Sound Advice: Flogging Molly (Oct. 30)

Celtic Punk standard-bearers return to Cincinnati to rock Bogart's.

Oct 20, 2017 at 9:45 am

click to enlarge Flogging Molly - Photo: Richie Smyth
Photo: Richie Smyth
Flogging Molly
The Venn diagram between Metal and Celtic Punk may be the single tangent point of the unlikeliest Los Angeles band of all time, Flogging Molly.

Once upon a hundred years ago, Dublin-born vocalist Dave King fronted Fastway, a Metal quasi-supergroup featuring Motorhead's Fast Eddie Clarke and UFO's Pete Way, which led to another high-profile Hard Rock outfit called Katmandu, leading to in turn to King's solo contract with Epic in the early ’90s. Even then, King was beginning to conceive of a stylistic marriage between Rock and the traditional music of his Irish heritage, but the label was averse to the idea — they wanted him to sing with Jeff Beck — and so King negotiated his way out of the deal and set about creating the unmistakable sound of a Celtic Folk band playing at Punk volume through a Marshall stack.

King assembled a small group of likeminded players and began a weekly residency at an L.A. pub called Molly Malone's. Due to the beating the bar was taking with their constant presence, the musicians aptly chose Flogging Molly as their name. The band's intensity and passion earned them a contract with SideOneDummy, which released its debut album, Alive Behind the Green Door, in 1997 (two more live albums would follow in 2006 and 2010). Over the past 17 years, Flogging Molly has also recorded six studio sets, including the June-released Life is Good, the group’s debut for Vanguard Records and its first album of new material since 2011's Speed of Darkness.

While it's true that Flogging Molly is standing on the shoulders of Horslips and The Pogues in the creation of a Celtic Punk sound, it's equally true that Flogging Molly did a good deal of heavy lifting and groundbreaking to launch the band in L.A., where Celtic music wasn’t necessarily the easiest sell. Through a series of inevitable personnel shifts, Flogging Molly has maintained a consistent sonic framework and, as a result of that dedication, has earned a fervent fan base that has pushed its albums to the uppermost reaches of the Billboard charts on their way to notching sales in excess of a million and a half units. Alongside Dropkick Murphys, the band stands as a modern standard bearer of Celtic Punk, helping to pump the music into the mainstream zeitgeist via frequent appearances on the soundtracks of numerous film, TV and commercial projects.

If you're looking for the full range of musical emotions and the most joyous mosh pit ever, Flogging Molly has a few brand new traditions for your slightly inebriated consideration.

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