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03.01.2023: Flogging Molly @ The Landmark Theater

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

with guests: Skinny Lister and Anti Flag

Disclosure: I didn't qualify for a proper camera pass to this show, so any pictures you see here were taken with my iPhone. Apologies in advance for the dodgy quality. All photos by the author. To see all the photos of the event, pop over to our Instagram!

You can't keep a good punk down. A friend of mine described the Landmark as "anti-fun" but that was not in evidence this night. While a punk show without a pit is unusual, it did not stop this show from being raucous.

The openers, Skinny Lister , sang their hearts out to a largely empty space. Anyone can play energetically to a packed house, but creating energy where there is none is a special talent. Upright basses were hoisted, accordions squeezed, and Loma Thomas sang and danced like she was in a Broadway production.

Seriously, look at them go!

Following their set, the band members made themselves available for autographs at their merch table, graciously greeting any and all who approached.
Next up, in front of totally different stage dressing, punk legends Anti Flag took the stage. They hit the ground running. and their took the now larger crowd to the next level. Capitalism was denounced, human rights affirmed, amps climbed.

Bassist Chris Barker takes flight.

Midway through their set, Anti Flag called up a rep from Punk Rock Saves Lives, a non-profit with the goal to be "a catalyst at events allowing the punk rock community to start focusing on Health and Wellness (with an emphasis in mental health), human rights, and equality." Their support (all free) ran the gamut from free earplugs and condoms, to fentanyl test strips and Plan B, from signing people up for the marrow donor registry to simply giving a fuck.

Take a Fuck, Give a Fuck (see bottom right of the box)

The crowd ate it up from start to finish. The lack of a pit seemed to be irrelevant to the enjoyment of the crowd, many of whom arrived to the show wearing Anti Flag shirts. Following their set, there was a brief break and then it was time for the main event.

When Flogging Molly took the stage they did it with a slow build. A recording start playing (I wish I had remembered to write down which track it was) and then transitioning from a recording to live performance as the band took the stage. While the crowd was by no means a sellout, it was passionate. People sang and stomped along, hands were waved and clapped in time. The crowd roared when front man Dave King would toast the audience with his can of Guinness, no matter how many times he did it.

Dave King working the crowd.

Their sprawling set covered their entire catalogue, old and new, and the crowd knew every word of the almost 2 hour set. The crowd was energetic but never unruly. At the inevitable set break, the crowd spontaneously broke into the "Ole Ole Ole" soccer chant. The encore began intimately, with Mr. King taking the stage solo to start and building back to the energy which had sustained the show from the beginning. As a fitting quirk, when the band bowed their last and the house lights came up, "Always Look On The Bright Side of Life" from Monty Python's Life of Brian played over the PA. No pit at a punk show? As the song says: "What have you lost? Nothing. Always look on the right side of life..."

Dave King, again, making the 3,000 seat Landmark Theater feel as intimate as a coffee house.

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