Traditional sounds define the up-and-coming Los Angeles-based septet Flogging Molly, but in a way that's sure to upset musical purists. Devotees of old-fashioned Irish folk music might be dismayed by the band's upbeat rock 'n' roll drumming and adrenaline-fueled electric guitar, but fans of punk are packing into sweaty, beer-soaked clubs to pump their fists along to energetic rock heavily drenched in emotional Irish melodies.
Alcohol provides a big inspiration for Flogging Molly's successful melding of two genres. The band members took their name from their favorite local pub, Molly Malone's, and they even thanked Guinness in the liner notes for their 2000 debut album, Swagger, engineered and mixed by Steve Albini. Their just-released effort Drunken Lullabies contains more signature thrash-jig anthems and moshable drinking songs.
Flogging Molly's new album reveals influences by The Pogues and The Dubliners, as well as similarities to contemporaries like The Dropkick Murphys, but singer-guitarist Dave King's lyrics make every song uniquely personal. In his gruffly delivered brogue, Dublin-born King tells stories of triumph and loss that explore not only his ethnic roots but also his own life experiences. Songs such as "What's Left of the Flag" and "Rebels of the Sacred Heart" depart from standard punk rock with the nostalgic sounds of mandolin, a feisty fiddle and lilting tin whistle. Former pro skateboarding legend Matt Hensley joins in on accordion.
Bash on Ash, 230 West Fifth Street in Tempe
Performs with the Slackers, and Throwrag on Friday, March 22. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $13, through Ticketmaster, 480-784-4444.
While Drunken Lullabies is sure to make new fans for Flogging Molly, it's the band's live shows that really win people over. Their appearances in last year's Warped Tour started a big buzz, and this time we predict that music lovers of all stripes will be begging for yet another round. Cheers!
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