Reviewing: Frank Turner and Flogging Molly Concert

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This post should also be labeled “Praising” because the Flogging Molly concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater Monday night was freaking amazing.

Now, I don’t recommend going to a concert like this on a Monday night (I was solidly on the struggle bus for the entire next day at work.) However, I definitely recommend it if the concert is worth it. And this one definitely was.

We got tickets for this concert because my boyfriend loves Flogging Molly, and I love Frank Turner. We ended up getting there pretty much at the time that doors opened and were able to get a seat down near the stage. Here’s a tip for attending concerts at Red Rocks: general admissions cover you to sit wherever you like in the front quarter and the back half of the arena. Somehow, we ended up entering right next to the stage and were told the front-most seats were open to general admission. It was such a happy accident.

The show started off with Chuck Ragan, whom I had never heard of but he definitely peaked my interest. I have yet to look up more of his music, but he has this wonderfully deep, grizzly voice and his music is like a combination of Frank Turner’s and Flogging Molly’s.

And after a short prelude, Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls took the stage. I have loved Turner for a good few years — I used to listen to Tape Deck Heart on repeat while I rode two buses to get from Phoenix to Scottsdale for an internship while I was in college.

Turner has a very smooth voice and his melodies are always a pleasant surprise. He mixes soft and slow with fast and hard often. His lyrics are sarcastic, ironic, insightful and brutally honest. Through a combination of styles reminiscent of The Killers and your favorite 00s punk rock bands, he gives us a few lines that set up an image moving you to recognition and kinship. Turner and the Sleeping Souls were full of energy Monday night — they seemed to be genuinely having fun and basically in ecstasy to be playing that night. The chemistry between them and the crowd was intoxicating, especially when he started engaging even more with the crowd — even dragging the microphone, cord and all, into the sea of people as he danced with them.

But the best part of the night, by far, was when Turner (an Englishman) said that although he’s not one to voice opinions or tell people what to do, he had to tell us not to vote for the racist asshole currently running for president. (These aren’t his exact words but it was something along those lines.) You know it’s getting bad when people from other countries are coming here to tell us not to fuck this up by electing Donald Trump. Hopefully that entire amphitheater listens.

Flogging Molly came on directly after Turner and the Sleeping Souls, and just lit up the stage with their electric beats, rocking violin and accordion, and cans and cans of Guinness. The Irish Celtic punk rock band has been an active band since 1997 and they are not slowing down by any means. The whole set was at a 100 percent energy level as lead singer David King jumped, danced and strutted around the stage.  I think their high energy tired me out!

But it was epic. Everyone was jumping and raising their beers to the stage as King raised his back, toasting each other. We swayed to songs about revolutions and positivity and raising hell with a Devil’s Dance. The entire night was basically one huge, magical drinking party. It was one of the best concerts I have ever been to, next only to Lindsey Stirling’s performance at the same venue.

I feel like literally the only negative thing you can say about a Red Rocks concert is the incessant presence of people smoking marijuana freely as the music pulses through the amphitheater. It doesn’t seem that Red Rocks is doing much to curb the problem, other than running a short ad between sets telling people not to do it. But at this point, we’ve come to expect it. Pretty soon it will feel as though a concert is incomplete without the heady, rank smell of pot floating across the sea of people. But, such is life.

If this tour is coming near you, definitely make it a point to attend, and if you ever get a chance to see Frank Turner in concert, ever, do it. Even if it’s on a Monday.

P.S. You can see a few videos and photos of the night on my Instagram @mmccreary6.

What concerts have you seen recently? What are your favorite venues? What artists are you dying to see play live? Let’s talk.

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