Review and Photos by James Steed
Sometimes it’s hard not to enjoy what I do. The long hours, lack of sleep, endless nights of editing seem never too difficult when you get to experience a show this impressive. At one point in the night I had to be reminded it was only Monday by front man David King and that I had to be up in a few hours but honestly I didn’t care, I was surround by good people and watching a band that cranked out damn good music.
To start my night off I was introduced to a new to most band, Dead is Dead. Best label I can think of for DiD (which I kind of don’t like doing) would be a garage band. The tricky thing is they’re only just barely what you’d consider a garage band. Now granted their sound isn’t all that smooth or fleshed out but after a bit of a rough start and picking up their energy a bit they started to impress me. Between their comfort on stage cracking one liners and conversing with the crowd they’re base line tone started to come out. With a bluesy, throw back kind of punk vibe Dead is Dead did an impressive job at setting the tempo for the night and didn’t leave that stage without impressing quite a few of us in the crowd.
Now enter the epic beards of Drowning Men. Setting the stage with an antique style petite box keyboard, a mandolin and some sort of sound machine that I had only seen Jimmy Page use I knew this was going to be impressive and there was going to be a lot beer. I wasn’t disappointed. The Drowning Men know how to rock a stage. Full throttle doesn’t begin to describe the pace that these guys run at, mixed that with a folkesque rock style sound that is incredibly deep and full of range they didn’t give you time to rest and kept their unique sound coming at you. These guys grabbed you, sat your ass down, passed you a beer or 5 and blew the doors off Bogart’s. Guinness, check. Jameson, check. Accordion, banjo, violin, check. Flogging Molly doesn’t take the stage, ‘taking’ would imply they didn’t already own it. By far one of the most impressive shows I’ve seen yet this year Flogging Molly is the epitaph of a truly great live band. Of all the live shows I’ve heard I can always tell something’s not there when compared to their studio releases, something’s missing from their live show that’s on their album. The reality of tours means you can’t take everything, Flogging Molly would call bull shit on that. I could have put on a Flogging Molly CD and would have thought the studio recorded sound track sounded weaker, hollow compare to the massive performance on stage. Nothing was canceling something else out, everything was spot on and accounted for, they weren’t going through robotic timed and corrected pieces but playing off each other like you’d expect to see any other live performer but Flogging Molly made it seem so effortless, natural. Seeing that performance, that energy, live, with perfect lighting and that damned Irish accent was truly impressive. If this is how my year is starting out, I’m wondering if it may have peaked early because I don’t know if anything can match that performance.