LIVE: Flogging Molly @ the Palace Theatre, 6/16/12

Review by Greg Haymes

I’ve loved Flogging Molly ever since I first heard them at the one and only Vans Warped Tour to grace Nippertown – at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta a dozen years ago. They were whippin’ it up on a small stage about as far from the main entrance entrance as you could get. And while 90 percent of the other bands on the fest were stirring up the usual paint-by-numbers mosh-pit soundtrack, frontman-bandleader Dave King and his mates were mixing up their full-throttle Celtic punk anthems with an occasional Guinness-soaked waltz and even a cover of Welshman Tom Jones’ “Delilah.” I was sold.

And while last month’s FM show at the Palace Theatre in Albany was good, it fell short of great.

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Interestingly, I had the same problem with the show that I had with Alejandro Escovedo’s concert at The Egg on the previous evening. It’s great to hear both bands crank it up and rock out, but I’d much prefer it if that’s not all they do. Mix it up a bit. Slow things down a touch. Throw a curve ball or two once in a while just to keep me off balance.

Unfortunately, FM kept things blazing throughout their nearly two-hour performance. Even when they slipped into their brief, mid-show “unplugged” segment – cleverly enough, the acoustic portion of the show immediately followed a new song, “The Power’s Out” – it wasn’t really much of a change of pace.

Of course, that’s exactly what the rowdy (and perhaps a bit over-served) crowd wanted. And I certainly don’t fault the band for giving the audience what it wants. And given that it was the final show of their U.S. tour, perhaps the band just wanted to tear through it before heading to Ireland. Don’t blame ’em for that, either.

And don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed “Black Friday Rule” (with an extended freak-out solo by electric guitarist Dennis Casey, who concluded by literally dragging his ax across the stage floor) and “Devil’s Dance Floor” (tagged with a bit of a coda from AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell”). I loved “If I Ever Leave This World Alive” (a rousing eulogy dedicated to James Joyce on Bloomsday) and “Rebels of the Sacred Heart” (with Bridget Regan trading in her fiddle for a fine pennywhistle solo).

I just wish that they’d toned it down a bit here and there throughout their 100-minute show, which would have created a more dynamic show and made their frenzied rave-ups seem even more powerful.

Local 518 openers Wild Adriatic turned in an excellent performance on the big stage, with Travis Gray and his bandmates firing up a blast of funk-laced rock that was laden with echoes of the James Gang and Thin Lizzy. They nailed such stellar tunes as the opening “Letter” and “New Sun Rising,” but it was odd that they dropped two cover tunes – a nifty take on Bill Withers’ “Use Me” and a forgettable closing rendition of “Hound Dog” – into their brief seven-song set.

SECOND OPINIONS:
Michael Eck’s review at The Times Union

NOTE: Flogging Molly bassist Nathen Maxwell brings his other band, the Original Bunny Gang, to Jillian’s in Albany (just down the street from the Palace) at 8pm tonight (Friday, August 3). Tix are $12. Meanwhile, Wild Adriatic plays a free show at Freedom Park in Scotia at 7pm on Saturday (August 4).

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