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A Quart a Day Keeps the Doctor Away: In true Irish tradition, Flogging Molly frontman Dave King has an alcohol cure for the common cold.

Flog This

First rule of thumb when attending a FLOGGING MOLLY show is not to wear sandals. That way when your toes are stepped on by A DRUNKEN UKRAINIAN in the girl's bathroom, you have no reason to start a fight. This isn't BEACHFEST, people--put some freaking shoes on.

Second rule of thumb when attending a Flogging Molly show is to drink beforehand. Otherwise you might find yourself on a different level from most of the musicians onstage. DAVE KING, Molly's lead singer, didn't even let illness get in the way. As he told the crowd after a few tunes: "In IRELAND, we have a remedy for a cold. Its called whiskey."

For a sick man, King didn't hold much back vocally during tunes, and certainly didn't pull any punches with the banter between them. As a graduate of an ALL-BOYS CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL, it warmed my heart to hear King give a shout out to debauchery: "Speaking as an Irish Catholic, let me tell you what a beautiful thing it is to see so many people out on a Sunday ... You fucking heathens."

Another choice piece of intercultural dialogue: "I guess you people over here have the SUPER BOWL in a week. I don't know ... if you have to wear a helmet to play a sport, you should be riding a motorbike. I like real football. Even ME MAM does: she may be 80 years old, but she still loves her lads in tight shorts."

All seven members of the group shared King's lack of inhibition. Whether windmill-strumming a mandolin or breaking out some of the most wanky but wonderful electric guitar riffs ever, Molly knows how to work a crowd up into a frenzy. Even the tinwhistle got a rousing welcome.

High points of the evening included "Selfish Man" from Molly's first LP. King summed up the lyrical content pretty succinctly: "I guess you could say that I got right to the fucking point."

A newer tune, "Screaming at the Wailing Wall," was hauled out early in the set. Like "Tobacco Island" and "Factory Girls," the tune finds Molly giving voice to those left out of the progressive part of economic progress. King is pissed, but at least he's got sense of humor about it all: "There's one good thing you can say about W ... four more years and that's fucking it."

My pessimistic soul was so happy to hear "It's Been the Worst Day Since Yesterday" during the encore. I love that song, and writing this Monday morning, with MY BRAIN still slightly sodden and MY EARS ringing louder than the fan on my hard drive, I can definitely relate. Hung-over or not, next time this band rolls through town, you will find me back in the same old place singing drunken lullabies again.

Peter Koht

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From the February 2-9, 2005 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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