Flogging Molly O2 Academy Bristol review: Swing a little more

PUBLISHED: 14:59 08 December 2018 | UPDATED: 12:27 09 December 2018

Flogging Molly headlined the Fireball - Fuelling the Fire tour which came to O2 Academy Bristol on December 7 Picture:  Ritchie Smyth

Flogging Molly headlined the Fireball - Fuelling the Fire tour which came to O2 Academy Bristol on December 7 Picture: Ritchie Smyth

Ritchie Smyth

The sickly sweet smell of cinnamon whisky hung in the air as the third annual Fireball - Fuelling The Fire Tour came to O2 Academy Bristol, on Friday.

Starting at 5pm, for scheduling reasons, or as Flogging Molly frontman Dave King put it, ‘they want to kick us out to turn the place into a bloody disco’ before launching into an impromptu sing along of Rod Stewart’s If You Want My Body, the five-act punk showcase, headlined by Folk punk masters Flogging Molly, was an odd evening, a sold out gig was surprisingly dead for the first half of the night as most attending were no doubt just finishing work when it started, or assumed it started later.

The early start time was certainly felt by Bristol-based opener The Run Up, who played to an almost empty venue – it was clear they thought they would be playing later.

Next up were Scottish post hardcore act, Lost In Stereo, who had similar issues to The Run Up with people slowly filtering in during the set and playing to a mostly empty room which were not there to see them.

The Scottish four piece did their best to warm up the tiny crowd, but in their desperation came off as combative at times, and ultimately failed to get the crowd on side.

The night finally got into full swing, when Southern Californian punks Face To Face took to the stage and played a barnstorming set which got the audience warmed up with their reliable brand of speedy punk.

The set closed with a bang as red streamers were launched, which all got stuck in a lighting rig, creating an odd red curtain of crape paper over the crowd and obscuring the stage from everyone standing on the balcony.

LA Rockers Bronx then stormed the stage with a relentless set which saw the dance floor errupt into a huge mosh pit, an impressive feat for 7.45pm on a Friday night.

Playing with a blend of flawless musicanship and unrelenting fury, The Bronx did not disappoint, blowing the roof off the now packed venue.

The highlight of the superb set came when frontman Matt Caughthran hopped the barrier for some ‘old school chaos’ singing the whole of Knifeman from the middle of the pit.

Finally it was Flogging Molly’s turn, waltzing on to the stage to the lilting Celtic sounds of There’s Nothing Left PtOne from their latest album Life Is Good, they then launched straight into the hopeful (No More) Paddy’s Lament, and then fan-favourite Drunken Lullabies, which saw the whole standing area descend into one giant hoedown which did not stop for the rest of their set.

Dave King, a skilled showman was a delight throughout, charming and engaging, while casually swigging through his Guinness between each song, playing a set full of ‘old songs and new’ including Devil’s Dance Floor, Salty Dog, The Hand of John L. Sullivan.

The party paused for a solemn moment as the band dedicated, The Likes Of You Again and had the audience raise a glass to Buzzocks’ singer Pete Shelley who sadly passed away on Thursday.

Other highlights included an unexpected chorus of Aretha Franklin’s Respect during new track Crushed (Hostile Nations) and King complained the security were handing out water instead of beer.

The Irish American Celtic punks closed on a marvellous show with the moving ballad If I Ever Leave This World Alive’.

Finally leaving the stage to the tune of Monty Python’s Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.

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