It just wouldn’t feel right having a St. Patrick’s Day without Flogging Molly. Sure, you could dress in your favorite green shirt and drink green beer, but unless you can dance a jig in a mosh pit to the Celtic punk rockers, it just doesn’t feel the same. Well, that’s exactly what Los Angeles had to endure the past two years. This show, originally scheduled for March 17, 2020, but delayed to the pandemic, was finally able to take place in 2022.
Thursday’s show was actually part of an ongoing spring tour with openers Russkaja and Vandoliers joining Flogging Molly for the month of March. However, as has become tradition, the day’s festivities kicked off with a free event outside the Palladium.
After a performance by traditional Irish dancers, Matt Hensley and Dennis Casey of Flogging Molly gave an acoustic performance of several traditional Irish hymns, jigs, and folk songs. Without great difficulty, the duo also convinced the Irish dancers to return on stage and participate in some impromptu dancing. The combination of live music and riveting dance fueled the audience for what was to come.
For some in attendance, this was their return to live music and entertainment, but for Hoist the Colors, this was their long-awaited opportunity to finally participate in this festival. Originally scheduled on the bill back in 2020, Flogging Molly invited Hoist the Colors to deliver their unique style of punk rock, traditional Irish music, and American folk and bluegrass to the streets of Hollywood. If you enjoy your punk rock with fiddles, mandolins, and accordions, then they are a must add to your music playlist.
Returning as the featured headliner of the festival and drawing in audiences from several out-of-state cities, The Briggs reminded audiences why L.A. punk rock melts faces and is a staple in the style and culture of the city. Coming out of the gate and “Charging Into the Sun,” The Briggs’ opening songs delivered a rush of emotions into the audience who themselves could not resist the urge to rush the stage and chant along to the lyrics with Joey Briggs.
The hits continued coming as Joey Briggs’ stage presence and appearance in the audience amped up over 200 adoring fans. As an L.A. based group and becoming the sound you hear at any Los Angeles sporting event, The Briggs concluded their set with “This Is L.A.” Without a doubt, a phenomenal closing song to conclude an amazing event.
Inside the Palladium, promptly at 8 p.m., the lights went out as The Vandals’ “Urban Struggle” started playing. If you’re familiar with the Vandoliers, you’ll realize the opening lines to that song, “I want to be a cowboy. I’m born to be a cowboy,” are quite accurate for this band. This being my first time seeing them live, I would describe them as alt-country with a punk rock attitude.
The Vandoliers were exceptionally grateful for the chance to be playing at all, and lead singer Joshua Fleming pointed out that originally, they were scheduled to play the free show outside in 2020, and now here they were playing on the big stage. The bank concluded their 30 minute set with a rocking rendition “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” from the Scottish band, The Proclaimers.
The next band of the night was Russkaja, which as you probably guessed by the name, hails from Russia. Their set can best be described as an international skacore band mixed with Russian polka. Singer Georgij Makazaria is the charismatic ringleader of this infectiously fun show. It’s nearly impossible to keep from dancing around to songs ranging from Russian (“Russki Style”), to English (“Change”), to at one point, Makazaria addressing the crowd in pretty fluent Spanish. Makazaria told the crowd that the band actually comes from many different backgrounds and condemned this “unjust war,” as he embraced bassist Dimitrij Miller, who was giving the peace sign. The highlight of their set was when they played their cover of Avicii’s “Wake Me Up,” an energetic rendition of the dance club hit that had the whole floor bouncing up and down.
Finally, the time had come for the guests of honor to cap off an already packed day of music and entertainment. Flogging Molly wasted no time as Spencer Swain began plucking the opening banjo chords to “Drunken Lullabies” sending the crowd into a flurry of dancing, moshing, and utter joy. Seeming to echo the earlier sentiments of Russkaja, lead singer Dave King wished everyone a “Happy St. Patrick’s Day… except for Putin.”
March 17, 2022
King introduced the next song as one they have not played in many years, the rocking “Selfish Man” off of 2000’s “Swagger.” The band played a particularly soulful rendition of “The Worst Day Since Yesterday” before sharing a new song. King explained that during the pandemic, the band a chance to write new material, including “These Times Have Got Me Drinking,” which they debuted online the week prior. Flogging Molly would also play “If I Ever Leave This World Alive” and “Salty Dog,” the latter of which inspired the name of their annual cruise. (This year’s Salty Dog Cruise will feature Flogging Molly, Descendents, X, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, amongst others.) After leaving the stage, the band came back for one last hurrah before bidding adieu, with the spirited “Tobacco Island.”
What I loved about the lineup was you had Flogging Molly at the helm, as this was a St. Patrick’s Day show, but the show’s openers were an alt country band out of Texas, followed by a Russian ska band. The bands onstage were just as diverse as the people in the audience, all coming together to celebrate a day of unity and music.