Irish punk to flog Sac State audiences

Michael Stockinger

Typically, Irish folk music conjures up visions of shamrocks, pots of gold and leprechauns, but Flogging Molly is different, putting its own spin on the punk rock genre.

The band is headlining the Fuse SideOneDummy College Tour, a tour featuring a spectrum of musical genres with Bedouin Soundclash, Zox, and sketch comedy troupe The Whitest Kids U’ Know.

The tour comes to Sacramento State at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday in the University Union Ballroom and tickets are $20 for students, $25 for the public.

“It’s hard to describe what we do and I think people have a hard time putting their finger on what we play,” Matt Hensley, a professional skateboarder and accordion player for the band, said in a phone interview.

The seven-member band, in addition to guitar, bass and drums, also includes accordion, mandolin and banjo, violin and tin whistle, adding a unique sound to its hard-edged punk rock.Now picture those same images of Irish folk music, but with an attitude: mosh pits, stage dives and plenty of alcohol-inspired lyrics.

The L.A. band’s diverse sound and influences come from Dave King, singer and guitarist, who was born and raised in Dublin and formed the band around the traditional music of his childhood home as well as the punk rock of his adulthood.

King’s thick Irish accent complements the traditional side of the band’s sound, whereas his harsher punk singing brings together the hard rocking aspect of the band, fusing the two genres seamlessly.

Flogging Molly’s newest album, “Whiskey on a Sunday,” is a collection of acoustic versions of songs, live songs and an unreleased track, plus a two hour DVD documentary of the band.”We’re not a traditional band,” King said on the DVD. “We are influenced by traditional music and inspired by it, but we put our own little twist to it.”

The band unfortunately doesn’t get much radio play and Hensley, also the owner of Innes Skateboards, said they definitely have to win over fans through live shows and originality.”Even our own friends are not fans at first,” Hensley said. “My friends were like ‘whatever’ and I told them to just check us out.”

Hensley’s friends then came back saying the band was awesome.

Flogging Molly, which got its name after performing at L.A. pub Molly Malone’s, tours seven to eight months a year and the members enjoy every minute of it.

“We’re a live band and (are at) our best when we’re performing,” Hensley said. “We spend our whole life playing.”

As for live shows, the band definitely brings energy, exciting the audience with fans jumping onstage, moshing and having a great time while the band works up a positive and fun atmosphere.”We have a great time doing what we do,” Hensley said.

Flogging Molly also brings in a diverse and enthusiastic crowd, from young to old, making the Sacramento area a regular tour stop with Sac State being no exception.

“There are young kids to old-ass dudes coming to our shows,” Hensley said with a laugh. “Our audience is all over the place.”

“We get a good reception and a lot of people keep going to our shows there,” Hensley said.Through touring and being on the road so much, the band members have developed a killer live show and a close relationship with each other.

“We’re like an extended family through the good times and the pain and struggle of being on the road,” Hensley said. “It helps everything on stage and helps everyone do the things that they do to sound good.”

The tour began last Thursday at the University of Utah and the bands will perform nearly every day at various colleges on the west coast before making their way to Sac State.

“We have to bring our music to the people,” Hensley said. “I’m looking forward to seeing Bedouin Soundclash. I have their CD and I listen to it all the time.”

“I’m looking forward to playing with both bands and the tour,” Hensley said.In the words of the accordion player, “just check them out” and you might find yourself doing an Irish jig while head-banging.

Micheal Stockinger can be reached at [email protected]