The only reason there’s peace in Ireland is because we’re all over here!” – Dave King at the House of Blues, Boston
Flogging Molly played the House of Blues Boston last Wednesday to a packed house. Boston is a very Irish town and provided a lively audience for the Celtic punk band. For those of you unfamiliar with Flogging Molly: when I say Celtic punk, I don’t mean they are a punk band that simply started in Ireland. They are just as much Irish folk as anything else. To give you an idea of the atmosphere: picture a night at the Black Rose with an incredibly good and hard rocking band. Now, pack in 2400 people and add a mosh pit.
This is the 10th year of Flogging Molly’s Green 17 Tour. Each year, they take to the road around St. Patrick’s Day to support Boston’s hardest drinking holiday (no, New Year’s Eve isn’t close). Other bands do well to throw picks and drumsticks to the crowd. These guys throw cans of Guinness (really). No contest what I’d rather be catching.
I myself have had plenty of great St. Patrick’s days in Boston. After graduation, I moved in to a house in Southie (Boston’s Irish district) with 4 of my college buddies1 and one dog. When I say it was a dog, I’m being charitable. I doubt that Dreyfus had two brain cells to rub together. Incredibly stupid, and on top of that, my housemate Russ actively trained him to hump people’s legs. The house was right on the parade route, so we always had a huge St Patrick’s Day party. During these parties, we used food coloring to dye the dog green. With all the attention people lavished on Dreyfus, he had to be the happiest green dog in the world. No one even complained very much about the leg humping.2
Covering Irish bands like Flogging Molly brings me back to these wild parties. In addition to the standard rock instruments, this largish 7 piece band has people manning the accordion, flute, violin, mandolin, and banjo. These instruments help give the band their folk sound. For example, listen to Drunken Lullabies for great banjo and violin, and Devil’s Dance Floor features a flute and accordion riffing off of each other.
The band played “Rise Up” as a tribute to folk singer / activist Pete Seegar who passed away this January. Seegar, always one to stand up for what he thought was right, was blacklisted and indicted for contempt of Congress during the McCarthy era. Check out his Wikipedia entry, it is an interesting read. Also credited with popularizing the banjo as an American folk instrument, Seeger got a dedication stenciled on the band’s banjo.
Bridget Regan the band’s flautist and violinist is not only an incredible musician, but also married the front man Dave King. I guess the family that tours together stays together. However, while combing through the night’s photos, I came across this spousal moment. Hilarious. Her face is just shouting, “Back off honey, I’m busy.”
Flogging Molly puts on a great show. For the last decade, they’ve been getting people in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit with the Green 17 Tour. So go see them and have a happy St. Patty’s day. Just keep a wary eye on the green dog.
1 Five if you count Eugene, who crashed for a while for free on the back screened in porch in a kind of semi-homeless state.
2 After we moved out of the house, we saddled Eugene and Ed’s parents with Dreyfus. I’d just like to apologize to Mrs. Sweeney for any “training” issues they may have had, and would like to point out that it was all Russ’ fault.
- Wailing Wall
- Paddy’s Lament
- Every Dog
- Whistles the Wind
- Drunken Lullabies
- Tenement Square
- Saints and Sinners
- Requiem for a Dying Song
- Present State of Grace
- Son Neve Shines
- Us of Lesser Gods
- Tobacco Island
- Rare Old Times
- Devil’s Dance Floor
- Likes of You
- Rise Up
- Salty Dog
- What’s Left of the Flag
- Seven Deadly Sins
- World Alive
Check out our photo gallery from the Flogging Molly show:
Well it’s great to see that even though RATT is hard at work on a new album for 2014 vocalist and sometimes solo artist Stephen Pearcy still feels like hitting the road (in the Northeast no less) in January for a round of dates performing with his RATT Bastards solo band.
