with themes derived from the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing in the band’s home town.
For the entirety of their set Dropkick Murphys didn’t take their foot off the throttle once. Even their encore was intense, including the sing alongs of “Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced” through the AC/DC classic “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”, which is what they end most shows with. They even threw in a confetti cannon for good measure spewing out, what else, green and white confetti.
The confetti could be seen also as a perfect metaphor for their explosive set.
Jake Burns of Stiff Little Fingers opened the show .
Be sure to check out the slideshow after the setlists below. (Note: the setlist for Dropkick Murphys is incomplete, if you know what the 2nd to last song was, or if I have a song or two out of order, please comment below. Thank you.)
Flogging Molly Setlist:
(No More) Paddy’s Lament
The Hand of John L. Sullivan
The Likes of You Again
The Days We’ve Yet to Meet
Requiem for a Dying Song
The Spoken Wheel
Black Friday Rule
Devil’s Dance Floor
Crushed (Hostile Nations)/ We Will Rock You (Queen cover)
If I Ever Leave This World Alive
What’s Left of the Flag
The Seven Deadly Sins
Dropkick Murphys Setlist:
Captain Kelly’s Kitchen
The Boys Are Back
Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya
Famous for Nothing
Caught in a Jar
Out of Our Heads
Rebels With a Cause
Paying My Way
The State of Massachusetts
I’m Shipping Up to Boston
Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced
Skinhead on the MBTA
(Song I didn’t catch)
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (AC/DC cover)