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Flogged again! Show review and photos of Flogging Molly

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One year ago, almost to the day, I had my first flogging. My son encouraged me to check out Flogging Molly when they were in town, and I enjoyed that flogging so much I decided to step up for another. I was not disappointed. 

Just like last year, Flogging Molly played GSR but brought two openers with them that exuded the same excitement and fun as they do. Opening the show was the five-piece band Skinny Lister, formed in London in 2009. This was not their first tour with Flogging Molly, either. 

Skinny Lister presented a very upbeat ska and English folk sound, featuring acoustic instruments, upright bass, drums, ukulele and accordion. Their female singer, Lorna Thomas, was a whirlwind of energy dancing around during most of their set. Lead singer/front man Daniel Heptinstall was very talkative between songs. He told great stories in a voice that made me feel like I was watching Peaky Blinders. Very nice to see them.

Next up was the punk rock band out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Anti-Flag. I liked these guys quite a bit too. Historically I haven’t had a lot of affinity for punk bands — all the anger, spitting and screaming doesn’t work for me. Anti-Flag bypassed all that nonsense while still being emotionally charged, and very punk! They definitely have their political leanings, as I observed watching one of their videos. It was a very well done and thought provoking video. 

They, too, were lots of fun to watch and listen to. If I had to sum them up for you, they had a Green Day kind of sound. Their bass player, who goes by Chris #2 was a leaper of gymnastic prowess. My knees trembled when watching him take to the air. I recommend you check them out.

What can I say about Flogging Molly? You better hold on to your driving cap and have a Guinness in each hand when they take the stage, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride. From the start, head flogger Dave King is strutting, strumming, smiling and singing from one side of the stage to the other. The band’s enthusiasm is contagious as the crowd is jumping, singing along and throwing fists in the air while only spilling bits of their brew.

The seven-piece band embraces being called a ‘boisterous Celtic punk’ band, and it fits them well. Although originally formed in L.A. they are unmistakably Irish through and through. At least in their presentation. Everything about them says Ireland. I don’t know how many of them besides Dave King are actually Irish, but judging by the number of Irish related t-shirts in the crowd, I don’t think it really matters. 

With instruments including bodhrán, banjo, spoons, tin whistle, accordion, concertina and so on, it’s an Irish concert. So have another Guiness and do the Riverdance.

Hearing them play some of their hits like “Swagger,” “Drunken Lullabies” and “A Song of Liberty,” there’s no avoiding having a good time. As I mentioned, the crowd was very enthusiastic and involved. Most of the time there were more people on their feet than in their seats. There was room for more with the Grand Theatre looking near full, but not sold out.

I always encourage you all to get out and go to a live show. It’s the best way to experience music. Whether you’re going to the Pioneer Center for a musical, a local club to dance to your favorite band, or to the Grand Sierra Resort for a big time concert, it’s the best. You’ll never hear music like you’ll hear it live. And for your own protection, take some earplugs. It can get loud at times, and this show was very loud (but clean)!

Flogging Molly

  • Dave King – lead vocals, acoustic guitar, bodhrán, banjo, spoons
  • Bridget Regan – violin, tin whistle, backing and lead vocals
  • Dennis Casey – guitar, vocals
  • Matt Hensley – accordion, concertina
  • Nathen Maxwell – bass guitar, vocals
  • Spencer Swain – mandolin, banjo, guitar, vocals
  • Mike Alonso – drums, percussion  
Nick McCabe
Nick McCabe
Nick McCabe is a Reno-based photojournalist and musician. He’s been shooting concerts in the Reno-Tahoe area since 2006 and writing articles and reviews since 2012, as well as doing interviews on occasion. His musical education and playing experience goes back to 1967. He is a founding member of the Reno Tahoe Forte’ Awards, and he still plays music locally for enjoyment. First concert: Jimi Hendrix. Last concert: we’ll see.

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