Formally the legendary Irish punk band The Radiators From Space (see the following review). The Rads morphed into The Trouble Pilgrims after the death of one of the RFS founding members (and Pogue) Philip Chevron. The surviving band wanted to continue but didn’t feel right going forward as The Radiators from Space without Philip. Taking the tile of the Radiators magnificent third album Trouble Pilgrim the Pilgrims became Ireland’s best new band. Trouble Pilgrims play raw and dirty rock’n’roll showcasing influences from the first wave of rock’n’roll onto sixties bubblegum and onward to the proto-punk of the Velvet Underground to seventies glam and the early NYC punk sounds then kicking and screaming through 1977 into 2017. A mighty fine album indeed.
Ireland’s original punk band. Sometimes relegated to the footnotes of Irish rock history as Philip Chevron’s (The Pogues) punk band or even the band that inspired U2 to give it a go. The Radiators have the distinction of being the first punk band to have a top 20 hit single anywhere in the world – Television Screen in April 1977. A slightly delayed debut album TV Tube Heart showed up later in ‘77. Forty years later Chiswick Records has re-released TV Tube Heart in all it’s punk rock glory along with an additional 20 bonus tracks. If you are not familiar with the original TV Tube heart it’s a very fine punk album comparable to the best of the 77’ class. Television Screen is teenage frustration and primal rock’n’roll, Enemies an absolute classic and the album as a whole has stood the test of time very well. The bonus track are wide and varied including a 2017 live in the studio re-recording of the album, previously unreleased live tracks from 1977 and the obligatory single versions. Still the greatest band to come out of north Dublin.
Released much earlier this year, 11 Short Stories just seemed to disappear from conscious. Unfortunately while it’s a solid enough album with some highlights such as Blood, Sandlot, Had A Hat and 4-15-13 there is no knockout tracks and if I’m going to spin some Murphy’s this isn’t the album I find myself reaching for.
Third Eye is the third full length release from Detroit Celtic rockers Bill Grogan’s Goat. The Goat are easily one of the most original bands in the whole Celtic-rock universe. Celtic meets primal Detroit rock’n’roll, and a few other influences just for good measure. Here is a blow-by-blow of the best of this very fine album.
“3rd I” is a short intro track giving off a Pink Floyd space rock vibe that merges into “The Newry Highwayman”, with its laid back but loud guitar sound. The guitars crank up further on the (almost) symphonic Celtic-metal instrumental, “Andro des Morts”. “The Burning of Cork” continues the vibe of “The Newry Highwayman” of laid back, big guitars and traditional melodies.
“Knockdhu Set” is pure Horslips ala “King of the Fairies”. Robbie Burns’ “Ye Jacobites By Name” builds from a gentle introduction into a full Celtic rock symphony. But just in case you have been suckered in to the progressive state of mind, “Paddy’s Dead” is Detroit primal punk that will slap you back into reality.
“Mary Mac” is straight ahead Celtic-rock with a funky undercurrent, while the Scottish standard “Wild Mountain Thyme” merges Celtic melodies and Americana. “The Devil’s Trumpet” is a Celtic jam in the style of Enter the Haggis at their finest. “The Blacksmith” is a traditional song of the South of England, though most folk would know this song through Planxty’s version – the Goat version gives the track a Johnny Cash twist at his hurting best.
In all a very fine, well crafted album from one of the most original bands on the scene.
There is an unbelievable 17 tracks on Whiskey Blues and Faded Tattoos, the latest album from the central Pennsylvania based Kilmaine Saints. Yah know what most bands call 17 tracks? Two albums, and what is really amazing here is there isn’t a single filler. I’ve been impressed by the last two Saint’s albums and they have always raked the band as one to watch. On Whiskey Blues and Faded Tattoos, the six piece play a blinder and produce not just quantity but quality. The bands sticks to their core “explosive” bagpipes and punk rock while at the same time is able to incorporate more traditional sounds such as the Scottish No Awa Tae Bide Awa and the haunting Golden Pen (then again 17 tacks gives you that luxury). A album to own from a band that have broken away from the pack to join the big boys.
The Go Set, BeanTown Boozehounds, The Pint Killers, The Disquiets
9/22/2017 at O’Brien’s Pub in Allston MA
Road Tripping. I was to Boston for this insane line-up. I roped in a mate and we shipped up to Boston from Kingston, NY, a 4 hour drive. We headed out at 1pm to arrive at 5 to check into our flophouse, The Farrington Inn. It smelled like a morgue to me, I could smell dead bodies, musk or wet dog anyway. Highly recommended. Affordable- if you know what I mean.
We had just enough time to grab a bite with my life-long friend Dave Tree of Boston’s TREE and SEE THIS WORLD and John Murphy who was guest listed for the show but had already bought two tickets that he was going to simply GIVE us. What could be better than to meet at old school Italian Greg’s Restaurant in Watertown? The waitresses only yelled at us a little- “Sit in the lounge! Sit in the Lounge!”
