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BEING THERE: Flogging Molly @ The Electric Factory

Photo by PETE TROSHAK

Midway through an intense, sweaty two-hour set at the Electric Factory on Thursday night Flogging Molly frontman Dave King stopped to share a Philly memory. He described a moment much earlier in the band’s career when a fan in Philadelphia showed him a blown up picture of the mosh pit from a previous show here and he described it as “the most frightening and beautiful thing” he had ever seen and said that after seeing that he knew his band would make it. The Celtic punk/folk rockers were in town with their Green 17 tour, an annual jaunt that brings a rolling St. Patrick’s Day kegger from city to city. Philadelphia’s own Dave Hause kicked off the show with a short solo set of his emotionally charged roots-punk. Hause alternated between acoustic and electric guitar and sang like each note might be his last, setting an intense tone for the evening. Next up was Skinny Lister, a stomping five piece from London with an arsenal of traditional music and traditional instruments including upright bass and accordions. They played with an infectious enthusiasm that ratcheted up the energy in the crowd, reaching a high point when the upright bass player crowd surfed with bass in tow. The crowd then waited impatiently for the main event, moshing, jostling and chanting like soccer hooligans, displaying the frightening side that King later referenced. The crowd was finally sated when Flogging Molly took the stage. Opening with the Middle Eastern tinged “Another Bag of Bricks” and closing twenty plus songs later with “If I Ever Leave This World Alive,” Molly performed songs from every era of their sixteen year career with volume and enthusiasm. Their mix of punk snarl and Irish music kept the crowd roaring dancing and moshing. King was the star of the night, strutting around, guitar slung low urging on the crowd while his six bandmates rocked and reeled behind him. Highlights were many but the standout was an explosive and emotional performance of “The Lightning Storm” which King introduced as a tribute to all those in the service and those who had lost their lives in battle, leading to chants of “U.S.A” from the crowd, and proving that while the band likes to party they also have a serious side. – PETE TROSHAK

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