Irish American seven-piece Celtic punk band “Flogging Molly” stopped off at the O2 Ritz Manchester Tuesday night as part of their U.K. tour.

In an interview with Kerrang! magazine, Dave King, the bands front man, stated that the band’s name comes from the bar in Los Angeles (Molly Malone’s) that faithfully supported the band from the very beginning, “We used to play there every Monday night and we felt like we were flogging it to death, so we called the band Flogging Molly.” They were signed onto SideOneDummy Records after a show when the record company’s owners attended a concert and noted their intensity.

The band well known for their songs about Irish history, drinking, poverty, politics, love, and death have a renowned reputation as one of the best Celtic punk bands to see live so “All Music’s” Warren Millar made the trip down the M62 motorway to Manchester to check them out.

It was clear to see upon arriving at tonight’s venue that this gig was a sell out as the line of people waiting to get into The O2 Ritz was long, all the way up to Oxford road station. It was interesting also to note that from young kids with mums and/or dads up to older looking punks were all well represented.

Once inside it was  hot, very hot, but the venue had thought of this and opened the basement bar area were anyone that was feeling the heat could go for a bit of rest bite, great move O2 Ritz.

Well what can I say about our first band on tonight “Russkaja” Just amazing from start to finish ! Russkaja are a ska punk band from Vienna, Austria. The band calls its sound “Russian Turbo Polka Metal.” It has drawn on polka, ska, fanfare, pop, rock, and traditional Russian music. The band was founded in 2005 by former Stahlhammer vocalist Georgij Makazaria. Members come from all over Europe including (Which I found very nice) Russia and the Ukraine. The crowd loved them and it was a big crowd too for the first support. The party had started from the very first song with the band getting the punters involved from the get go.  Singer Georgij Makazaria took a moment to address the current situation in Ukraine, embracing Ukraine-born bassist Dimitrij Miller and stating, “we are the example that between Ukrainian people and Russian people there is no war. There is just one crazy motherfucker who made the war.”

Could things really get better ? We were blown away by these guys, bloody brilliant !!



Next up were the always fantastic “Ferocious Dog” and judging by the amount of  FD tee shirts in the crowd a lot of their fans (of which they have many) had turned up tonight. Ferocious Dog are an English folk punk band from Warsop, Nottinghamshire, England. The band has headlined tours of the UK and Europe, performed in Dubai, festivals such as Bearded Theory and Alchemy. Fans of Ferocious Dog are affectionately referred to as ‘Hell Hounds’ – taking their name from the Ferocious Dog song. Again the party was in full swing with these guys. Lots of moshing and singing and dancing. Lead man Ken Bonsall has a voice which fits perfect for their Folk punk, Celtic rock. Again the bar was raised by  “Ferocious Dog” with a truly rocking good set and we noted that Ken was greeting and having pictures taken with the fans at the merch stand during the set change after their set, giving as much time to the fans as possible …… Nice touch we thought.



It was on to the main attraction and one that we were looking forward to so much. “Flogging Molly” came on stage to a roar you very seldom hear at these medium sized venues and the place erupted when they went straight into “Drunken Lullabies” , Moshing, crowd surfing everything. The crowd were a sea of pure enjoyment of the music being played live in front of them. The band were tight and spot on musically with Dave King leading the way as the king pin lead man that he is. Matt Hensley on accordion was brilliant as was Bridget Regan on the fiddle. This was Celtic Punk Rock at it’s very very best. We just couldn’t help being pulled into the vibe  even though we were there to document the gig, the energy and feeling that was hitting us from all directions meant we just had to get involved.

The energy before Flogging Molly came on stage was turned up full to maximum 10 but now it was well above 11 and the punters were have one hell of a great night as were we.  The guys ended their main set with “Seven deadly Sins”  and shortly after returned for an Encore of “Salty Dog”

It was  a brilliant, hot, sweaty gig. It’s very rare that you experience a live gig were the party starts with the first song of the first support and that excitement and energy just builds and builds with any let down but tonight was one of those gigs. All three bands , without exception played their part in what has to be for me at least one of the gigs of the year in terms of sheer enjoyment and coming away from a gig with that feeling that you have seen something very special.

Walking back to the car I was soaking with sweat but the sweat that comes from pure enjoyment of listening to and joining in with one epic live music night.




1/ Drunken Lullabies

2/ The Hand of John L. Sullivan

3/ Swagger

4/ Selfish Man

5/ These Times Have Got Me Drinking / Tripping Up the Stairs

6/ Life in a Tenement Square

7/ A Song of Liberty

8/ Float

9/ Tobacco Island

10/ The Croppy Boy ’98

11/ Devil’s Dance Floor

12/ Crushed (Hostile Nations)

13/ If I Ever Leave This World Alive

14/ What’s Left of the Flag

15/ The Seven Deadly Sins