LIVE REVIEW: Fireball Tour (With Flogging Molly, The Bronx) - O2 Academy Birmingham - 12th December


The past three years (2016 – present), Fireball have run a tour of top acts touring the UK. Previous offerings include Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake and Anti Flag. This year sees Flogging Molly swaggering through the UK with The Bronx, Face to Face and Lost in Stereo in tow. With plenty of Fireball in the place, it promises to be a rowdy night.

First up are Lost In Stereo, who play to a sparse crowd. Unfortunately for them, the doors earlier than usual for a Wednesday gig. That doesn’t stop them from giving them everything, and working the people who have come down early to warm them up. This is a pop punk band who have seemingly rewrote their set to match the tone of the tour, as their studio stuff is not as heavy as they’re playing tonight, by a country mile. On previous occasions where I have seen them, they’ve never been this heavy; leaving me amazed by their versatility. Versatile bands do more tours, so you know you’ll be seeing these winners of the Fireball’s Hottest Band on your travels, and they’ll be different each time. There is charisma oozing from these boys, who do a really good job not to be swallowed by the size of the stage they’re on. There are some very bright futures ahead for these.

Face to Face, from Southern California (as they’re introduced by Matt Stocks (who is the compere/DJ for the evening between bands)) are a punk band. They’re fast and frentic, and good fun to watch. They’re funny too, making jokes about Lost In Stereo being in their 20s, and them coming out being about 50. The experience in the age difference comes through as they are tight. Like, really tight. This is a band that has gone through it all in their 20+ years, and is quite obviously enjoying being on stage. It can be argued they’re a staple of SoCal punk, and the influences of that culture do appear in the way they present themselves, beaming and seemingly glad to be on a stage, doing what they love. This is punk rock in one of the purest forms you’ll be able to see in this day and age, and it’s wonderful. Definitely see these guys again if you can, and get involved in the carnage of the pit.

The Bronx are next up. I’ve got a confession to make; I don’t think I’ve ever seen The Bronx in all the time I’ve been going to shows. This is a band that has been going strong since before I was reading about them in Kerrang! Magazine when I was 13, and show absolutely ZERO signs of stopping at any point soon. There’s something undeniable about this band, who run through their set like a runaway train. The pit opens up almost instantly, and it’s already looking like they could be the highlight of the night. The light show matches the ferocity and frantic nature of the music, and for a split second, I got a little bit lost in the light show. The Bronx are an incredibly well rounded band, and they have a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ that helps them to stand out from the crowd. I’d love to see these guys again, in a proper headline slot, where they belong. That said, they do get about an hour set, which is unusual on a show with 4 bands.

Bringing the Swagger to the Devil’s Dancefloor, (I’m not even sorry) Flogging Molly take to the stage to “There’s Nothing Left Part 1”, which sets up the carnage to come. This is the practical definition of the “calm before the storm/deep breath before the plunge.” The set that follows is full to the brim of the “classics”, with every shanty bringing fresh chaos in the form of a pit that won’t quit. We are Crushed (I did it again) anew every time, but there’s no wiping the smiles from anyone’s face. Mass sing alongs, continuous pits, even when Nate takes the lead vocals, this is what a gig should be. It is fun. People fall, they get picked up, if someone needs to get out, they’re picked up and surfed over the top.

The tribute to recently deceased Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks is truly touching and comes in the form of “The Likes Of You Again”. There are a number of tributes to the fallen friends and family of the band,

The set feels like it’s over before it’s really begun, as Flogging Molly only has approximately 70 minutes, meaning that there are a few songs that don’t make the cut. Still, you probably couldn’t ask for a more fun experience. If you ever get the chance to see them, I implore you to buy a ticket, go along and just join in.

Flogging Molly Setlist

Life Is Good (Intro)

(No More) Paddy’s Lament

Drunken Lullabies

The Likes of You Again

Swagger

The Days We’ve Yet To Meet (Nate Lead Vocals) Life in a Tenement Square

Float

Rebels Of The Sacred Heart

Devil’s Dance Floor

Crushed (Hostile Nations)

What’s Left of the Flag

Seven Deadly Sins

ENCORE:

If I Ever Leave This World Alive

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