Add into the mix local rock legends MASS as an opener (also soon to start work on a new record) and this has the potential to be a night of power rock with an old school flavor. That’s really what this show felt like to me. Stepping back in time for sure and kudos to Club Rain for making it feel like an 80’s rock show with spacious new amenities, great lighting and a world class sound system. Anyone who remembers Narcissus in Kenmore Square or The Channel recalls that Boston did have great clubs at one time. Let’s hope the management at Rain keeps booking national acts and the task of bringing in the crowds will take care of itself. Read more
What happens when two bands you can’t miss are both playing the same night? Well, if the set-time stars align in just the right way, you may be able to turn an ordinary concert experience into a Build-Your-Own-Festival, which is precisely what I did this weekend with the sultry Cate Le Bon playing an early show at the Middle East Upstairs, and the dynamic gaggle that is Mother Falcon headlining a late show at Great Scott. Read more
Hating on the BMAs
Local booker Richard Bouchard gave a tongue-in-cheek welcome to Sunday night’s BMAs, declaring it “the least-complained about event of the year!” With enormous bands like Aerosmith, Dropkick Murphys, and Amanda Palmer nominated alongside the Boston little guys, voting almost posed an ethical dilemma – do you vote for Walmart or the Mom & Pop shop? Why are these artists even in the same category? When they announced the nominees and ran through the artists up for awards, nobody cheered for Aerosmith but folks went bananas for Bad Rabbits. Amanda Palmer’s name even warranted a “Boooooooo” that echoed throughout multiple floors at the Liberty Hotel. Eddie Japan frontman David Santos said at the beginning of his set that they were up against Aerosmith and the Dropkick Murphys for Best Live Artist, “so if you voted 6 million times we might have a shot.” Happily, it seems the voting community was ultimately more interested in the little guy, too – Eddie Japan went home with the win.
Supporting Boston Music
Certainly if a band like Bad Rabbits can trounce Amanda Palmer/Dropkick Murphys and Eddie Japan can dethrone Aerosmith, it was a relieving gauge of where Boston stands with its musical priorities. The evening’s best example of Boston Pride existed with the Tuesday Night Recording Club, a blog whose mission is to get local bands together to cover predominantly rock records. It includes Brian Charles, producer extraordinaire, Aaron Perrino, lead singer of the Sheila Divine, Annie Hoffman, bassist for the Field Effect, and local musicians Davina Yannetty & Kenji Ross on Keys/Vocals and Drums, respectively. For the BMAs, though, this band busted out all of the local stops, covering songs by numerous bands with Boston roots, and featured some big-name locals on individual songs – they opened with a Sheila Divine cover of “Hum,” but followed with songs by The Cars, Dinosaur Jr., The Pixies, Bobby Brown, and more, featuring guest leads by Doug Orey from the Field Effect, Chris Keene from Mean Creek, Sidewalk Driver’s Tad McKitterick dressed like a Pimp-style Santa Claus during “My Prerogative,” BMA producer Jake Brennan even guest-led for a stint, and they closed with Buffalo Tom’s Bill Janovitz and Fuzzy’s Chris Toppin for a Scruffy the Cat cover, honoring the recently deceased Charlie Chesterman (the posthumous winner of the evening’s “Unsung Heroes” award). Ultimately, the evening was truly a success for the locals, and TNRC’s set was the highlight of the night.
Besides the Tuesday Night Record Club, nothing like funky solo guitar virtuoso Shun Ng busting out covers of MJ and Stevie Wonder. I’ll get to My Dick in a minute.
Backup Singers/Pinup-girl Hair/Matching Outfits
Or some combination therein, regardless of musical genre. New personal goal: own one part of an identical dress set. Happy to take those bowtie dresses off your hands, TNRC ladies…
Orchestra and Band instruments
Between Big D & The Kids Table, Moe Pope & Quills, Barrence Whitfield, and 11-piece Women of the World, I counted 1 Trombone, 2 Saxophones, 2 Violins, and a Flute. Women of the World also rocked a Euphonium, which may not be an orchestra/band instrument, but dammit, I’m counting that shit anyways.
About a third of the night’s acts featured some sort of live DJ as a part of their act – props to Soulelujah who closed the night spinning actual vinyl.
Getting off the stage and into the crowd
Because the stage just couldn’t hold the awesome. Or maybe because they got confused about what constituted the stage.
But seriously – why was the lighting so bad? Nearly all of the acts in the Esplanade Room were playing in a weird shadow that made it feel like you were in some sort of bizarre attic lair. Pro tip: a better lighting rig, and for god’s sake an air conditioner, would do wonders for this room.
Awkward Artist/Stage Match-ups
The labyrinth that is The Liberty Hotel makes it a little difficult to get up to the Esplanade room, so if they moved some of the bigger tickets to the downstairs it would’ve been less difficult to barrel through the Function Room. Considering Bearstronaut and Bad Rabbits are big enough to have played Boston Calling and won awards this year, Bearstronaut was beyond packed in the tiny Esplanade Room while Barrence Whitfield’s set looked a little lonely on the second floor, and it was impossible to permeate the Bad Rabbits dance party to get around from My Dick to Potty Mouth and Coyote Kolb. Also – My Dick, despite being rather silly, should’ve definitely been in the Liberty Ballroom – everybody wanted a piece of My Dick, and its audience was massive.
