Flogging Molly, The Slackers, Lo Ball: live at The Troubadour, 3/16/02 By Donofthedead

Mar 18, 2002

Inebriated. That was the word for the evening. The night before St. Patrick's Day was a reason to go out. This was a three-night stand at the Troubadour for Flogging Molly to celebrate their release of Drunken Lullabies. These shows were sold out weeks in advance. Many outside were latecomers who begged and pleaded with many in the crowd in line for the minimal chance of purchasing spare tickets. My wife and I were feeling very fortunate that we had acquired our right to participate.

Opening the night were Lo Ball. I had never heard of them before and had no clue what to expect. They were a five piece, all girl band. They started their set with a cover of Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation." All I could think about was they sounded like The Donnas to me. They continued on with their own material. They were tight and well rehearsed. The crowd was receptive of their brand of pop rock. They seemed to keep their audience at bay. I, on the other hand, relaxed and watched from a far, nursing a beer. Twenty minutes and they were off.

The Slackers were next. I have heard a few comp tracks and have a copy of their The Question CD. The majority of this night's audience were in the house to get their groove on to these 2-Tone bastard children. I swam into the crowd to take some snapshots for prosperity. The crowd was dancing and enjoying themselves. Their mixture of ska and reggae was too infectious for many to fight back. They were a band that would be perfect playing in the background while on vacation drinking on the beach. Solid and very entertaining. They were a great complement to Flogging Molly.

I had never seen Flogging Molly before. I only discovered them after Christmas when my wife bought me a compilation DVD with them on it. Once seeing their track, we were both hooked. We quickly purchased their CD, Swagger, and became devoted admirers. I admit that I am a Johnny Come Lately.

The crowd, mixed with young and old, had swelled to maximum and was ready for a party. Many a skinhead was in the house. Alcohol consumption was at an all-time high, my wife and me included. The house lights dimmed and the introduction music for Flogging Molly piped through the PA. The crowd roared with anticipation. The band entered the stage and the crowd cheered their welcome. They opened with the title track off their soon-to-be-released album, Drunken Lullabies. The crowd went mad, myself included, to their mixture of Irish folk music infused with punk energy. People were pogoing up and down in unison. I could only see flashes of the band as revelers returned to earth. Many in the audience seemed to have known the lyrics even though the release date was three days away. Not to drop the level of energy, they continued their set with my favorite song, "The Likes of You Again." I struggled to shoot photos as the crowd continued to increase, releasing their aggression in joy to the music.

The set continued on as they alternated between tracks from Swagger and Drunken Lullabies. The crowd erupted into pure chaos when they played uptempo numbers like "Salty Dog." The skinhead faction led the charge while taking command of the pit. Stage divers were welcomed by the band to celebrate the occasion. At one point, bassist Nathan Maxwell stage dived and was able to crowd surf to the back of the room and back to the stage. The pit grew in size and speed. I read Razorcake Sara's review of her experience at their last show and the violence has increased ten-fold. Popularity does that to a band's audience when the jock factor starts showing up.

They closed their set with a Tom Jones cover, "Delilah." That was hilarious in its own right, but it was more hilarious seeing a bunch of skinheads, security, youth, and young adults singing along to a song that was hit back in 1968. I was real curious if the majority even knew that it was not rebellious to know a Tom Jones song. Singer Dave King was having too much fun and he had the crowd in his hand. The crowd was too enamored to care.

It was encore time and the crowd was not going away without a few more Flogging Molly tunes. The crowd erupted in unison with the Irish chant of "oh ley, oh ley." Choreographed to perfection, the band returned to the stage to perform two more songs. I can't remember what the songs were but the songs were enough to charge the audience to controlled chaos. People were flying everywhere. The band seemed as appreciative of the crowd as the crowd was appreciative of them. It was a perfect closure to a perfect, joyous night.