Positively Anthemic! That’s the best way to describe the night of music on March 19 at Reno’s Grand Sierra Theatre from Flogging Molly, Anti-Flag and Skinny Lister.
Flogging Molly, taking the stage to cap off what they called an extended St. Patrick’s Day weekend, received the loudest response from the room. Taking the stage and joking with the crowd, offering drinks to a couple of those against the barricade, the Celtic punk band mixed newer material like “A Song of Liberty” and “Tripping Up The Stairs” from their 2022 album Anthem with classic songs like “If I Ever Leave This World Alive,” “Devil’s Dance Floor” and “Drunken Lullabies.”
Dave King fronted the seven-piece group as his wild wails and bouncing movement seemed to remain one step in front of the spotlight as he crossed the stage or shared stories and laughed with those at the barricade between songs. Introducing his wife, Bridget Regan, whose violin and whistle playing, along with the band’s concertina, King hit his stride toward the end of the set when the group ripped into their stretch of fan favorites, extending bridges so the room could dance and stomp.
Also thanking their road crew and babysitters for their hard work throughout the tour, Flogging Molly wrapped the eight-week outing with an encore that included the group’s raucous Celtic song “Salty Dog,”and ending with a cover of “Always Look On The Bright Side of Life.” It was a fitting end to a St Patrick’s Day weekend, as the three bands loosened up as their tour came to an end, treating the Reno audience to a fun and eventful night at the Grand Sierra Theatre.
The night started with Skinny Lister, a British shanty folk band, playing a high-energy set of stomp-along songs on their melodeon, standup bass and acoustic guitar. Having been together since 2009, these were the young ones on this tour, and while the group spent their set getting the crowd to clap along, spinning the bass overhead while playing, and generally whipping the Grand Sierra’s Grand Theatre into a frenzy, their energy was just the beginning.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Anti-Flag took the stage next. Having been a band in some form since the late 1980s, the current lineup of the group has locked in the formula for putting on a positively catchy set. With bass player Chris #2 leaping from monitors and amp stacks throughout their time onstage, and singer Justin Sane making calls out for the audience to put politics aside and show respect and kindness to others, the show harkened back to the ‘90’s posi-political vibes of more underground punk shows.
The band pointed out that it was the final show of an eight-week national tour, and the sense of fun from the tour wrapping up was visible. In one instance, after having stage crew shoot fake dollar bills into the air, the crew members put the money guns down and began grabbing the bills and shoving them into band members’ shirts and pants,
The circle pit on the floor of the theater remained in motion during the entirety of Anti-Flag’s set. While parts of the show seem absolutely formulaic – such as the medley of punk songs from Green Day, The Clash, The Ramones, the Sex Pistols and Sham 69, the band’s singalong choruses and anthemic pop punk songs gave them the feel of a punk rock party band and a headliner in their own right.
Flogging Molly – @floggingmolly
Anti-Flag – @antiflag
Skinny Lister – @skinnylister