• Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

St. Patrick’s Day in Vegas is like nowhere else. Sure, we have parades like every other major city, whiskey specials galore, and green beer at every small hole in the wall, but one thing we get just about every year that no one else does? Flogging Molly!

This year was especially special when it was announced that we would be getting an all day fest headlined by the band along with Buzzcocks, Frank Turner, NOBRO, Gen & the Degenerates, Amigo the Devil, and Skinny Lister. Even better? It was the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center, which is probably the best place in town to hold a fest since we no longer get to use Desert Breeze Skate Park or Sam Boyd Stadium (RIP Extreme Thing & June Fest; we fucking miss these).

Beer, Liquor, and Bands: Oh my!

We got downtown around 11:00 am, ready to face the day. After running into friends and grabbing our passes, we were greeted with the most adorable little shot sized pint glasses (well, plastic, but ya know). Why? Beer and whiskey tasting from 12:00 – 3:00 pm. Free buzz along with great music? Yes, please! Under the large tent at the back of the festival grounds were about 25 different brewery set ups ready to allow folks a taste of what we had. I wish I’d written down some of the names, because I had this amazing green mead and a killer pilsner that I’d happily keep in my house at all times. We also taste tested some Slane whiskey, which I’d never had before. They were one of the sponsors of the festival, apparently a rival of Jameson, and let me just say; as someone who is often forced to drink the swill that is Jameson because all of my friends have it as their go to – Slane is a pleasant change. It was smooth, no burn, and I definitely plan on picking up a bottle.

Enough about the alcohol though… on to the real reason we were there; the music.

The Bands.

Kicking off the festivities for the day were Gen & the Degenerates from the home of the Beatles: Liverpool, UK. I had checked out a few songs prior to the festival, but I really didn’t know what to expect. I was blown away by the energy that they had.

Prior to their set, you could see them off on the side of the stage hyping each other up, doing a little huddle before taking their spots on the stage. The energy and voice that came out of singer Gen was magnetic. She worked the stage along with her bandmates, interacted with the crowd, and kicked off the day perfectly.

Gen & the Degenerates

Keeping the day going was Canada’s NOBRO, an all female punkish riot grrlish band. This was another high energy set with a ton of crowd interaction, strong hooks (“Where My Girls At” has been stuck in my head for a week), and hardcore girl power.

There were some slight sound issues at the beginning of their set, but either they didn’t notice or they just powered through like pure professionals. Highlight of the set though was when their keyboardist hopped on the drum kit, the drummer on the bass, and vocalist McCaughey got to work the stage without her bass in her hand, which was especially fun during tracks like “Eat Slay Chardonnay”.

Can we get these chicks out to Punk Rock Bowling next year? Please?!

NOBRO.

Keeping the energy, and in my opinion, stealing the slot for Set of the Day were Skinny Lister. The amount of energy that this band had is unrivaled. Crowd interaction, catchy songs, your singer sharing her jug of whiskey and arm wrestling folks in the crowd, ya know… the important shit.

There was not a single band member who stayed still, and the crowd ate it up. We danced, we sang along (even when we barely knew the words), and the atmosphere of the festival grounds shifted from an open Vegas bowl in the middle of casinos to feeling like a cramped pub in Innisfree, Ireland (even though the band is from the UK) where all of the patrons were your buddies. We shared our drinks and jumped around with the band.

Skinny Lister I would absolutely catch again, and this time I would make sure I was three sheets to the wind to really feel the music.

Skinny Lister.

I feel like when it comes to Amigo the Devil, you have people that either can’t stand it, or people who act like it’s the best thing since sliced bread. For me personally, I can take or leave the band. There are some songs I like, but I have never delved too far deep into their catalog to say I love them. However, I will say that their folk-punk sound was a nice break in the middle of the fest. It is a shame though that like NOBRO, Amigo the Devil seemed to have some sound issues, so we got treated to a couple solo acoustic songs before the rest of the band joined the stage to round everything out.

We took a small break at the back of the venue to grab a bite to eat (nothing like chicken tenders when you’re full of beer), say hi to our friends at the Punk Rock Saves Lives booth, and enjoy the softer side of the evening.

Amigo the Devil.

Picking the energy back up, and feeling kind of out of place to me on the bill is So-Cal’s Face to Face. They brought the harder punk-ish element for the day with songs like “Bent but Not Broken”, which is a favorite of mine.

The band delivered a blistering 13 song set that kept the crowd moving. One thing I noticed during their set was the amount of people jumping in to the pit (teens, kids, and adults alike which was pretty cool to see) and even crowd surfing. I don’t know if people were finally drunk enough (especially after Skinny Lister’s earlier set) or if Face to Face set the tone for the rest of the evening.

