BLURB: Celtic folk-punk band Flogging Molly takes a spin into the Chumash Casino tonight in the shadow of St. Patrick’s Day.
When: 8 p.m. today
Where: Chumash Casino Resort, 3400 E. Highway 246, Santa Ynez
Cost: $69 to $99
Tickets: 800-585-3737, www.chumashcasino.com
In the long wake after the St. Paddy’s Day celebrations and excesses of green garments, Irish eats, bad Brogue imitation and libation indulgence comes a blast of Celtic folk-punk, in the form of the band Flogging Molly.
The band, led by hearty and boisterous singer Dave King and including the traditional folk sounds of fiddle and mandolin, put its stamp on the music world in the ’00s and is still going strong, bringing its current tour to the Chumash Casino Resort tonight.
The Molly’s stop in Santa Ynez comes as a land-locked gig, in contrast to its past tradition of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations spent on cruises known as the Salty Dog Cruise. This year, they spent last Sunday’s holiday at the Hollywood Palladium and will hit the 805 with a songbook including ’00s favorites such as “Drunken Lullaby,” “Devil’s Dance Floor” and the whisky-voiced and anthemic “If I Ever Leave This World Alive,”— all from the popular 2002 album “Drunken Lullaby.”
Celtic punk is a unique cultural offshoot in the overall punk cosmos, as represented by the Flogging Molly, the Pogues, Black 47, and other lesser-known characters in the mix. In its so-far nearly two decades in the trenches, Flogging Molly has done its fair share in making the surprisingly logical connection between the joyous and raucous intensity of traditional Irish music and the rough, piston-pumping energy of punk. Infectious melodies on fiddle, accordion and mandolin freely mingle with distorted electric guitar snarls and spanking punk drumming, with Mr. King’s gruff-but-loveable voice on top.
Despite the Celtic heritage and Mr. King’s Dublin roots, the band Flogging Molly also has some basic, umbilical connections to Los Angeles. It was there that the leader, who had previously been in the hard rock band Fastway (with Motorhead guitarist Fast Eddie Clark), found himself a bit adrift in the show biz capitol, performing at the Irish pub Molly Malone’s on Fairfax, and planting the seeds of the band — named, incidentally, after the L.A. bar Flogging Molly. It was in L.A., too, that he met the band’s fiddler — and future wife — Bridget Regan.
Early albums included 1997’s “Alive Behind the Green Door,” recorded at Molly Malone’s, and 2000’s suitably named “Swagger.”
Hearing this livewire band live has become a recommended mode of appreciation. The band kicked off this decade with a live album — one of three released so far — from the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles and continued with 2011’s “Speed of Darkness,” for its own Borstal Beat label. The band’s most recent record was “Life is Good,” released by Vanguard records (a label historically associated with folk music, fittingly) two years ago. Its cover sports a tough young lad giving us the finger, a standard howdy-do gesture of the punk attitude.
Despite the rebellious gesture of the cover, “Life is Good” is a fairly optimistic song set, by the standards of the sometimes bleak themes of Mr. King’s songs.
In an interview with Billboard, he discussed the origin of the album’s title track, inspired by a deathbed conversation with his mother, with his wife present. He remembered that “we were at the hospital with her and she said, ‘C’mere’ and whispered in our ear, ‘Enjoy yourselves, ’cause I surely did.’ Even though it’s really sad, to hear something like that made everything worthwhile. The fact that line is in that song is very special to me.”
After the release of “Life is Good,” he told the LA Weekly that, during his childhood in Dublin, “on a Saturday night, (his parents) would put a pot of pig’s feet and ribs on the stove. They would go out to the pub, and they would leave me to take care of the food. When they returned, they would bring back the entire lounge of the pub. Everyone would sit around the floor. We had a piano. I don’t even know where we got it. My mother would play the piano and everyone got a chance to sing.
“Looking back on it, the energy in that room was unbelievable. I always want to match the energy of that room.”