It was probably less than a year ago that my teenage son introduced me to a band called Flogging Molly. I thought little of the band the first time he mentioned them and probably dismissed them outright based solely on their name. But I've always been pretty open to listening to his new musical interests (even when they don't agree with my ears), and when he came home with their newest CD Float, my interest was piqued. It didn't hurt that the CD was very well received critically. At least that opened the door.
After listening to the disc several times (it became a regular rotation in my iTunes), I became a pretty big fan of it and began to consider myself a Flogging Molly fan. But let me say that after attending the concert in Houston, I realized that Flogging Molly fans take the fan in fanatical pretty damned seriously.
The crowd gathered to see this band in Houston, Texas at the Verizon Wireless Theater on a Friday night was...diverse...to say the least. As we looked around us we saw punks with razor sharp mohawks, jocks, frat boys in Longhorn and Aggie t-shirts, a respectable looking older gentlenmen with his respectable looking thirty-something son (in the mosh pit, by the way), goth types, and people of every ethnic pursuasion you could think of!
My son had told me that these Flogging Molly concerts can be a little crazy, but I was unprepared for what happened when the band stormed the stage and struck the first chord. I mean they play fiddles and banjos and squeeze boxes. How hard could they be? But they opened with a fast paced song from the new album (I can't recall which it was), and the crowd instantly erupted into a frenetic, swirling, maelstrom of moshpit madness. Whew! I haven't seen that kind of energy at a rock concert since seeing Rage Against the Machine in the '90's. But this was different. This wasn't fueled by angst and anger and social discontent. It was positive. People, young and old, collided with each other in a concert of jubilant motion. It was amusing and heart warming to see. I watched time after time as shirtless, spike headed punks assisted in lifting frat boys (and vice versa) into a crowd surfing position. One by one they went up and were lifted out by the stage bouncers, only to find their way back into the pit again.
They were all there to bask in the brightness of the music and the entertaining show that the band put on. And boy was it entertaining. Flogging Molly careened from one song to the next with little attempt at catching their breath. The music was great! They were solid, jamming longer at times, while keeping the spirit of the original recording throughout the show. Dave King (the Irish front man) was funny and engaged the crowd all night with his witty, muddled Irish-accented colloquialisms. The running commentary was punctuated with plenty of expletives about hell raising, good times, and beer drinking, which I'm afraid did nothing to help the stereotype of the drunken Irishman. However, it was all in fun, and the band fed off of each other's energy. It seemed so fresh. They displayed the stamina and tightness of a veteran band, while somehow jamming with the narcotic fueled mania of a newly formed rock band.
The mosh pit only stopped for one song that Dave King said was written about and dedicated to his mother back in Ireland. Lighters were flicked and cell phones were opened (in place of a lighter) and held aloft above the quiet crowd. My son said he even saw a grown man crying!
To say the least, it was an experience that I will never forget. And I can say with certainty that I will see Flogging Molly again next time they are in the Lone Star State. Only next time, I'm going in the mosh pit with my boy!
You're never too old to live.