Riff Review: The Mahones’ “A Great Night on the Lash – Live in Italy” (Whiskey Devil)


the-mahones-lash-cover-smallAs The Mahones toured the world extensively in support of their 2012 album, Angels & Devils, frontman Finny McConnell had the desire to capture his band live and in action once again. Live at The Horseshoe was an early millennium in-concert recording, and needless to say it was time for a refresher.

When Riffyou.com spoke in January with Mahones frontman Finny McConnell about his band’s forthcoming album, A Great Night on the Lash (Live in Italy), he revealed the stealth nature of this project. Upon arriving at the 2013 Rock im Ring Festival in Bolzano, Italy, the timing felt right. It was the festival’s 20th anniversary; the birthday of his daughter; the sound check turned out great; and fans in Italy had always been great to the band. With that all in mind, McConnell covertly had the show recorded without letting anyone in The Mahones know ahead of time.

The reasoning was simple: “I didn’t want to tell them because I didn’t want them to start mulling over ideas about doing this or that. If you don’t know [you’re being recorded], you just play naturally,” explained McConnell.

After listening to …on the Lash, that spontaneity and looseness of the band that McConnell had hoped for is ever-present. From album opener “A Great Night on the Lash,” and exemplified further with the next two tracks “Paint the Town Red,” and “Shakespeare Road,” The Mahones hit Italy with equal parts piss, vinegar, energy, and appreciativeness.

There isn’t any inclination of self-consciousness here, just one of Canada’s premier Celtic punk entities doing what they do best: leaving it all on stage.

Meanwhile, “Angels & Devils,” “Wild Rover,” plus a medley consisting of “Celtic Pride,” “Drunken Lazy Bastard,” and cover track “Teenage Kicks” are equally formidable, as is a studio-recorded version of The Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated.”

Available on February 11 through The Mahones’ label Whiskey Devil Records, …on the Lash is a near 80-minute adventure that doesn’t relent and provides an excellent portrait of a band going on 25 years of existence and not willing to quietly sit in the corner and fade away.

This album is: Riff Respected

-Adam Grant

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