FLOGGING MOLLY WITH STREET DOGS AND TWOPOINTEIGHT
Saturday · Bogart's
Even after the advent of Rock and its many permutations, the only point of reference most people had with Celtic music was the sound of a pennywhistle, the rough-hewn Folk of The Chieftains and the antiseptic Gaelic reels of the Irish Rovers. With the rise of Punk in the '70s, Celtic music finally got a much-deserved ass-kick as Irish bands like The Pogues and Stiff Little Fingers transformed and contemporized the traditions of their homegrown genre.
That advance created ripples that are still being felt today, as evidenced by the rise of Los Angeles septet Flogging Molly. The band began a decade ago when former Fastway/Katmandu vocalist Dave King tired of his Metal pursuits and sought out a radically different musical path relating to his Dublin birthplace. This resulted in a Monday night Celtic music residency at an Irish pub in L.A. called Molly Malone's. The frequency of the band's appearances at the pub led them to jokingly note that they were flogging the club with their presence, and so the band was christened Flogging Molly.
Fittingly, their debut album, 1997's Alive Behind the Green Door, was a self-released live album recorded at Molly Malone's where they were eventually discovered by Joe Sib and Bill Armstrong, owners of SideOneDummy Records. Armstrong and Sib signed the band after witnessing one of their maniacally energetic shows. Flogging Molly's first studio full-length for the label was 2000's Swagger, which was mixed by Punk veteran Steve Albini, followed by 2002's Drunken Lullabies, 2004's Within a Mile of Home and last year's Whiskey on a Sunday, which included a DVD documentary about the band.
After a decade of enthusiastically received live shows (including stints on several Warped Tours and the American Fleadh Festival) and over 1.5 million albums sold (an astonishing figure for an independent band), Flogging Molly clearly enjoys a reputation for delivering in studio and on stage.
The big news in the Flogging Molly camp is the recent departure of accordionist (and pro skateboarder and owner of Innes Clothing) Matt Hensley, who e-mailed fans through the band's Web site (floggingmolly.com) last month and revealed he would no longer be touring with the band in order to spend more time with his 8-year-old son. On the bright side, and just in time for St. Patrick's Day, SideOneDummy is reissuing the first three FM albums on appropriate green vinyl. Raise a glass and kick some ass, it's Flogging Molly time.
If you don't have tickets, be ready to shell out a few pounds sterling (well, better bring American cash, just to be safe) to scalpers — the show is sold out. (Brian Baker)
K-OS WITH GYM CLASS HEROES, RX BANDITS AND P.O.S.
Sunday · Bogart's
Every musical genre experiences a watershed period where a handful of visionaries completely reconfigure its parameters of style and change the perceptions of fans and peers alike. Hip Hop is currently moving through those growing pains as some of its artists realize the futility of following the standard thug-life blueprint and push the genre envelope to accomplish something bracingly unique.
One of Hip Hop's freshest pioneers is Canadian multi-instrumentalist and MC/singer k-os, whose three albums to date have earned him a Juno Award at home and a Source award and Grammy nomination here in the U.S., not to mention his growing worldwide audience. Already a groundbreaking multi-platinum artist in Canada, k-os is setting his sights on America with his third and perhaps most diverse album to date, the superb ATLANTIS-Hymn for Disco and its infectious first single, "Sunday Morning."
Kheaven Brereton was born in Trinidad where he was exposed to the island's musical culture through his family at an early age (his uncle invented the quadrophonic steel pan), but he moved to Toronto as a child with his Jehovah's Witness parents. Brereton's strict upbringing kept him isolated from the world at large until he was 21; during that time he developed his inner spiritual core and his wide-ranging musical skills. Once he was unleashed upon the scene, Brereton became enamored of the Hip Hop community and quickly made a name for himself as a performer and a producer. He dubbed himself k-os, not in reference to the tumult he would eventually create with his diverse Hip Hop/Indie Rock/Reggae/Soul hybrid, but as a tribute to the internal spiritual awareness that he cultivated as a child; it stands for "knowledge of self."
After a handful of singles, k-os dropped his first full-length, 2002's Exit, which featured unconventional Hip Hop elements like live instrumentation and actual singing in the service of songs that reflected k-os' broad range. Two years later, he followed up with Joyful Rebellion, an album that sold double platinum in Canada and was hailed by no less than the New York Times as its pick for "most adventurous Hip Hop album" ever. Astonishingly, ATLANTIS-Hymn for Disco may outdistance Joyful Rebellion for that title, with its bold mix of Indie Rock melodicism, Emo passion, Hip Hop swagger, Reggae introspection and Soul sophistication.
With the kind of exposure that "Sunday Morning" is likely to inspire, 2007 could be k-os' breakout year. Check him out Sunday night with similarly minded Hip Hop mixologists Gym Class Heroes. (BB)