Flogging Molly came to Atlanta to play the Tabernacle on Wednesday, March 9, touring in support of their new album. Flogging Molly got their start in Los Angeles in 1997. King stated that the band’s name comes from the bar (Molly Malone’s) that faithfully supported the band from the very beginning.
“We used to play there every Monday night and we felt like we were flogging it to death, so we called the band Flogging Molly,” says Dave King, the singer and acoustic guitar player of Flogging Molly.
The Tabernacle is a 100-year-old church that was deconsecrated in 1996 due to declining membership. It’s reinvented itself as a one of the best venues in the country, according to Rolling Stone Magazine. The interior retains the splendor of its previous life, with a massive pipe organ behind the stage and a gorgeous crystal chandelier suspended high over the audience in the coffered ceiling.
The Mighty Stef opened the night, and has toured with Flogging Molly before, in 2013. Stef played alone, playing “Space Oddity” solo acoustic. Their latest single, “Capri Sun”, is drawn from their 2015 album, Year of the Horse, and is set to be released on March 25.
Beans on Toast played next. Beans on Toast is the nom de plume of Bob and Jay. Bob began the show playing acoustic guitar himself, but then passed his guitar to his friend Jay, who also played harmonica, while Bob concentrated on singing. Their music is described as drunken folk singing, and that’s about right. It’s hard not to think that his music is best enjoyed in a dimly lit pub, with your friends and a pint of Guinness. That small venue feel hasn’t prevented him from becoming a cult favorite on both sides of the pond.
Beans on Toast finished and the audience started chanting “Molly, Molly, Molly” until the band took the stage and launched into action. They played the title song from their new album The Hand of John L. Sullivan, which you can stream here, as well as many of their old favorites. The crowd loved it. The opening acts were more quiet and subdued, but Molly is a big ol’ great time. The energy that had been waiting for release during the opening acts burst forth from the audience. There were crowd surfers bobbing on the surface from their first song through the last. I have seen crowd surfing before, of course. But crowd surfing gets a wee bit different when the surfer is in a traditional kilt! Flogging Molly is a 7-piece band; their sound is very full and broad. This support allowed Dave King to prowl the stage, let go of his guitar and goad the crowd with gestures.
Their tour takes a hiatus their California dates as they head to their next stop, The Flogging Molly Cruise. A truly epic experience, The Flogging Molly Cruise departs from Miami on Friday, March 18, and returns March 21 to resume their tour. The Mighty Stef and Beans on Toast are playing the Flogging Molly Cruise as well. Tickets for other tour dates can be found on their website.