Flogging Molly with The Lawrence Arms & Lucero, The Tivoli, Brisbane, 26/02/13

"Thanks for not fucking forgetting about us!" Dave King and Flogging Molly give Brisbane something to remember at their Tuesday night Sidewave.

Tuesday night in Brisbane was unpleasantly damp and warm but this didn’t stop the slow filling of the Tivoli for a mid-week evening of punk rock. Well mostly punk rock. In typical Soundwave style, the mixtures of bands on the Sidewaves can be a little puzzling. Getting a few weeknight drinks under their belts, it was a motley crowd of punks, skaters, greasers and that seemingly normal couple next door who sometimes blast punk rock from their four-wheel drive. There was also at least one metalhead, trying to slink in incognito.

The Tivoli was still pretty empty, but despite this Lucero packed the front of the small stage, pedal steel guitar almost in the wings, and gave their all. Lucero were sometimes country-tinged punk rock, sometimes soul-tinged pub rock, sometimes a synthesis, but always with a distinct Memphis country-rock sound. Though Lucero played mostly slow ballads, the local crowd reacted well to the few mid-paced tracks which showed off the skills of their talented keyboard player.

In direct contrast, The Lawrence Arms rolled on stage and delivered a set crammed full of punk rock songs that were short, fast, loud and full of an entirely different intensity. The three man band provided unapologetically open songs about life and love all delivered full balls to the wall in the simple but effective rhythms and keys of classic American punk rock. The drunken jokes flowed from bassist and singer Brendan Kelly, with cracks about Lars Ulrich and a theory that Soundwave fitted these three bands together based on a shared interest of hard drinking.

Flogging Molly swept in with their high energy act to the hum of a building, expectant crowd. Hands were in the air all over the venue, lyrics were being sung and the band’s energy was infecting the crowds from the very first lines of Punch Drunk Grinning Soul. Flogging Molly launched through (No More) Paddy’s Lament before singer Dave King gave his bandmates a pause to promise the audience a full two-hour set, for waiting so long for the band to come back to Australia. Following Revolution from the new album Speed of Darkness, King raised his can of Guinness to the crowd ("Purely medicinal, I swear!") before introducing one of the many tunes of the night which hadn’t been played in a while. This time it was Selfish Man ("Dedicated to myself").

After Whistles the Wind, the crowd didn’t have to wait long to go crazy to the fan favourite Drunken Lullabies. Bridget Regan’s bow flew over the strings of her fiddle, as accordionist Matt Hensley danced all over the stage. At the deafening adulation between songs, King was heard to yell “Thanks for not fucking forgetting about us!”. And it seems this crowd would not, with a happy dancing moshpit through The Kilburn High Road, Saints & Sinners, and Requiem for a Dying Song. Not just a one-speed act, Flogging Molly brought a potent pause to the night with a powerful rendition of The Power’s Out.

A three-song acoustic set showcased their musical talent, and gave the audience a chance to catch their breath. With a dedication of The Wanderlust to an Australian friend from King’s youth, this set also included This Present State of Grace and Regan’s sweet vocals with her husband on A Prayer For Me In Silence.

The dancing crowd was back with Float and Tobacco Island. Rebels of the Sacred Heart had almost every member of the audience singing every lyric from the opening refrain. Wildly swinging groups of dancers over the floor showed that the crowd was not tiring, but neither was the band with a passionate rendition of Devil’s Dance Floor. The official set was wrapped up with The Worst Day Since Yesterday, Within a Mile of Home and What’s Left of the Flag. Pouring everything they had into their music, Flogging Molly left the stage after Seven Deadly Sins.

But the night was not over yet for anyone. The venue may not have been packed, but it was a loud enthusiastic crowd. Clapping, yelling and filling the venue with a constant loud thrum of noise until the band filtered back onstage for their encore. Starting off with a rendition of Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues, Flogging Molly treated their Brisbane crowd to Salty Dog and wound up with If I Ever Leave This World Alive. Almost reluctant to end the evening, the band soaked up the applause from the crowd to a recording of Monty Python’s Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. Hugging each other and spinning around on stage, the Celtic punk rockers had given the Brisbane crowd a night to remember.