As the golden hour descended upon the Cuthbert Amphitheater, the buzz of the crowd began to rise in tandem to the setting of the sun. Bearded men donned in kilts dotted the cluster forming near the rails of the stage, and the sounds of laughter and eager anticipation could be felt in the air. The act of particular interest tonight was Flogging Molly, whose Irish roots tinge their music with a tasteful helping up punk.
Jake Burns of Stiff Little Fingers opened the night with a solo act peppered with stories from the past of tours and experiences like hanging up on Pete Townshend when he called the studio Jake was recording at. Burns gave a bit of a history lesson on the origins of the early Irish punk music scene and the conception the distinct Celtic punk sound.
After he had finished, Flogging Molly took the stage with an energized gusto that incited dancing and the drinking of many a beer by the audience. The band has been together since the late nineties and their ability to cohesively play off the layers of sound each member projects is something to behold. Their sound is woven from many influences, from traditional Celtic folk to the likes of singers like Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer. Life Is Good, their 2017 album was heard throughout the set and several songs off their first album were played with nostalgic revisitation. A tip of the hat was made to the “Queen of Soul”, the late Aretha Franklin in the midst of their high-energy set and the band was able to tastefully weave “Respect” in between their songs rather smoothly.
Time after time this band is able to perform at a high caliber and deliver to their audience an experience unique to itself. The revelatory dancing exhibited by the audience was made easily in response to the light-hearted and fast driven sounds of Flogging Molly. Life Is Good, the sixth studio album by the band stands to deliver a classic
Celtic-punk vibe that can rest among their other previous albums with a sense of continued accomplishment.