Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with green beer, Irish punk

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Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with green beer, Irish punk

Jeff Moses

Lucky Man Productions 2011 St. Patrick’s Day Bash was a shamrock day party for the ages. The crowd came out decked in green and ready to imbide beer of the same color.With an hour before the gates opened, the line of green clad concertgoers was already a few hundred strong, some drunk with excitement, others drunk from Guinness.

“I’m here to drink beer and watch the (expletive) show,” said Matthew Kleinman, a Flogging Molly fan who flew in from Hurricane, Utah for the show.

But this St. Paddy’s Day party wasn’t just for the 21-and-up crowd; men, women and children of all ages were in attendance.

Seven-year-old John Wheeler was spending his fifth St. Patrick’s Day with his mother Jen Wheeler and Flogging Molly, while 61-year-old Allen Dutch was celebrating Leprechaun Day with the Irish rock titans for the first time.

“I’m excited to be here,” Dutch said. “My grandkids played me a Flogging Molly CD a few weeks ago when they visited, and I couldn’t get it out of my head since.”

Tempe’s own Keltic Cowboys opened the show for the second year straight and laid the groundwork of what would become an epic night.

“It’s great” was all Keltic Cowboys front man Frank Mackey had to say about opening for Flogging Molly on St. Patrick’s Day.

Following the Keltic Cowboys was another act from the Valley of the Sun, Westcott Ave.

Hailing from Glendale, the quartet had to win X103.9’s Battle of the Bands to earn their spot on stage.

“I grew up listening to Flogging Molly in high school,” said Nick SnodGrass, Westcott Ave guitarist of the headliners.

“It’s not every St. Paddy’s Day you get to open up for Flogging Molly,” added Justin Robertson, the guitarist of Westcott Ave.

Westcott Ave kept the energy level high. During their set, the first mosh-pit erupted, composed mostly of Westcott Ave’s faithful fans.

The next act taking the stage was San Diego’s The Drowning Men, and the Californian quintet rocked the house.

“They sounded like Modest Mouse, with an Irish twist,” said Lisa Rapaski of Tempe. “They are awesome.”

“You’re just so (expletive) grateful to be here,” said Gabriel Messer of The Drowning Men about the St. Patrick’s Day Bash.

The crowd was just as grateful to the band for their contribution to the festivities.

When asked where the best place to play on St. Patrick’s is, The Drowning Men’s drummer Rory Dolan said “the best place to play is with Flogging Molly, wherever they play.”

At 7 p.m. the winds picked up, and the Swedish Grammy winner Moneybrother graced the stage, priming the crowd for the big show.

The Stockholm native, who was very reminiscent of a young Bruce Springsteen hit the stage in a sleeveless Canadian Tuxedo.

Three ASU students who were also native to Sweden Katina Bjorge, Frdrick Vold, and Katie Husjord described Moneybrother as “awesome”.

“I liked his voice. It got really high like a girl,” said Katina about the Swedish rocker.

Also the saxophone added a whole new dynamic to Moneybrother’s music that made it resonate with the crowd.

After Moneybrother, the crowd of more than 10,000 people began cheering “Flogging Molly” in unison awaiting the band that all the others bands gave thanks to during their sets.

Flogging Molly hit the stage hard, playing with passion and energy to a raucous crowd who had waited all day to sing along with the immortal Irish rockers.

The quintet was formed in Molly Malone’s Pub in LA and still bares its namesake.

They played a mix of their classic hits like “What’s Left of the Flag” and new songs such as “Don’t Shut ’em Down” and kept the crowd wanting more for an hour and forty five minutes.

“It’s the energy,” said Robert Anders, drummer for Westcott Avenue.

“They’ve been around for so long, with songs that everybody knows. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to see any other band than Flogging Molly on St. Paddy’s day.”

According to X103.9 promotions director Joshua Bassett, the crowd of more than 10,000 people was a record for St. Patrick’s Day Event at Tempe Beach Park.

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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