1. The seven-piece Celtic punk outfit understands the game. These days, the money’s not in album sales, so successful bands find unique ways to connect with their fans. See: Flogging Molly’s Green 17 Tour, now in its 10th consecutive year, which culminates around every St. Patrick’s Day.
2. One could complain that vocalist Dave King spoke too much between songs, but that actually fits perfectly within Irish pub singer tradition. As he spun yarn after yarn, I wished I was in Dublin with a pint of Guinness in my hand.
3. Dedications were plentiful—“The Likes of You Again” for King’s late father, “Rise Up” for Pete Seeger (whose spirit of protest is reflected in Flogging Molly’s music), “Us of Lesser Gods” for Vladimir Putin (another expression of civil disobedience) and a cover of “The Rare Ould Times” for Luke Kelly, whose group The Dubliners also covered it. King called Kelly “the greatest Irish singer.”
4. King & Co. play at such a breakneck speed sometimes that they could be considered Celtic thrashers. “Salty Dog,” in particular, is a live vortex of rock-’em, sock-’em Irish energy.
5. I didn’t expect the usual Flogging Molly moshpit in the packed-to-the-gills drained pool, but somehow fans found the space. Special props to the crowd surfer in the wheelchair. It was a joy to watch you.