–By Sean Derrick
It used to be something fans looked forward to: Flogging Molly in Saint Louis in March. Since the band ended their Green 17 Tour in 2014 that thing was missing. That is, until a sold out killer performance at The Pageant last night.
In fact, 2014 was the last time the band played a solo headlining gig in the Gateway City (they co-headlined last year at Pop’s with Dropkick Murphy’s). After seeing the band every year for nearly a decade the city had to get by with only a shortened Pointfest set in 2016 and the aforementioned Pop’s gig last year. So, it’s easy to see why fans were so eager for a full on Flogging Molly concert in the area.
Sunday’s show did not disappoint as the band was energized and so was the crowd. From the opening chords of “(No More) Paddy’s Lament” to the final howls of “Salty Dog” the evening was a raucous mixture of their best known songs and a few from their latest album Life Is Good, from which they are currently touring in support.
With a simple stage setup of a drum riser and some stacks of speakers the band also had a couple draped banners of their logo, with a crow perched above, flanking each side of a giant main emblem inside a circular light truss, reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s giant truss they toured with, though smaller. (Being the geek I am my first thought upon seeing the truss was “Oh nice, they brought their own Stargate!”)
Lead vocalist Dave King was in an ever joyous mood, witfully trading banter with audience members in the true Dave King style, and providing background stories for a few of the songs.
In true Irish fashion King whetted his whistle with some Guiness from a can several times throughout the show, which he lamented that would deserve an ass-kicking from his mom for not respecting it enough to drink it from a glass.
Everything King said or joked about the audience ate it up and fed back even more during the songs. The band (King on vocals and guitar, Bridget Regan on violin and tin whistle, guitarist Dennis Casey, bassist Nathan Maxwell, Matt Hensley on accordion, drummer Mike Alonso, and new mandolinist Spencer Swain) were super tight throughout the set and loose with the crowd.
There were many highlights in the show, one of which included Casey’s 5 minute crushing guitar solo during “Black Friday Rule” during which he went over to the signers for the hearing impaired at the end of the stage and jammed with them. Another was “Devil’s Dance Floor” where I swore I felt the balcony shake (though it was probably just my vertigo, but I’d like to think it was the former).
Casey also played to the crowd by imitating the late great Chuck Berry’s duck walk during the solo.
Another highlight was during “Crushed (Hostile Nations)” King broke out and sang a snippet of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”. After which King said “From the Queen of soul to the greatest queen of all” then started singing the Queen classic ‘We Will Rock You”, both of which got tremendous response and kept the energy flowing. (Not that it needed much help).
There was not one downside to this show at all and the 90 minute set seemed to only last a short while.
At the end of the main set King doubled over as if to say he was spent, dripping with sweat. Rightfully so, the energy spent onstage drove the fans the fans excitement gave it right back. I was spent just watching. Out of the 10 or so times I have seen them play over the past 13 years I can honestly say that this show was one of the best of the bunch.
Nathan Heckler and Lucero opened the show with impressive sets of their own.
Check out the gallery of photos after the setlist.
Flogging Molly Setlist:
(No More) Paddy’s Lament
The Hand of John L. Sullivan
The Likes of you Again
The Day’s We’ve Yet to Meet
Requiem for a Dying Song
Life in Tenement Square
The Spoken Wheel/Black Friday Rule
Life is Good
Rebels of the Sacred Heart
Devil’s Dance Floor
Crushed (Hostile Nations)
Respect (Aretha Franklin cover, snippet)
We Will Rock You (Queen cover, snippet)
What’s Left of the Flag
The Seven Deadly Sins
If I Ever Leave This World Alive