A band who does glorified karaoke by replacing every other word of famous songs with “my dick” never stops being funny. For the curious, their set included such classics as “My Dick” instead of “My Girl,” “Dancing in My Dick” instead of “Dancing in the Dark,” “Everybody Have Dick Tonight” instead of “Everybody Have Fun Tonight,” “Dicks of Gold” instead of “Fields of Gold” (personally I’d hoped for Fields of Dick instead, but they did at least sing about Dicks of Barley), my favorite – “Fast Dick” instead of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” (best line: My dick in a market as a checkout girl), and for our International friends, “Mi Pinga” instead of “La Bamba.” I’m really glad I got to see My Dick in the spotlight, since My Dick was quite the spectacle. It’s pretty easy to laugh at My Dick, and maybe My Dick’s performance was just mediocre, but I could’ve easily spent even more time with My Dick. Honestly? The whole room was pretty amped about My Dick too, chanting for My Dick to keep going, which in turn made My Dick go at it even harder, even though by the end My Dick was pretty hot and sweaty. All in all, My Dick had a blast, and so did everyone who got to experience My Dick in action. My Dick definitely gained a few fans after its performance, and I’m excited to spread the gospel of My Dick to the Boston music community.
Music Drives Us
Arguably the biggest winner from the night was for Music Drives Us, a local music non-profit that supplies grants for music programs for those in need. All proceeds from the event go toward the Music Drives Us Foundation, and while I have yet to see how much was raised for this year, last year they donated a walloping $65,000 to the charity. For all of the complaining people do about this event, ultimately the BMAs are fueling the local music scene with their charity work, and are helping the scene stay alive for generations to come. Now quit whining and go vote for Eddie Japan again – it’ll take a bit to reach 6 million votes by 2014.
Rock Artist of the Year: Deer Tick
Reviewed by: Dorise Gruber
With blue lights blazing on a slick-suited trio of men, one armed with a partial standing drum kit, one with guitar and pedal board, and one with both, they start with a few echoing minor chords and crisp marching snare before the Lucius ladies traipse onto stage. Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe don identical blonde-banged-bobs, Cleopatra eye makeup, twin plaid schoolgirl rompers, and mirrored dance moves. Not actually related, they look like new-age indie fembots, presuming new-age fembots come equipped with more clothes, more class, more talent, and fewer bionic nipple barrel guns. Read more
The international brotherhood of metal was on full display once again as bands spanning three continents joined forces to bring an onslaught of extreme music to a rabid crowd. Read more
Reviewed by: Brian Cross
Metalheads and punk rockers alike united at a bar by the train tracks for a brutal night of extreme music. Four bands and a packed house? What more could you ask for?
Starting things off were local heroes Nightbitch. While the crowd immediately rolled their eyes when the band referred to traditional metal as “tradish,” they’ve got some solid musical chops nonetheless. Nightbitch deserves a lot of respect for both using a Hammond organ in their songs as well as featuring clean singing…by a vocalist who can actually sing. There’s a reason these guys have a strong following around here, and their set was most impressive. Read more
Reviewed by: Antonio Marino Jr.
New Yorker’s got a jump start on the holidays as Mindy Smith played her first show in support of her latest release, the Holiday EP Snowed In. SubCulture, New York City’s newest live music venue welcomed the native Long Islander home. Smith, who now makes Nashville her home, has released five critically acclaimed full length records in the past nine years. Read more
Reviewed by: Dorise Gruber
Chicago neo-soul artist JC Brooks, accompanied by his studio-tight backing band The Uptown Sound, brought an indie twist to classic vintage Motown at Brighton Music Hall last Thursday. Brooks, a skyscraper of a man both in stature and personality, has the charisma of James Brown, the poise of a human statue, the finesse of Otis Redding, and in his own words, the “sweat like Sam Jackson in ‘A Time to Kill.’” Despite an audience age span of roughly 30 years, JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound were still able to electrify the lot of us into collective unabashed flailing, though from stage-front Brooks easily outstripped us with his sweet ‘n dirty moves. Read more
Reviewed by: Dorise Gruber
I’m not generally the kind of person that follows a band around while they tour, but I’d had Houndmouth on my radar after seeing their Wilco/Billy Bragg A.V. Undercover appearance, thus while vacationing in Arizona a couple weeks ago scooped the opportunity to see the band play Tucson’s Club Congress – a venue perhaps the size of Great Scott but with moody red lighting more apropos of The Paradise. With an audience so spare that it hardly comprised a minyan, lone female vocalist Katie joked, “I feel like we should all be on a first-name basis.” While on the brisk desert evening they put on a solid show, that performance was a mere honey drop to the Winnie-the-Pooh sized tub of energy at last Thursday’s Newport Folk Festival-sponsored jaunt on Royale’s stage. Read more