Drunken Lullabies

March 3rd, 2008
Some time ago, Richard informed me that Flogging Molly, a celtic punk rock band would be performing in Atlantic city in March and that he wanted to go. As I haven’t been on a concert in a while and I quite enjoy that band, I told him that I would go. Plus, St. Patrick’s Day is getting close, so that’s just perfect. A few weeks later, it turns out that the concerts at Atantic city and NYC were all sold out, and the next location would be Richmond, VA. That’s 300 miles from Princeton, but what the heck. We ordered the tickets, and yesterday morning, we left Princeton with Richard, Olaf and Lothar, a new wash road roommate. It took us approximately 5 hours to get there, and we still had time to grab a coffee and a delicious cheese cake in Richmond, the only city that is even more ugly than Newark.

A queue was already formed in front of the theater, some people wore kilts but most of them were just regular clothes. Even worse, many families came with their children. The underaged got 2 big X on their hands so that they could not buy alcohol… we met two German au-pairs who were waiting in the line too, which reminded me that everywhere we go, we always meet German people. What a small world.

The 2 guest band were OK, the second one at least was unique in it’s own way: The singer also played on a rusty guitar, his wife played on a washboard (!) and the singer’s brother played the drums. Except the sometimes very straight-forward religious lyrics (yeah, we definitely were closer to the southern states), it was quite ok.

Then finally Flogging Molly showed up. The singer looks like a crossover from Angus Young and Dexter Holland and he knew how to get the crowd wild. The set list was really good, in my opinion they played their best tracks. I will try to find some recordings of that particular concert, but in the mean time, take a look at those two in order to get a general idea about the band:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Three things about concerts in America that are completely different in Europe: First, the volume is really not that loud. I barely used my ear plugs, except for the ending were the high tones were a bit too high sometimes, but nothing really loud. The second thing: the huge security spoilsports who got in the middle of the mosh pit (which was barely deserves that name in that case, it was relatively gentle) in order to calm the crowd. Where is the fun if you can’t enjoy a concert among other moshers ? Everything has to appear to be safe from the outside, and I you omit to warn people, you could easily get sued for any shit. That’s why on several concerts, you could see a warning like this:

So moshing is prohibited, so is drinking beer for the underaged, but owning two guns and an assault rifle is allowed. Welcome to America !

The third thing about American concerts is their very regulated concept of the band coming back after the last track in order to play a few more songs. The rule is simple: The band plays it’s last song for the evening, then leaves the stage. The crowd keeps shouting and then the musicians come back and play three more songs, no more, no less, and then it is officially over and everyone leaves. In my opinion, this is way too regulated. A band should come back if the fans really are on fire and want the band to play another song. On American concerts, no matter how good or bad the gig was, the band will show up again and play their three tracks, as planned. There is no surprise anymore, and that sucks.

Despite of all that, the concert was really good, we had a great time and I would definitely recommend this if you are into punk rock or folk music ! We drove exactly 600 Miles for this (960 km), and we came back at around 5am on a sunday evening. The next day we had to work… needless to say, getting up that early wasn’t funny at all :D For the next concert, it will have to be a Metal concert again, I am thinking of going to see The Black Dahlia Murder in NYC … I’ll keep you informed :)