Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, Flogging Molly brought their Life is Good tour through Houston on Thursday, March 8, at House of Blues.
Celtic Punk bands are known for their energetic shows, but Flogging Molly reaches another level. Last week’s set spanned the band’s lengthy career, as the boisterous crowd ate up every second of the band’s unique mix of traditional punk riffs accompanied by accordion, mandolin, and fiddle parts.
Yes, lead singer and guitarist Dave King talked about his Irish Catholic upbringing before inciting the crowd to sing along with the classic “Rebels of the Sacred Heart,” but Flogging Molly shows aren’t necessarily a religious experience. Rather, it’s a cult-like communal gathering of people who can have an amazing time listening to songs about drinking to the good times or the bad.
As King heads into his late 50s, he shows no signs of slowing down. If anything, the years on the road together have sharpened the band’s focus. Flogging Molly sounds tight. Bridget Regan transitions smoothly from fiddle to flute depending on the song, while Bob Schmidt’s accordion fills out the soundscape in a way you don’t often hear at punk shows. Minimal line-up changes and three decades of King perfecting his banter have served the band well.
Whether you haven’t seen them since their Warped Tour days in the mid-to-late aughts or you’re a die-hard fan with an Irish Flag tattoo, the set hit all the beats. There’s “Rebels” and “Selfish Man” and “Drunken Lullabies.” There’s also the title track on Life is Good; King told a wonderful story about the genesis of the song, and how it was inspired by advice his mother gave him before she passed.
Openers included Austin’s Scott H. Biram. Biram, known for his borderline staggering array of guitars and layered effects slowly drew the crowd in despite his stark set up compared to the size of the House of Blues stage. Jon Snodgrass and his band ran through some literal dad rock - seriously Snodgrass has several tunes inspired by his daughter - that will fill a Hold Steady-esque shaped spot in your heart.