March 24, 2023 Review by Kevin Gomez
March 17th means Shamrock Shakes, green beer, and the return of Flogging Molly’s annual St Patrick’s Show at the Palladium. Although many in the band hail from Ireland or Britain, the band itself was born right here in Los Angeles at Molly Malone’s (where the band gets its name from).

Each year they bring a talented lineup of musicians from all genres, and this year’s was arguably the most star-studded.
First up was Skinny Lister, the folk rock band from Britain. I almost hesitate to call them a folk band because that brings to mind images of a slow, stripped down musician playing along a campfire.

On the contrary, Skinny Lister is so lively and powerfully driven they had the entire Palladium dancing and singing along right from the opening song, “Wanted.” “George’s Glass” started off with more of a traditional folk feel before kicking off into a thumping upbeat number that had melodeon player Max Thomas hopping along as he played.

For their performance of “John Kanaka,” they had hordes of people chant-singing along which echoed through the halls like a rowdy soccer stadium. Their energy and music fit so perfectly within the Flogging Molly audience. They closed their set with “Trouble on Oxford Street,” leaving the crowd amped and ready to continue the night’s festivities.

A huge backdrop featuring the cover of Anti-Flag’s latest album, “LIES THEY TELL OUR CHILDREN” was set up as the lights dimmed low and the four-piece from Pittsburgh stormed the stage. They immediately launched into “Hate Conquers All,” and early into the song, bassist and co-lead singer Chris “#2” Barker instructed the crowd to “jump, jump, jump, jump.”

The crowd did as instructed and a wave of people began pogoing as a mosh pit opened up. The boys then kicked into the Justin Sane-led, “The Press Corpse.” Whether it’s your first time seeing them or your hundredth, you cannot deny the highly charged impressive show Anti-Flag puts on each and every single time.

Anti-Flag played the fan favorites “One Trillion Dollar$” and “This is the End (For You My Friend),” as well as “Die For Your Government” which had #2 on his knees playing, while bent backwards. Sane took a few minutes before starting “Turncoat” and said, “There’s one thing we can all agree on: politicians fucking lie,” and then started chanting the four words that begin the song: Turncoat. Killer. Liar. Thief. They have been playing The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go” sung by #2 for a few years now, but recently have changed things up.

They did a punk rock medley where instead of launching into the first chorus, they went right into Sex Pistol’s “God Save the Queen,” followed by Black Flag’s “Rise Above,” Rancid’s “Fall Back Down,” Sham 69’s “If the Kids are United,” Green Day’s “She,” The Ramones’s “Blitzkrieg Bop,” and finishing the rest of “Should I Stay or Should I Go.”

If there is one thing I missed about the last few times that I saw Flogging Molly, it’s that they had left out “The Likes of You Again,” which happens to be one of my favorite songs. Well, they must have gotten my memo because they kicked off their set with a frenzied rendition that sent the entire crowd into a wild stampede of dancing and moshing.

I’m not sure if it was because St Paddy’s Day fell on a Friday this year instead of a weekday, or if it was Anti­-Flag opening up the evening, but this was such a wilder and enthusiastic crowd than last year; not an angry or violent mob, but rather jovial and dancing with huge smiles.
Lead singer and acoustic guitarist Dave King took a moment to celebrate Olya and Vira, affectionately known as Mad Twins. The two exceptionally talented sisters were in attendance as part of the Punk Rock & Paintbrushes project and, as King pointed out, recently fled from war-torn Ukraine. After a few choice words for Vladimir Putin, King dedicated the next song, “Songs of Liberty,” to the brave people of Ukraine.

The band looked like they were having a wonderful time, none more so than King who announced he turned 61 last year, though you’d never guess by his voice and performance. He drank beer throughout the set because, “When you’re in the Flogging Molly Army, every day is St. Patrick’s Day.”
At the end of “Tobacco Island,” the band began an “olé olé olé olé” soccer chant that had the entire venue chanting in unison. King introduced “Croppy Boy ‘98” as a song dating back to 1798 about the first Irish rebellion, in which he played a handheld drum as the band stomped along. The band returned to play an encore of “Black Friday Rule” and “Salty Dog” as Monty Python’s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” played them out. This may have been Los Angeles, California, but for one night each year, we are transported to Dublin, Ireland courtesy of Flogging Molly and their


by Todd Markel Rock Photography



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