Remember those kooky Freedom Rock TV commercials ("Turn it up, man!") from the '80s? It was a great gimmick — and potentially adaptable to any music genre, be it gangsta rap or Christian pop or Celtic punk. Can't you just envision it gone Irish? "Oi, Seamus, is that Sham-Rock?" says one soccer hooligan to the other. "Aye." "Well, fookin' turn it up, laddie!" Sadly, no one would ever direct-market a Celtic punk compilation CD in today's digitized music economy, but if they did, it would certainly include a song or two from Flogging Molly, one of the last — and best — bands to emerge from the genre's heyday in the mid-'90s. Formed in Los Angeles by expatriate Irish singer-songwriter Dave King, the seven-strong Mollys foster a more positive, inclusive vibe than many of their fiddle-punk contemporaries (Dropkick Murphys, The Tossers) without surrendering any of that whiskey-soaked Irish élan. (Their "Punch Drunk Grinning Soul" track from 2008's Float may endure as one of rock's most life-affirming party anthems.) And, naturally, they boast an arsenal of music-making bells and whistles that would be the envy of any Emerald Island marching band. Not an inappropriate way to spend your St. Paddy's Day.
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