Flogging Molly blasted through Detroit last night on their 9th annual Green 17 Tour and brought along a fabulous lineup to assist in the fun.
Dave Hause began the festivities with a brave solo set which featured some great guitar work and a humorous, yet sad, exchange with a front row iPhone-obsessed fan. "Who are you texting, dude?" is a phrase that should never have to be heard from an onstage performer. Hause made the best of it and never let the distractions slow him down. He's a likable character with a Bryan Adams-type voice and I kept waiting for him to break into a cover of 'The Summer of 69'.
Skinny Lister, a raucous folk band from England, absolutely won over the crowd with it's infectious brand of pub-punk in the second slot of the evening. The job of an opening act is never easy, especially when your early audience is focusing it's energy on buying more beer and jockeying for position on the general admission floor, but Skinny Lister's set demanded attention.
This five-piece band, without a drummer, played the perfect mix of tunes for the Flogging Molly fanatics. Catchy, upbeat, and downright happy music heated up the Fillmore's beautiful room as Skinny Lister built up their fan base one song at a time. A great version of 'John Kanaka' really started the conversion and by the time the band ripped and danced through more tracks off of its debut album, like 'Rollin Over' and 'Seventeen Summers', the audience was going crazy. Dan Heptinstall fronts this gang with a smooth Stray Cats-type groove, flanked by Mule Brace and stand up bassist Dan Gray. Gray actually brought his over-sized instrument with him into the mosh pit at one point causing mild hysteria. A first in my concert going experience!
Then between twirling and drinking, vocalist Lorna Thomas dedicated 'Forty Pound Wedding' to her and her band mate Max's father, affectionately known as "Party John", and the Detroit party was in full force.
I caught up with Lorna and Max at the merch stand in the lobby after their set. Expertly hawking T-Shirts, CD's and weirdly unique brass horse-harness trinkets, these two siblings worked the table greeting and glad-handing everyone that came near. After only two days in the States, this hard-working band had already logged two Fox TV News appearances in addition to their first two Green 17 tour dates but they weren't complaining.
Looking forward to continuing the trek with Flogging Molly, they were also excited to share the news that they were just added to the Coachella lineup this April. Although they claim to prefer the colder, snowy weather of Detroit, the heat of the desert will be just another challenge for them to conquer. "It will be like playing with a hair dryer pointed at your mouth" said Max.
Speaking of conquering, Flogging Molly could easily rule this town. The local transplants certainly know how to relate to the hard working people of the D, and the love affair is a mutual one. This was yet another genuine night of real music and a wonderful outlet to forget the worries of the city and its troubles. Thank you Flogging Molly for once again proving that life is an absolute blast.
All in all, a fabulous Friday night of entertainment in downtown Detroit. As the smiling masses filed out onto Woodward Avenue, more than a few were still singing Flogging's outro tune...
"Always look on the bright side of life."
The must-see Green 17 Tour rolls on through March of 2013. Get your tickets and make sure to show up early to catch all of the music. You won't be disappointed! Just take a look at this Flogging Molly Set List from Detroit:
For information and tickets, CLICK HERE to visit Flogging Molly's website.
To check out Skinny Lister, CLICK HERE to visit their website.
And please visit iTunes on January 29th to purchase the great debut album, Forge & Flagon
by Skinny Lister!
Check em out...
Kurt Schwarz is a happily married man with three awesome children, living and working in Oakland County, MI. His mid-life crisis brought weight-loss, sobriety, and the constant pursuit of happiness by pretending to be a rock star. Now in his late forties, he has decided to become a better person by improving every aspect of his life.
He blogs about Family, Fatherhood, and Fantastic Music Topics.
He strongly believes that real men can be great husbands and fathers yet retain their "coolness," although his kids may not always agree.