While The Pogues may have minted the style, no one has done as much to popularize Celtic-punk as Flogging Molly—and the band's energetic playing of traditional Irish instrumentation (mandolin, accordion, fiddle) over a pulsing punk beat and the poignant, well-written songs deserve some credit for as much.
But the band's success is most likely a testament to its infectious live shows that rival the rowdy, rousing spirit of a European soccer riot. Yeah, Flogging Molly's come a long way since Dave King—a former heavy metal vocalist for Fastway and Katmandu—began playing heartfelt acoustic paeans to his Dublin home and family in the mid-'90s at a little Los Angeles pub, Molly Malone's. But it's apparent in even the band's earliest songs (such as "Black Friday Rule" and "Devil's Dance Floor") that there was something special happening here. The agile, vibrant rumble overshadows a lyrical pain and longing invoking a sense of celebration in kinship and persevering.
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In the decade since its studio debut, Swagger, the band's audience has grown exponentially, allowing Flogging Molly to crack the Billboard top five with its 2008 fourth album, Float. But, truly, to see Flogging Molly is to love Flogging Molly.