At this point, do we really need another live release from Flogging Molly? I don’t mean to dump on their latest album, Live at the Greek Theatre, as it features plenty of my favorite Molly tunes, but it seems a bit superfluous. While Molly’s studio catalogue is so far a nearly perfect series of Pogues-tinged Irish folk punk, Live doesn’t cover any new territory. Yeah, it sounds like the crowd is having a great time, but after Alive Behind the Green Door, Whiskey on a Sunday and Complete Control Sessions, I’d rather just have a batch of new songs. I mean, frontman Dave King even recycles stage banter from Whiskey on a Sunday.
That’s not to say that Live at the Greek Theatre is bad, though. Any record that can count “Requiem For a Dying Song” and “Devil’s Dance Floor” among its tracks is clearly a good thing. The recording quality is quite good too. Grammy winner Ryan Hewitt mixed the album (Granted, his Grammy was for Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Stadium Arcadium, but still…), and it sounds incredibly crisp. The 5,000+ crowd is present and enthusiastic but never overwhelms the songs and the band likewise sounds much better and closer than such a large venue would indicate.
The song selection is decent, picking all the high energy hits from the group’s four albums. Given its budgeted price, this DVD/two CD set makes for a serviceable greatest hits package for newbies, even though they’d be better off just buying Swagger. Yeah, some of the best of the best are missing (No “Within a Mile of Home?” That song is got-damn epic! And, uh, I like “Laura.” Just putting that out there), but that brings back the point that, ultimately, fans could be listening to their favorite studio albums instead. So yeah, Flogging Molly is one of the best live acts out there, and their discography is great too. But for now, the former needs to stop filling the latter.