Flogging Molly // LCR // Norwich
6 November 2011
Before Flogging Molly hit the stage tonight in a packed LCR, the air is already teeming with a drunken anticipation, pints clutched close to chests as anyone who’s seen this 7 piece folk-punk outfit before know what sort of mayhem to expect.
And what a beautiful mayhem it is. As they hit the stage blasting straight through Swagger, the floor erupts into waves of leaping, crowdsurfing mentalists, perfectly formed in chaotic ensemble, as the besieged photographers beyond the barricades have to be whisked away by security. The band walk straight into a Pogues cover, paying homage to their genre-fusing spiritual forebears, but from then on stamp out a massive Flogging Molly sized boot to the face.
Frontman Dave King’s unique style comes across every part like a stockbroker having spent twenty years in a soul destroying desk-job, then finally deciding to cut loose, only to release all the repressed emotion in a neverending burst of insanity, whipping up a storm as he goes. In the midst of this he somehow manages to hold down a melodic composure, which unshackles this eclectic band around him, allowing them to freestyle their very own musical hurricane; the accordion rolls, violin sweeps and the banjo bursts and blasts, to devastating effect. The band spin out riff soaked belters like Devil’s Dancefloor and Drunken Lullabies, rebel yell anthems in What’s Left Of The Flag, and of course, a fair few songs from their surprisingly underwhelming new album Speed Of Darkness. Not ones to just coast into middle age, having been at it for the last 14 years, Flogging Molly attack these tunes with a joie de vivre that has defined their career. As such tracks like Don’t Shut ‘Em Down take on a vibrant bounce, otherwise lacking in the recording.
It’s not all full speed ahead for the band though, with their banter they take the time to charm and entertain, bringing the crowd and the band together as one, in the manner of true performers. Make no mistake, Flogging Molly are genuine heavyweights, racking up gold records, touring incessantly and making main-stage festival appearances the world across, throughout it all though, they still manage to carry a warmth of character as if they were playing a friday night down your local.
True to their vibe as a band of the people, Dave King is outside afterwards signing tickets for the assembled cacophony of grinning drunken madmen; ambling, rambling and howling tunes into the wind after a night of folk-punk mastery.