Big weekend at the Peak with Flogging Molly, Melvin Seals
Melvin Seals returns to Penn’s Peak with his band, JGB, on Saturday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Two great shows are coming to Penn’s Peak this weekend.
Flogging Molly takes the stage at 8 p.m. Friday.
The social and political awareness that drives Flogging Molly’s music is never more prominent than in their latest release, “Life is Good,” a strikingly powerful album. The sixth studio album by the renowned Celtic-punk rockers now in their 20th year is mature, well crafted, equally polished and almost aggressively topical. It is filled with rousing songs that are timeless in their sentiment, but directly related to today’s most pressing concerns: Politics, the economy, unemployment, planned boomtowns gone bust, immigration policies gone awry and much more.
For singer and lyricist Dave King, it may be the lyrical couplet contained within the surging “Reptiles (We Woke Up”) that points toward the album’s central theme.
“We woke up. And we won’t fall back asleep,” says King.
“Life is Good” serves as a wake-up call to those who have simply stood by while far-reaching political decisions were made that had serious impact on them. And, significantly, it also serves as notice that the time for action is now.
Recorded in Ireland and produced by multiple Grammy Award winner Joe Chiccarelli (U2, the White Stripes, Beck), “Life is Good” is by any measure a formidable return from Flogging Molly, an assessment with which King fully agrees.
“It’s been a tough few years for a lot of us in the band. Dennis (Casey, guitarist) lost his dad, I lost my mother, and there have been certain issues, pertaining to sentiment, in a lot of the songs. But we just try to do the best we can. We’ve always had fun getting together and coming up with the new songs, and it’s still that way.”
Here we see what’s uniquely distinctive about “Life is Good,” as the gravity and weight of these themes never overshadow the sheer fun and exuberance felt in each song. For the message is delivered and built on the backs of boisterous and barreling live touring.
“We’re known for our live shows,” says King. “Writing albums has always been a vehicle for us — it’s been a means to get people onto the dance floor. And that’s kind of the way we’ve always approached it, no matter what.
“The one thing we are is a positive band,” King says. “When people come and see our shows, it’s a celebration — of life, of the good and of the bad. And we have to take the good and the bad for it to be a life.”
Melvin Seals and JGB return Saturday
Melvin Seals has been a powerful presence in the music industry for over 30 years with a long-established reputation as a performer, recording artist and producer. He is most revered for his powerful, high-spirited, Hammond B-3 organ, and keyboards in the Jerry Garcia Band. Seals spun his B-3 magic with the Jerry Garcia Band for 18 years and in doing so helped pioneer and define what has now become “Jam Band Music.” From blues to funk to rock to jazz, Seals serves up a tasty mix with a little R&B and gospel thrown in to spice things up.
Seals and JGB brings an intuitive, expressive style, soul, spontaneity and remarkable chops to the table. With acoustic and electric ingredients and unique combinations of Zach Nugent’s guitar and vocals, Pete Lavezzoli’s hearty drums and, of course, a heapin’ helpin’ of the wizard’s magic on Hammond B-3 Organ and keyboards. Along with backing vocals, the result is a most satisfying blend of natural organic grooves that challenges genre boundaries. Their chemistry is the focus from which they create a spontaneous and high art where the sky’s the limit musically. They offer an exciting, often psychedelic musical journey that changes nightly and keeps the audience dancing and smiling (and some staring in amazement) for hours.
Tickets are available for either show at all Ticketmaster outlets, the Penn’s Peak Box Office and Roadies Restaurant and Bar.
For more information, visit www.pennspeak.com or call 866-605-7325.