Who knew Flogging Molly had a cult following? I certainly didn’t, but I was quickly made aware of that fact on Friday night at Brooklyn’s Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk, where Flogging Molly performed along with support from Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls. The concept of Celtic Punk is interesting; I’ve always been a fan of Dropkick Murphys, who play a similar brand of music, albeit without the benefit of actually being Irish, but I had never gotten into Flogging Molly to the point of fandom. That changed on Friday, however.
Let’s start with Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls, since they were the main support. Frank Turner plays what was described to me as folk punk, and that description was spot on. Frank and his band are on their Positive Songs for Negative People tour, and that’s exactly what they bring. I don’t know any of their music, but I do know Motorhead’s classic Ace of Spades when I hear it, and hearing a folk punk version of the song’s first verse live was awesome. I was not at all anticipating that; At one point in the hour and fifteen minute set, Frank brought a fan from Croatia of all places up on stage for a song, and instructed the fan to stage dive at one point, and the throng of fans who had already packed the GA pit long before Flogging Molly were scheduled to come on carried the fan in question around the entire pit, front to back and then back up to the stage in a moment that could make anyone smile. Too bad it was after the first 3 songs and I wasn’t in a position to capture that.
Frank Turner’s setlist included songs like I Still Believe, Recovery, Long Live The Queen, a couple of solos including the aforementioned Ace of Spades, and more full-band songs including Polaroid Picture, If I Ever Stray and Four Simple Words. I was really impressed by the band, and I’m going to be listening to them quite a bit during my downtime over the next week or so to get familiar with their music, because they’re definitely very good. Little did I know, however, that the shenanigans of the night were only just beginning and would get even crazier with Flogging Molly.
Now, normally I go into detail with the band’s set list and then tell you how awesome the show was. I’m going to do something a little different here and skip straight to the part where I tell you Flogging Molly is awesome and you should go see them, because they are and you most definitely should. Normally I don’t pay much attention to the first 3 songs because I’m in the photo pit trying to capture the moment for our readers, but I must say, the band had me hooked by the end of their opening song, The Hand of John L. Sullivan, and I only became more and more of a fan with each song. The Hand of John L. Sullivan was followed by Drunken Lullabies, which I can’t stop listening to now. Other songs featured on the band’s 15-song set list that also totaled an hour and fifteen minutes included Life in a Tenement Square, Saints & Sinners, Revolution, Tobacco Island, Salty Dog (which just happens to be a bar in Brooklyn) and finally finishing it all off with an encore of The Seven Deadly Sins.
Again, normally I go into greater detail in regards to the songs on offer, but I was so impressed by Flogging Molly AND their fans that I feel the need to impress upon you just how good they really are. I’ve been to a lot of concerts, I’ve seen some of the biggest bands in the world, some multiple times including my favorite band twice, and I have NEVER seen so much positive energy both on stage and in the crowd. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a Flogging Molly show, but I was not expecting fans who came from all over the world to see their favorite band doing Irish dances in the pit. I was certainly not expecting to see the fans who had SEATS dancing in the aisles before all was said and done. Flogging Molly are absolutely incredible live, and their music has an energy to it that I’ve never seen before, even after fiddle player Bridget Regan had to leave the stage to be put on oxygen. The band just kept belting out high energy Celtic Punk music, song after song, for over an hour, and the crowd never slowed down from the time Frank Turner hit the stage until well after the show ended, as some fans were singing and dancing on their way out.
I’ll be completely honest here. I was skeptical coming in, and by the time it was over, Flogging Molly had put on one of the absolute best shows I’ve ever witnessed, and easily rank in my top 5. As I said at the top, the band has a cult following, and for good reason. After Friday night in Brooklyn, you can count me among the Cult of Molly. I am now and will always be a huge Flogging Molly fan, and I will never miss them when they’re in town. You shouldn’t either.
Check out our photo gallery below. All photos by Sean Murphy.