Best day since yesterday
Flogging Molly headlines sold-out punk party at the Senator
Lines of black-hooded punk rockers wound their way along the halls in the Senator Theatre lobby, resembling trails of ants, many sporting the headliner’s trademark four-leaf-clover logo, waiting for the traditional-Irish/punk band Flogging Molly to perform Saturday night.
The Briefs, with their stylish pop-punk appeal, were the first band to take the stage. Wearing kooky ‘80s-style wide-rimmed glasses and sporting bright blond hair, the band members warmed up the audience with their new-wave blend of punk rock in the vein of The Ramones and The Buzzcocks. The Briefs did a great job getting fans up out of their seats and moving around.
Not too far from its hometown of Petaluma, Tsunami Bomb was happy to be in “beautiful Chico” and to be sharing the stage with The Briefs and Flogging Molly.
Die-hard fans made a beeline for the front of the stage when the band started its set. Vocalist Agent M had to be one of the sweetest singers ever to take the stage, with her ability to win over male and female fans with her girl-next-door vibe and bubbly persona. Flashing a huge grin to the audience, she belted out consistently strong vocals with the booming beat of the drums keeping a fervent pace. The band played several tracks off its latest CD release, “The Definitive Act.”
Agent M danced enthusiastically as the audience started to get riled up, posing dramatically with her cropped black hair falling messily over her eyes. A lone skate sneaker flew across the mosh pit, signaling the first crowd surfer to flail to where Agent M was giving high-fives, and Tsunami Bomb made its exit with moshers pounding their fists in the air singing, “Oh, Oh,” and clapping to the fading rhythm of the drums.
While M and crew kept the speedy tempo solid during its set, with punchy bubble gum songwriting and simple guitar riffs, there wasn’t enough variety. Tsunami Bomb would have been well served to have included a few slower songs or changed up the dynamics during the night to break up the monotony of one short blast of noise after the other.
A chant of “Flogging Molly, Flogging Molly” started out as a murmur in the middle of the floor and slowly grew louder and more intense as the band’s banner hung quietly in the shadows.
There was finally some movement as each of the seven sharply dressed band members spread themselves evenly across the stage. No introductions, no nonsense, just one sudden burst of song. A full, rich sound filled the theater and caused many couples to spontaneously bust out their own version of an Irish jig.
Drummer George Schwindt thumped out the beat of the group’s new track, “Screaming at the Wailing Wall,” off its latest release, Within a Mile of Home, and lead vocalist Dave King introduced the anti-Bush/anti-war anthem with middle fingers held high, receiving a consensus of “boos” from the audience in agreement with his sentiment.
Eyes sparkling with mischief, King raised his cup to the imbibing fans sitting in the upper balcony as the band slowed down to perform a heartfelt song titled, “To Youth (My Sweet Roisin Dubh),” written about King’s father and also as a tribute to the “Black Rose” of Ireland.
Flogging Molly’s repertoire was filled with melodies that lend themselves to being great drinking songs with friends. There were no drinks of water between songs for this group, though; instead swigs of Guinness framed King’s gritty and loveable crooning about childhood memories of living in Ireland as well as the historical events of his homeland.
The combination of traditional and non-traditional instruments—tin whistle, fiddle, mandolin, acoustic guitar, electric guitar and the accordion—incorporated with the simplicity of fast punk riffs is the basis of Flogging Molly’s sound. And, while the band’s familial camaraderie brought a certain level of comfort to its interaction with the audience, the passionate performance was even more appealing.
“The Worst Day Since Yesterday" was chosen to complete the show, and many in the packed theater sang along, arm in arm, at the top of their lungs: "Hurry back to me my wild calling/ It’s been the worst day since yesterday."