When the world ends, I'd like to be dancing, stomping and singing in the pit at a Flogging Molly concert. One could do worse.
Last night at the sold-out Pageant, the Irish-punk band rallied the masses with a versatility that glimmered through the fusion genre formula.
The Drowning Men, a quintet from San Diego, got things rolling with a layered and propulsive wall of sound. Though members have done time in traditional Irish music outfits, last night the band channeled the dramatic sweep of Arcade Fire, down to the singer's high, strained Win-Butler-eque vocals.
The second act, Moneybrother, is described as the "solo project" of frontman Anders Wendin (formerly of punk band Monster), but features five additional members who do more than stand back. From the first notes, Wendin & Co., who hail from Sweden, channeled Bruce Springsteen circa "Hungry Heart" -- from the crescendoing pop-rock songs built on classic '60s riffs to Wendin's denim vest and grinning growl. With a slight Franz Ferdinand swagger, every band member - from the saxophonist to the female bassist - sang together on repetitive throwback choruses, and the foot-tapping set was as fun-loving as you would expect Swedish pop to be.
At 9:30 p.m., as fans in the balcony scooted back to their seats with handfuls of Jameson shots, the stage darkened. Irish-tinged voices began to ring out a cappella. Flogging Molly then took the stage in dapper black suits and launched into new song "Speed of Darkness" at the speed of light. The mosh pit transformed into a churning green sea, swirling around a central eddy of dudes in jerseys and newsboy caps shoving the shit out of each other.
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