Modern Drinking: A Contemporary Playlist for St. Paddy

click to enlarge Flogging Molly
Flogging Molly

Twice a year the huddled masses gather at their favorite watering holes and bond over their shared ethnicity. Whether your ancestors came over in the Mayflower, through Ellis Island or in the back of a pick-up doesn’t matter. In March, everyone is Irish and, in May, we’re all Mexican.   

When Cinco De Mayo rolls around and we’re all throwing back Cuervo, perhaps we’ll offer some Mariachi music for consideration. But first we need to tackle St. Patrick’s Day. The days of 99 bottles and drunken sailors are over now. There’s a whole new set of awesomely Irish drinking and fighting songs and there are three bands that always make my St. Paddy’s playlist. Grab a Guinness, some Jameson or a car bomb, and listen up.

For Irish music, it’s probably best to start in Boston. Beantown is not just home to one of the largest populations of Irish Immigrants in America and it’s more than just the setting for the uber-violent and super awesome movie, Boondock Saints. Boston is also home to Dropkick Murphys, the quintessential contemporary Irish Punk band. Made up of seven Southies, Dropkick has been causing drunken brawls in Boston and beyond since 1995. Among the normal Rock instruments, you’ll also hear the sounds of traditional Irish instruments like bagpipes and tin whistle. When the band starts chanting the title to their war anthem “Hang ‘Em High,” only crashing of pint glasses will do. For a song purely about drinking, though, one needs look no deeper into their massive collection of singles than 2002’s “Alcohol.”

Similar to Dropkick Murphys but slightly less … angry is Flogging Molly. The seven piece band from Los Angeles takes traditional Irish music and turns the volume up to 11. They do this by adding an electric guitar and a well-manned drum kit to the usual collection of instruments you hear in Irish music. That means the band also includes a fiddle, an accordion and a mandolin. While just about every song they play is worthy of rebel rousing fun, “Drunken Lullabies” and “Don’t Shut ‘em Down” are two of the best. The latter isn’t technically a drinking song, but rather social commentary than will certainly have you ordering another Jameson.

You know I love playlists. This one is heavy with Dropkick and Flogging, but I also stuck in a few other drinking songs. (As much as I hate to admit it, I kind of like Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup.”)

Grab a green beer, take a listen and feel free to groan at all the clichés.

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