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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Show Review + Photos: Flogging Molly and Frank Turner at the Pageant, Wednesday, March 10

Posted By on Thu, Mar 11, 2010 at 1:32 AM

The St. Patrick's Day season is officially upon us: Beloved Irish punks Flogging Molly performed at the Pageant last night. And even vocalist Dave King's sore throat (which rendered him rather hoarse) and problems with Matt Hensley's accordion couldn't dampen the enthusiasm of the band or the sold-out crowd.

See 40 photos from the show last night here.

Flogging Molly last night at the Pageant. - PHOTO: TODD OWYOUNG
  • Photo: Todd Owyoung
  • Flogging Molly last night at the Pageant.

Flogging Molly's 2010 appearance wasn't all that different from the band's 2009 stop at the Pageant. With no new studio album to support (the act's latest, Live at the Greek Theatre, arrived in stores last week), the setlist contained fan favorite after fan favorite: streamlined punk singles ("Drunken Lullabies," "Requiem for a Dying Song"), amped-up banjo-punk ("(No More) Paddy's Lament") and fiddle-laced punk jigs ("Swagger," "The Lightning Storm"). Occasional respites - the stripped-back "Rebels of the Sacred Heart" and "The Worst Day Since Yesterday" and a brief acoustic set highlighted by "Wanderlust" - were a welcome break from the frantic tempos. And "Float" continues to be one of the best songs Flogging Molly's ever recorded, a majestic, building tune that fomented massive pogo-ing from the pit and band by its end.

The septet's consistency extends to its band members. Banjoist Bob Schmidt and bassist Nathen Maxwell displayed lightning-fast quickness, while fiddler/tin whistler Bridget Regan tempered the chaos with stately trills and melodies. And equipment problems aside, Hensley's sea-shanty accordion added just the right shade of pirate to the proceedings.

Irrepressible front man Dave King bounded around the stage like a gigantic cuddly Leprechaun -- swigging Guinness, jigging, strumming his guitar and even high-stepping with glee, when he discussed Northern Ireland's recent peace entreaties. His beloved mother earned a mention (she's turning 89 this year, but still greets him with "200 cigarettes and a bottle of Jameson" as soon as he deplanes in Ireland, King said) and his sense of humor was intact: "Speaking of bad..." King began at one point, before stopping himself and saying, "Oh Christ, I sounded like Bono, didn't I?"

Flogging Molly last night at the Pageant. - PHOTO: TODD OWYOUNG
  • Photo: Todd Owyoung
  • Flogging Molly last night at the Pageant.

But the show was quite a bit looser than normal - and not always in a good way. "The Worst Day Since Yesterday" and "Requiem for a Dying Song" felt frayed at the seams, while "Wanderlust" and much of the middle part of the set dragged. Perhaps King's throat problems threw everybody else off, or maybe tour fatigue was settling in; the band has been on the road for weeks now, after all. And of course, even Flogging Molly on an off night is better than 95 percent of bands at their best - and the raucous, jovial crowd didn't seem to notice.

Frank Turner last night at the Pageant. - PHOTO: TODD OWYOUNG
  • Photo: Todd Owyoung
  • Frank Turner last night at the Pageant.

England's Frank Turner contributed a rollicking, fantastic 45-minute set. Although he often plays solo, the full-band incarnation -- playing its last show of the tour -- enlivened his music. Shades of Flogging Molly certainly appeared in the cheerful, Pogues-y music, but more often Turner's tunes had the feel of a punk Okkervil River -- or the Decemberists, had they grown up in a pub instead of in the library. Songs such as "The Road" and "Once We Were Anarchists" especially benefited from this arrangement.

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