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The Eastpak Antidote Tour 2009
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Robert Keeling

WHILE their two musical stylings may differ greatly today’s two main acts, ragga metallers Skindred and folk punk’s finest Flogging Molly, somehow compliment each other brilliantly.

Both bands offer a distinctive sound that in its own way gets entire crowds moving and generates a tremendous amount of energy.

Before they took to the stage came openers Time Again and the Street Dogs. Both bands offer no-frills street punk and both unfortunately find themselves playing to a barely half-full Academy.

Nevertheless they do their best to get the early crowd fired up ready for the headliners. The Street Dogs have the most success out of the two, and their heartfelt barroom anthems get the odd fist pumping the air early on.

Skindred are renowned for their live shows, and tonight Benji and the boys don’t disappoint. With their eclectic mix of pounding beats and grinding metal guitars, the band  have a broad appeal and certainly attract a range of punters down to the front ready and willing to throw themselves around.

Benji works the audience brilliantly and the harder he screams the more ferocious the crowd gets.

Tracks like ‘Under Pressure’ and ‘Trouble’ are torn through with great venom and the gradually filling-up Academy is reduced to a sweaty bouncing mass by the end of the band's set.

No slouches

Many bands would struggle to follow such a dynamic live act, but Flogging Molly are no slouches themselves.

They take to the stage and from their first song, to their final encore, they have the crowd eating out of their hands.

Much like The Pogues before them, the ‘Molly have deftly blended together a genuine Irish-folk authenticity with ferocious punk rock energy.

Crowd pleasers like ‘Drunken Lullabies’, ‘Rebels of the Sacred Heart’ and ‘What’s Left of the Flag’ cause mayhem as limbs and drinks alike fly wildly around the excitable crowd.

The Irish-jig element of the band’s music brings out the inner dancer in everyone, and this makes for a dangerous combination when mixed with the vast amount of ale supped by tonight’s crowd.

Vocalist Dave King is a charismatic front man whose friendly stage banter can’t help but endear you to the group and really creates a sense of genuine connection between band and audience.

After an hour or so of Flogging Molly however, it can begin to get a bit repetitive for the less ardent fan.

The band is always affable and never boring by any means, but their wistful anthems do blend into one towards the end of the set.

This is only a minor criticism however, and is not something the vast majority of tonight’s audience seems to care about.

By the show's end, most of them are exhausted, bruised and covered in beer, and this is exactly what a Flogging Molly show is all about.

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