Flogging Molly at Riverside Municipal Auditorium in Riverside, CA

Irish folk, punk-rock music triple bill blows into Riverside Municipal Auditorium for raucous St. Paddy’s Day weekend celebration.

St. Patrick’s Day hangovers be damned! If you were a fan of high-energy Irish folk and punk rock music, there was no rest for the wicked. The bands dared you to forget the hangovers and get to drinkin’ again. The high-intensity show rocked the nearly century-old historical building in downtown Riverside, CA. The Riverside Municipal Auditorium played host to an electrifying triple-bill concert featuring Skinny Lister, Anti-Flag, and Flogging Molly, each band bringing its unique style and message to the stage.

Skinny Lister, the folk-punk band from London, kicked off the evening with a bang. From the first notes of “Wanted,” the band’s energy was infectious. Lead singer Lorna Thomas commanded the stage with her powerful vocals, while the rest of the band provided a driving rhythm section complete with accordion, mandolin, and bass. The crowd was in a frenzy from the start, dancing and moshing along to nearly every song, from the rousing “Rollin’ Over” to the sing-along “John Kanaka.” Despite being the opening act, Skinny Lister set the bar high for the rest of the night. 

Next up was Anti-Flag, the politically charged punk-rock band from Pittsburgh. Their set was a powerful mix of anthemic songs and political commentary, with frontman Justin Sane urging the crowd to take action and fight against injustice. The band’s performance was tight and focused with each member playing with precision and intensity despite their flailing, jumping, and on-stage antics. Tracks like “This Is The End (For You My Friend)” and “Die for the Government” had the crowd moshing and shouting along to every word. Anti-Flag’s message of unity and resistance resonated strongly with the audience, making their set a highlight of the night.

But it was Flogging Molly, the Celtic punk-rock band from Los Angeles, that truly stole the show. From the moment they took to the stage, the band’s energy was electric. Lead singer Dave King, dressed up in his signature suit, commanded the stage with his passionate vocals and frenetic energy, jumping and twirling like a madman. The rest of the band was equally impressive, with a talented group of musicians on  accordion, mandolin, banjo, and King’s wife Bridget on fiddle and tin whistle adding layers of complexity and depth to the band’s sound. Classics like “Drunken Lullabies” and “What’s Left of the Flag” had the crowd bouncing and swaying to the infectious beats, while slower tracks had the crowd lost in the haunting beauty of King’s voice. Through the entire 90-minute set, King maintained the intensity, egging the crowd on in their mad mosh pit that was more love fest than violent punk-rock slamming, with revelers arm in arm dancing and running around the perimeter of the pit giving the show more of an extended St. Paddy’s Day holiday pub crawl than concert.   

What truly set Flogging Molly apart was their commitment to their message. The band’s lyrics are a potent mix of political commentary, social critique, and personal reflection, and each song felt like a rallying cry for the disenfranchised and disillusioned. From the powerful “If I Ever Leave This World Alive” to the uplifting “Float,” Flogging Molly never lost sight of their purpose, and the audience responded in kind. The entire auditorium erupted in a chorus of voices as the band closed the evening out with their biggest hit, “Salty Dog,” a moment of pure joy and unity that showed the power of music to bring people together.

The concert was a true testament to the power of music with each band bringing its unique style and message to the stage. Skinny Lister’s infectious energy, Anti-Flag’s passionate politics, and Flogging Molly’s Celtic punk rock all contributed to a night that will not soon be forgotten. Each band was at the top of its game, delivering powerful performances that left the audience wanting more. It was a night of unity, resistance, and celebration, and a reminder of the transformative power of music.

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About George Ortiz 67 Articles
George is Southern California and Big Sky, Montana-based photographer. He grew up in Los Angeles and began shooting professionally in the mid 80s. His words and photos have appeared in local & national publications.