Walking onto a stage with cans of Guinness perched atop every amp, Flogging Molly worked hard at entertaining what was easily TURF’s largest crowd of staggering drunks, which regularly, wouldn’t have offered much surprise, except when it’s taken into consideration that alcoholic beverages at the festival were priced at nine bucks a pop.
The punk affected band finding its place on the urban roots festival’s docket with its connection to traditional Celtic folk music, it was only fitting that Irish-American pub punk should come packaged with a sense of humour. Lead singer/guitarist Dave King followed suit by perforating a setlist packed with songs like “Whistles The Wind,” “The Present State of Grace,” and “Float” by cracking wise about the number of photographers filling the media pit during the first three songs and how somebody better get his good side (which he suggested was probably his behind). The frontman also supplied groan-rendering segues that linked things like a Hold Steady-dedicated “Saints & Sinners” to bassist Nathen Maxwell, the “wonderful sinner who can’t hold anything steady” and opens the bass-carried track, as well as the “lucky bastards” living in Toronto and – “speaking of bastards” – “Requiem For a Dying Song,” written for George W. Bush.
King also did well at reminding fans of the band’s family-oriented disposition, dedicating “Drunken Lullabies” to his father Richard and went on to introduce banjo player Bob Schmidt, but not without mentioning the recent birth of his daughter before diving into the banjo picked lead of “Drunken Lullibies.”
With VIP ticket holders allowed to fill the space left by photographers after the band’s first three songs, before “The Kilburn High Road,” King pointed out relatives standing before the stage, and then introduced his wife and bandmate, Bridget Regan, who supplies the prominent tin whistle featured on the track.
A set that evoked the only circle pits had at the Fort York-held portions of TURF, it’s safe to say that it was all a working formula, too.
Originally published by The Ontarion.