Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly Make For Raucous Double-Header in Irvine, CA (SHOW REVIEW)

“CAPTAIN KELLY’S KITCHEN!” That was the shout by Ken Casey that opened the Dropkick Murphys set at Five Point Amphitheater in Irvine on Friday, September 28. That was followed by “Famous for Nothing,” and only two songs into the show, the crowd was already in full form. Not only did the audience sing along loudly, but they also formed a massive pit in front of the stage.

The band ripped through five songs before Casey paused. He told a story about the beginnings of the band. Specifically, he said that after making their way around New England, the band came to California and that the second and third shows outside of New England were in Long Beach and Santa Ana.

Somewhere in the middle of the set, Casey said how much he appreciated the Southern California crowd. He said that sometimes punk crowds here are really good or “it’s a fashion show and everyone’s too cool for school.” That pretty much nails southern California music fans.

The crowd sang loudly to favorites like “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya” and “First Class Loser.” Throughout the set, Casey bridged the gap between the stage and the audience and allowed fans to sing along into the microphone.

As usual, the end of the set included “Kiss Me I’m Shitfaced” and “Skinhead on the M.B.T.A” complete with scores of people onstage with the band. The band closed with a cover of “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” which was the perfect way to wrap up a rocking set.

Flogging Molly began on a somewhat mellow note with “Paddy’s Lament,” and that might have been the only mellow part of the set. After that came favorites like “Drunken Lullabies” and “Devil’s Dance Floor.” At some point Dave King commented on how five circle pits were going on throughout the venue. He invited the people in the terrace at the back of the amphitheater to join in one of the circle pits. Those in the terrace didn’t make a mad rush to the pit area (which required a wristband), but they did show their enjoyment by singing along loudly and stomping on the metal bleachers.

In addition to old favorites the band played newer songs like “Days We’ve Yet to Meet” and “Requiem for a Dying Soul.” Flogging Molly may not be known for extended jams, but included one in the set when “Black Friday Rule” was extended probably to double its usual length. This version featured an excellent guitar solo.

King commented several times on how good the crowd was, and he was right. It was a really good crowd – especially for normally quiet Irvine. At some point during the set, he said, “Who would have thought? From Molly Malone’s to this.” Indeed it’s hard to imagine a band that played a small L.A. bar would go on to fill amphitheaters with loud and enthusiastic fans.

The band closed with “If I Ever Leave This World Alive,” and it’s safe to say that no one left the venue disappointed. Although probably a good number left the venue hoarse from singing at the top of their lungs.

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