Live Review: Flogging Molly with the Minutes and the Mighty Stef at London HMV Forum – 4th November 2011

By on Monday, 14th November 2011 at 2:00 pm
 

It might be a cold autumn night outside, but inside London’s Forum it is slowly filling with hot sweaty bodies looking to pogo the night away to one of Ireland’s finest exports. Flogging Molly are early into the current tour in support of new album ‘Speed Of Darkness’, but before the Celtic punk seven-piece take to the stage, some friends from Dublin are here to kick things off.

The Mighty Stef is the stage name of Irish singer/songwriter Stefan Murphy and his band of merry men. Their authentic style of Irish folk rock rings in the ears of the steadily increasing crowd that are already getting the drinks in. ‘We Want Blood’ gets a small number of dedicates at the front singing along whilst the rest of the crowd lap up Stef’s gravelly Irish tones. Bringing a mixed bag of faster and slower songs to the stage, set closer ‘Magazine’ (from their 2008 debut album) still sounds like a legitimate single that gets the already warmed up Forum bouncing and ready for the next dose of Irish goodness.

Following up are another Dublin-born act in the form of the Minutes. The bluesy-folk rock fused music swells from the speakers and fills the room until bursting point, with the ever-growing audience donning their dancing shoes. Current single ‘Black Keys’ keeps the mood upbeat and frontman Mark Austin’s jittery dance moves and knee-crawling manage to distract the crowd from the quality of the sound. Unfortunately, Austin’s vocal levels peak all too often which leaves a lot of the crowd wincing at the ultra-high frequency – but luckily the quality of the music is good enough to not send people home. Closing on a fantastic rendition of ‘In My Time Of Dying’, an old gospel song popularised by Led Zeppelin, which gets the older crowd moving as well as any of those who’ve seen The Minutes perform this live favourite before. Sadly, their set is short-lived in comparison to the reaction they’re getting, but tonight’s headliners are almost ready.

The room is absolutely buzzing and the queues for the bars stretch the length of the room as the titans of Irish punk rock stroll on stage to a rapturous applause that is completely deserved. Since releasing their debut album ‘Swagger’ in 2000, the septet have carved themselves a niche that has expanded into a huge following across the globe. Drawing from all five studio albums, Flogging Molly are giving it their all for London tonight. The first big singalong comes from ‘Requiem For A Dying Song’ which opens up the floor for those eager to push and shove, there’s no sign of a proper pit, just some overenthusiastic jumping.

The drinking anthem ‘Drunken Lullabies’ sees hundreds of pint glasses thrust in the air throughout the chorus as a salute to frontman Dave King who turns the big 50 next month – but for a man of his energy and charisma onstage, you can’t tell. As well as the punkier drinking tunes, though, Flogging Molly delve deep into the softer and emotional side of their repertoire with the beautiful ballad ‘If I Ever Leave This World Alive’. The Forum is deafening as friends young and old scream the chorus from the top of their lungs, the gratifying reaction on King’s face says it all.

In a set that covered the band’s whole 14-year career, there’s nothing more you can ask for from the Celtic punks. A mixture of hangover classics like ‘The Worst Day Since Yesterday’ and new material such as the chant-tastic ‘Oliver Boy’, leaves everyone satisfied and aching from a good ol’ Irish knees-up that could have only been improved by free Guinness.

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[…] been gaining a lot of coverage as of late here at TGTF Towers, from their debut single release to a fantastic live performance, Dublin’s newest blues-rock trio are gathering speed and could be heading for the big time. […]

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