After being dormant for over 2 years now, I’ve managed to get out recently to see 5 shows in as many weeks. This past Friday night was one of those shows. Kansas City’s downtown venue, The Truman, hosted an international mixed bag of party favors in the form of Celtic punk veterans Flogging Molly, with special guests “Turbo Polka Metal” band Russkaja, and Dallas-based alternative country-rock act, the Vandoliers.
Kicking off the festivities were the Vandoliers with two tracks from their 2017 sophomore effort, The Native – “Rolling Out” and “Endless Summer.” Although their set was short, Vandoliers were able to pack it with an extraordinary infectious energy that got the crowd rallied up and singing along. The band quickly moved into three songs from their most recent full-length album, 2019’s Forever – released via Bloodshot Records and available on Bandcamp – “Sixteen Years”, “Cigarettes in the Rain”, and “Troublemaker.”
There were a couple of tunes in the set that haven’t been released on any of the three studio albums. The first was “Bless Your Drunken Heart”, and then we also heard “Every Saturday Night”, a single that was released in 2020 during the pandemic that shut down the live music industry for well over a year and a half. You can check out the official video below. The Vandoliers closed out their set with a cover of The Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles).”
Up next, Russkaja, an eclectic ska-punk band from Vienna, Austria, who define their unique style as “Russian Turbo Polka Metal.” Opening with “Kosmopolit”, the band quickly won over the crowd with their infectious groove, combining elements from ska, metal, polka, and traditional eastern European and Russian folk music. “Russki Style” came up next and this is just a fun, high-energy tune. Check out the video below.
Singer Georgij Makazaria took a moment to address the current situation in Ukraine, embracing Ukraine-born bassist Dimitrij Miller and stating, “we are the example that between Ukrainian people and Russian people there is no war. There is just one crazy motherfucker who made the war.”
Another highlight from the evening was a lively rendition of Wilbert Harrison’s classic, “Kansas City”, which helped solidify the audience’s love for Russkaja. You can check out the fan-shot video on YouTube. These guys are loads of fun and I highly recommend checking them out if you get the opportunity!
After a brief intermission to clear and reset the stage, headliners Flogging Molly take up their instruments and burst into crowd favorite “Drunken Lullabies”, with frontman Dave King turning the energy to eleven as he darts back and forth at the front of the stage. Their extended set would include hits like “Devil’s Dance Floor”, “The Worst Day Since Yesterday”, and “If I Ever Leave This World Alive”, and new material including “A Song of Liberty” and “These Times Have Got Me Drinking.” After ending their main set with “The Seven Deadly Sins”, the band returned for one last encore with “Tobacco Island.”
This was my first Flogging Molly concert, and it was great timing to be able to see them play to a packed house just in time for St. Patty’s Day. I look forward to the next time they come through town.