On a day that saw temperatures reach 100+ degrees, droves of people flooded into the Stir Cove at Harrah’s last night for the sold-out show featuring Jake Burns, Flogging Molly & Dropkick Murphys. Looking down on the audience from the deck, there was a sea of green shirts, ginger hair and kilts. Ages ranging from old punks, that have hung up their spikes and mohawks, to the young punks being introduced to the bands by their parents. It was an evening that sounded like what I would assume, St. Patrick’s Day in Boston would sound like.
The event started with Jake Burns who is also lead singer of Stiff Little Fingers. It is fitting that Burns opened the night for two bands that were influenced by his band as they were starting out. Burns came out with a wooden stool and his guitar and played a short but well received acoustic set.
Flogging Molly, a band formed in 1997 in Los Angeles, took the stage and Dave King, the Dublin-born singer, was immediately interacting with the crowd. Pointing out the small circle pit to the side of the stage, the young boy on his father’s shoulders toward the front of the stage & the poor sun-soaked ginger man in the front of the crowd all while swigging a Guinness. The band played for a little more than an hour, having fun the whole way and telling stories about the songs. Most touching was King pointing out the young boy and his father in the front and relaying a story of how his son and father never got to meet, before playing a pair of songs he wrote for each one. The band rocked through some newer tracks as well as old favorites Drunken Lullabies & What’s Left of The Flag.
Rounding out the evening, Boston boys Dropkick Murphys. They are best known for the song “Shipping Off to Boston”, which was featured in the movie “The Departed” and just about every sporting event since then, including UNO Hockey. As the night carried on, the temperature cooled some, but with the crowd at full capacity, the Stir Cove was still extremely warm. Hitting the stage in all black, the band was soaked in sweat after just a few songs but didn’t miss a beat or slow down at all. Ken Casey, who usually plays bass but after having surgery, was able to take advantage of being free to roam and interact with the crowd while assisting on vocals. He and vocalist Mike McColgan pointed out people in the crowd that were singing along and even made an adjustment to their set list with the band at the request of a couple of hardcore fans at the front of the crowd, and added a couple of older songs.
As someone that listened to a lot of Flogging Molly & Dropkick Murphys in high school, this show was a pure delight to see, sending me back to my days of orange spikey hair, spiked chokers and a wallet chain. An even better gauge were the conversations I had with people that were not as familiar with the bands. If you were at the show and were not a fan before, you left that night a true believer.