Flogging Molly | 3.2.06

From the very first banjo strum, the entire place erupted. Pop’s was as filled as I’ve ever seen it, and the whole crowd moved together with the constant pulse of the drums and bass.

 

Pop’s, Sauget, IL

From the very first banjo strum, the entire place erupted. Pop’s was as filled as I’ve ever seen it, and the whole crowd moved together with the constant pulse of the drums and bass. Flogging Molly has a unique style of Celtic folk roots combined with early punk influences that had people dancing the whole time.

Most every tune of the two opening acts’ sets were up-tempo and fast. The first opener, the Dead Pets, definitely had a hard edge. They fatten up their sound with a horn section that helps get people up and pumping behind the very upfront frontman. The horns were a great accent to the garage band–style guitar riffs.

Second opener the Briggs were less garage and more of a metal crossover with Irish and punk influences. The rhythm section had a much tighter sound but a more raw tone. Both bands had the crowd entirely rockin’ the whole time and were well received.

As soon as Flogging Molly took the stage with their acoustic instruments and vocal harmonies, you could immediately hear a difference in sound quality. There was much more clarity in the music and the singing, but still with every ounce of energy and punch. Flogging Molly is fronted by Dave King on lead vocals and acoustic guitar (some of you may remember King from a group called Fastway). The band has a great orchestration with Bridget Regan on the violin and flutes, Matt Hensley on the accordion, Robert Schmidt on mandolin and banjo, Dennis Casey on electric guitar, Nathen Maxwell on bass, and George Schwindt on drums—and everybody sings.

Amongst the incredibly uniform crowd, I felt a little bit out of place without sideburns. The girls all seemed to have the anti-pop look going on with dark, straight hair, little makeup, silver jewelry, and ink. Confident men in kilts were slam dancing—Guinness in hand—and the crowd passed a steady stream of people overhead to the front of the stage (apparently the most convenient way to get more beer).

If you haven’t been to Pop’s lately, they’ve finally implemented some much-needed improvements. They now have flat screens on the wall behind the bars and a couple of large projector screens with a live camera feed from the stage. Now you can be over on the side and still see what’s going on beyond the giant beam you may happen to be standing behind. Worth mentioning is also the air conditioning for the upper level—especially when you have a packed-to-capacity crowd.

If you’ve never been to an Irish-influenced rock concert, be ready. That was a high-energy show no matter what style of music you’re talking about!

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