"An old broom knows the dirty corners best." -Old Irish proverb
There's nothing like St. Patrick's day falling on a Wednesday to separate the men from the boys. By "men" I mean the poor saps cursed with the responsibilities of grownup life, leaving them unable to really let lose mid-week. By "boys" I mean the lucky bastard I saw stumbling outside the Flogging Molly concert at Tempe Beach park, haphazardly dodging rickshaws on 1st Street while wearing only one shoe. I don't know where his other low-top Chuck Taylor went, but I bet he had a good time losing it.
Unfortunately, I'm so old and lame that I returned home stone-cold sober, a shoe on each foot. But for the benefit of the kids -- especially you, drunk Converse guy -- I've compiled a list of things I noticed about the show which you probably didn't.
1. The $7 Guinness was pretty reasonable, compared to the drink "deals" I saw at area pubs.
Considering the massive mark-up anything at all Irish gets in Arizona on March 17, I'd say a $7 Guiness or Harp at the show was a pretty stellar deal. So stellar that a man could stand to lose a shoe in the pursuit of Irishness.
2. Flogging Molly singer Dave King's jokes are terrible.
I'm not sure there's enough Jameson in Dublin to make me laugh at his joke about needing kneepads during his years as an alter boy. Woof. Maybe the band should hire one of Conan's axed writers to jot down a few naughty limericks before next year's big St. Patty's Day show. I normally wouldn't advise a band hire someone to write between-song banter, but when King is delivering lines like "They say St. Patrick got rid of all the snakes in Ireland... What about me?" you know some help is needed.
3. Kilts still aren't Irish.
OK, I think I mention this every time I write about an Celt-punk band, but it really annoys me. I don't know what these guys are hearing around the Ren Faire, but no one ever got laid by 'peacocking' with a dumbass kilt, and it's in no way authentic, so just give it up. St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, and his feast day is November 30, so wear your kilt then if you want, gentlemen.
4. Circle pits are for pussies.
OK, I know dancing is too much effort and regular moshing is silly when there's some chick playing a flute on stage, but, please, guys, let's come up with something better than a circle pit to do during "If I Ever Leave This World Alive" and "Rebels of the Sacred Heart," which were two of the band's best offerings of the night.
5. All Celtic music really, really sounds the same.
This thought occurred to me when I realized the opening to "The Lightening Storm" sounds exactly like something someone would Riverdance to, but King really put a fine point on it when he introduced the first song of the encore by saying the song was "in the key of D, just like every other bloody Flogging Molly song." Right-O, Kingster.
6. This show sure was smelly.
I'm not sure how the people in this crowd got a totally uncovered outdoor venue to smell like a dingy, sweaty, smoke-filled concert club, but they did. Must be the circle pits.
7. Flogging Molly uses their shtick about as well as any band could... Financially speaking, that is.
Watching an Irish flag flying in the crowd (near someone flying a black Flogging Molly flag from a crutch, if you can believe it) and seeing all the soccer jerseys sold at the merch tent (they're a knock-off of the Glasgow-based Celtic FC) I had to admit this band does something very, very right. Business-wise, at least. Now if only we could get one of those shirts on the oldest, fattest man I've ever seen shirtless at a concert.
Let me tell you, this review would have turned out very differently had I been four of five Harps deep -- I may have even hugged that shirtless guy.