Face to Face.

Next up was the band that I fully admit I was looking forward to most. A band I never thought I would get the chance to see, especially after the passing of vocalist Pete Shelley in 2018; the mighty Buzzcocks!

I planted myself against the barricade and sang along as Steve Diggle worked the crowd. They kicked off their set with “What Do I Get?” and had me dancing and singing along to “Orgasm Addict”, “Sick City” and “Harmony in My Head”, holding back tears at what was in front of me. The only song missing for me was “Boredom”, but their set was anything but! I wish they had played right before Flogging Molly in the show lineup, because I felt like the two back to back would have been incredible, but I was glad to see that I was not the only one in the crowd who knew all of the words. As one of the best punk bands out of England (sadly overshadowed by bands like The Clash and The Sex Pistols), I feel that Buzzcocks are under appreciated as a whole, but this crowd appreciated what they were witnessing.

Buzzcocks.

Frank Turner was up next to bring things down a little bit, but not too down. The British folk-singer kept the energy up just enough for the crowd to stay excited for headliners Flogging Molly to take the stage next.

Frank Turner’s voice carried over the venue as the sun set in the Las Vegas sky with songs like “Recovery” (one of the few I came in knowing) and “Girl From the Record Shop”. If you aren’t familiar with his music, I definitely suggest you give it a spin. I walked in not knowing too terribly much (our photographer Alex on the other hand, this is probably his favorite band and he was a VERY happy camper), but I walked away wanting to dive into Turner’s back catalog.

Time for one more drink before Flogging Molly… A Shamrock Shaker maybe…

Frank Turner.

Finally, Flogging Molly hit the stage as the sound of Sinead O’Connor’s voice singing “Molly Malone” filled the events center.

The band hit us hard immediately kicking into “Drunken Lullabies”, which is basically how you start and end a proper St. Patrick’s Day music wise, in my opinion. Dave King and others are always a joy to see, never stopping movement across the stage. The sheer energy that they bring to the stage every time we’ve had the chance to see them is the highest of highs. You always feel like family in the crowd at a Flogging Molly concert, and that’s not because of the fans, it is solely because the band takes the time to make you feel like you’re in a backyard having beers with friends and some good tunes.

From “A Song of Liberty” to “Salty Dog”, much like the band, the crowd never stopped moving. The air grew a bit chilly, but dancing and singing along, our stomachs full of whiskey, we had not a care in the world. We held each other and swayed singing along to “What’s Left of the Flag” at the top our lungs, stepping up with the meter of the song, sad to know it was almost over.

Flogging Molly gave us one final song, “The Seven Deadly Sins” rounding out the 18 song set and leaving us to pick up our mess and stumble to our cars as Monty Python’s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” from The Life of Brian pumped through the venue speakers. I do wish they’d played my favorite song, “Laura”, but can’t win ’em all!

St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Las Vegas is always a joy because we get Flogging Molly, but I am hopeful that we get Shamrock Rebellion back again with them next year. Vegas is quickly becoming a hot spot for festivals, and this one certainly won my heart over. If it returns, so will I.

Flogging Molly.

PHOTO CREDIT: All photos by Alex Sanchez for ZRockR Magazine – All rights reserved.

By Stephy Muzio

Stephanie " Stephy " Muzio (formerly Hayward) - Public Relations / Writer/ Photographer and Co-Founder of ZRockR Magazine Co-host of ZRockR Magazine LIVE! Stephy was raised on rock and roll. Originally from Illinois, Stephy is the daughter of an aspiring metal guitarist and a former rock n roll radio dj. Stephy’s first concert at the tender age of 8 was Rob Zombie at the original Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas, where she happily threw horns up and sang along to "Dragula" with the best of them ( she incidentally loves horror films too!) . She performed with the VGA choir at the 2007 Video Game Awards show at Mandalay Bay when it was hosted by Samuel L Jackson, sharing the stage with the likes of Foo Fighters as well as Kid Rock. An LVA alum, when she isn’t singing or playing herself (she plays a few different instruments), she is out in support of the local scene and at her friends gigs around the southwest and even when she is back home in Illinois! She has written as well as done some photography previously for a couple of smaller zines including Vegas SoundZ when it was in print. Stephy takes the adage of ” If it’s too loud that is just too damn bad! ” to heart- after all- she was raised around screaming guitars, thunderous drums, production studios and only Led Zeppelin and Nirvana played extremely loud would put her to sleep as a kid! Stephy is a large part of the backbone of ZRockR.

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