Seven members, just five albums, well over two-thousand people and a couple cans of Guinness was the equation that made Flogging Molly’s show last Saturday at the Sands Event Center one of the best the venue has seen since it’s opening a few years ago. Flogging Molly is currently on the road touring in between albums and living up to their reputation as a killer live band, however new material is in the works from them and is due out in 2015 according to the band.
There is no album title just yet but there is no doubt that the band will continue touring as that new album cycle starts. Until then they have the critical success of their last five albums to help them fill a set and pack a venue like they did in Bethlehem.
The band was set to take the stage a bit past 10PM and the crowd seemed to know this because as the time drew near they slowly began to press closer to the stage and fill the floor from side to side, leaving a decent amount of room in between one another but I’ll explain this later. With no dramatics or anything over the top the house lights shut off and the stage was illuminated by golden yellow-orange lights that Flogging Molly brought with them for the show which made their walk on stage turn into a beautiful casting of silhouettes. The crowd roared as Dave King held up a can of Guinness, cracked it open and chucked some of it down before marching to his microphone and screaming hello to Bethlehem as the full worth of lights flickered on as the band began the beginning of “Screaming at the Wailing Wall.”
Without a moments pause the band jumped right into “(No More) Paddy’s Lament” and “Every Dog Has It’s Day,” stopping only to have a few more sips of Guiness. It wasn’t until after the first three songs that they paused a moment to talk to the crowd and Dave King complimented a fan in the front row who out dressed him. A comical moment during the set that the fan will certainly remember. From start to finish Flogging Molly brought an intensity, speed, and enthusiasm to their set that truly few bands lack in their live performance. For example, Bridget Regan made numerous instrument changes during in the night but delivered each performance with a technical soundness that raised each song to a new level of complexity.
But the band’s technical soundness didn’t stop there, Dave King ran and danced across the stage probably a hundred times with and without his guitar always making it back to his microphone in time to belt out some lyrics in perfect tune before he went back to moving around. He even tossed a few cans of Guinness out to some fans in the front row who looked thirsty at one point which was another memorable crowd interaction. George Schwindt back on drums had a focus like no other I noticed while up front photographing and he kept the band’s high speed pace in check the whole night never letting things get to far out of pace, a crucial role in my opinion. The entire band was technically sound and the performance as a result as incredibly tight to the delight of the crowd.
The setlist was dense packing of songs spanning the bands career and clocked in at twenty-three songs in total. A solid setlist by all standards and Flogging Molly did something that many bands don’t do while planning out a show, instead of stacking ALL of their most popular songs in the encore they spaced them out during the set which made the pace of the night very interesting and made the encore even more special in a way. “Drunken Lullabies” was the sixth song the band played that night and easily one of the most wild songs that the crowd danced and sang along too, could it have been in the encore? Sure but in my opinion I think it was great to leave it in the main set along with “Devil’s Dance Floor,” “What’s Left of the Flag,” and others. The pacing of the lists even gave them the chance to have an acoustic session in the middle and construct a killer encore that was three songs long ending with “If I Ever Leave This World Alive.” The full setlist for the show is below, see for yourself what you think of their pacing :
Sands Event Center Setlist :
Screaming at the Wailing Wall
(No More) Paddy’s Lament
Every Dog Has Its Day
Whistles the Wind
Life in a Tenement Square
Saints & Sinners
Requiem for a Dying Song
This Present State of Grace
The Son Never Shines (On Closed Doors)
Us of Lesser Gods
The Rare Ould Times (The Dubliners cover)
Devil’s Dance Floor
The Likes of You Again
What’s Left of the Flag
Black Friday Rule
The Seven Deadly Sins
If I Ever Leave This World Alive
I’m excited for Flogging Molly to return with new material, based on this performance they are the most technically sound as they have ever been and are in a great position to really make an impact with this new album. Go check out the band on this current run if they are coming to a city near you, it is worth every penny to go and have a few beers as one of the best bands in the industry puts on a show you’ll never forget.