Flogging Molly w/ Russkaja and Ferocious Dog @ Birmingham O2 Institute 17/08/22

Oh, Birmingham! It’s been a minute since I’ve been to a gig in this fine city. I’ve been waiting for this gig for a long time. I bought the tickets during the middle of the pandemic and I’ve waited for this show for what feels like the longest of times. However, now that it’s come and gone I can only say this. Wow, what a night! Flogging Molly is one of those bands that always kill it on stage. They bring the best music, the best live presence and the best crowds. Making my way to the infamous O2 Institute was a great time and the anticipation was in the air. People were ready just to let loose and have one hell of a night. As was I. The Institute is a superb venue with excellent acoustics. Looking up from the floor you see the seats go up and up and up. So plenty of room for the sound to carry. Everyone on the floor was ready and rearing to go.

Opening up the proceedings was an energetic and charismatic band. The European music collective of Russkaja. A mix of Russian, Ukrainian, Austrian and German musicians that came together to make bouncy and fun music that got the audience nice warmed up for the night. Their music was a blend of ska, rock, punk and what can only be defined as Eurovision-pop. It was all sorts of fun and the band was clearly having a blast on stage. All of them were dancing while playing their instruments with the biggest smiles on their faces. The music translated really well to a live audience. The crowd was matching the explosive energy that the band was delivering. I think the song that was received with the most admiration was the new song “No Borders, No Wars”. A song protesting the Russia-Ukraine conflict. A timely message delivered by a band that promotes unity and collaboration. It also helps that the song absolutely slaps. I really liked what Russkaja brought to the table.

Next on stage was very popular amongst the Birmingham audience. Genuinely, I saw more of their shirts that Flogging Molly ones and was told by multiple audience members that they were the reason for buying tickets. Ferocious Dog brought such intensity and roughness to the evening. Their music incited a rowdiness in the audience. The music spread through the venue and filled the room. I was immediately in love with this sound as the band just looked like they were having the best time on the stage. The instrumentation perfectly blended together. You’d think in a live setting with so much going on, that something would get lost in the sound. However, everything came through so well. From the violin to the drums, from the acoustic guitar to the banjo, it didn’t matter it was an absolutely stellar performance. I could see why there was so much love for the band before the show. Their set breezed by and was over before I knew it. A brilliant supporting set that set the mood for the rest of the evening to come.

Like that, the moment had arrived. It had been seven years since the last time I got to see Flogging Molly perform and it was here once again. The lights dimmed and the song “There’s Nothing Left Pt. 1” by Flogging Molly played over the speakers as the band made their way onto the stage. Which got the crowd ready and rearing to go. It was a slow build-up and the crowd was just waiting for that moment to let all of that energy out. They didn’t have to wait long. Flogging Molly opened on the massive hit single “Drunken Lullabies” and all of that anticipation and energy exploded in one massive mosh pit of flailing bodies and limbs. Talk about going from zero to eleven in less than sixty seconds. The band didn’t waste a single note on this night. Every second of the show was momentum filled and was designed to keep the night moving at a brisk pace. They ran through the gambit of fan favourites like “Selfish Man”, “The Worst Day Since Yesterday” and “Float” which always get a big pop from the crowd. They also played a few new songs from the upcoming album Anthem, that’s coming out in September” “These Times Have Got Me Drinking/Tripping Up The Stairs” was a welcome new edition to the set as was the uplifting single “A Song of Liberty”. Frontman, Dave King is an absolute enigma on stage. Running around, hollering and strumming away on his guitar. He just knows how to keep a crowd engaged with the music and sings with a humble sincerity that I think any vocalist should aspire to.

Rounding off the main set was fan favourite song “If I Ever Leave This World Alive”, “What’s Left of the Flag” and “The Seven Deadly Sins” which would have been enough to send the crowd home happy. However, they weren’t done. Like any band worth their salt they left the stage for a grand total of about thirty seconds before coming back on for the encore. Finishing up on the ever-popular “Salty Dog”. Which sent the crowd into an absolute frenzy to close this spectacular night. Wow, what an absolute belter of a night. Flogging Molly should go down as one of the best live bands to ever take the stage.

Photos and Words by Mick Birchall 


Mick Birchall

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