We got to O’Brien’s a bit after eight and met Lachlan McSwain (pipes, whistle) and Chad Blaster (drums/ Ramshackle Army) of The Go Set who were already there. Had a lot of fun downing some pints and catching up. I had played in NYC with The Go Set last year with Alternative Ulster before that band broke apart. We learned Justin Keenan lead singer of the Go Set’s plane wasn’t going to land until 10PM. The bass player shortly before that was landing from Toronto. All I could get was that his name was Shorty. Those two were simply going to have to run in the door, set up and play. F**k-tons of fun! (That’s for you Chad). Did you know that in Australia there are kangaroo warnings when a troop jumps along main street and schools go into lockdown? Chad laughingly informed us cuz he also teaches at a drum school. None of them called us a c*nt , a word that in Australia is used more than “the,” but we were taught how to slide it into a conversation for maximum effect.
Talking to a lad at the bar in a Black Irish Texas shirt- said he was bass in The Gobshites- Tom Hughes. Both soon realized we had met, we played an awesome event Phil Duckworth put together last year in Danbury CT, when I was with Alternative Ulster. The Mighty Ploughboys had hosted and headlined on their AOH home turf.
To be honest we missed the first band, The Disquiets, looking for a cocktail- some bourbon- and to walk off Gregg’s food. When we got back The Pint Killers were just getting ready to go. It was an insane set of all originals except for the closer, Skinhead by Darkbuster. Raise a Glass, Around the Hood, Friend, Devil & Me, Walk away, Who, Just a Man , Lights Out, and Skinhead. Mark Doherty, the lead singer of The Pint Killers is a complete human bull-dawg of solid muscle who leaps completely into the air over and over during songs. It’s awesome to watch. A puppet-man on an invisible string. During a spoken word intro to Walk Away, a song he wrote for a girl he was breaking up with at the time but is now reunited with, he said ‘it may get him solo again for singing it,’ – a funny moment. Sober for two years, that’s freaking fantastic! The rest of The Pint Killers are Bill Jolliemore (guitar), Dean Calamari (bass) and Johnny Fencer (drums). All sing backing vocals and Jolliemore is a monster on guitar. Enjoyed watching him play. My friend from home liked this band a lot, too.
Next came the Beantown Boozehounds, Chad (guitar /mandolin), Gallows (guitar, vocals), Rob B. Ridiculous (bass, vocals), and Rocky Magic (drums).
This set was an insane alcohol-fueled car-crash of mayhem and beer fountains spraying on fans and band alike. Chad was soaked to the bone. Dozens of double shots of some brown booze were brought to the stage and hastily thrown down by all like thirsty pirates. I’d guess it was Jaeger, but what the hell, rum and black currant? Darker than whiskey seemed to be to me. Haha. Rob B., the bass player, had some ridiculous band shirt with the Hamburgler on it called Mac Sabbath– a Ronald McDonald themed Black Sabbath tribute band he explained to me later. Ok things were getting weird. Their cover of the Ramones’ Bonzo Goes to Bitburg was simply brilliant and has been playing in my head for four days now. Great beer laden Boston set- a classic. How does ChadBeantown imitate a beer-spewing fire hydrant so well? Years of practice. Seems like it’s a Boston tradition to wear a baseball cap while you play. Now I know it’s to keep the beer spray out of your eyes.
Near midnight and Justin Keenan from The Go Set had arrived by some miracle and Shorty was tuning up his bass. A “calling-on song” ? The band was busy getting beers so Justin jumped up and started sing his Aussie stones off to a Robert Burns’ poem MacPherspon’s Rant. The rest of the band started to hurry their arses to get on stage and go. It was just stunning. His crazy 30- hour on a plane voice and manic- OJ Simpson- running-over-the –turnstiles– look had the crowd spellbound. Then they came in together with Drums of Chelsea and O’Briens went mad. Raise a Glass was next and the shots of brown Jaeger kept coming. Four songs mixed into the set from their first 2004 album was a killer treat- MacPherson’s, Old Dark Brown, 1788, and 5 AM. The rest of the sixteen song set were spread out from brand new to mid, about two songs from each record. The girls love it when the Go Set gets intimate and Justin and the drummer go acoustic and step into the crowd and do an acoustic number, 5 AM. Except there were no girls there, not one that I remember- a f*ck-ton of fun. Haha. Brought it right back up with four more Aussie pub-rockers capped off by Davey closing the show- you thought. Everyone was on stage for the encore closer- AC/DC’s It’s a Long Way to the Top, that had the Beantown Boozehounds and The Pint Killers all up there singing, drinking shots, and beer-spraying along. If there is an Irish Punk Valhalla, it looks like this.
Oh, and hat’s off to the doorman who had gauges as big as a 40 oz. He said it took him 12 years to stretch it out. Dedication.
One Fine Day is depending on your knowledge of The Go Set either a well timed best of / live collection or a “Hello America” release. The album is out to support the band’s upcoming short US tour (both a physical and digital release). Long time Shite’n’Onions readers will be well familiar with The Go Set. If you don’t know ’em, they are a long running Aussie folk-punk outfit – part Pogues, part Clash, part Weddings, Parties, Anything and just a wee bit AC/DC (Long Way To The Top), Easily one of the best band on the whole scene with a string of first class albums under their belts and up their kilts. One Fine Day is a great introduction to the band and if you get a chance catch ‘em live.
There is a demented genius to the The Templars of Doom. Raising from the ashes of Alternative Ulster, the Ulster county, New York, four piece play unapologetic raw PUNK rock overlaid with highland pipes. There is nothing subtle on Bring Me the Head of John the Baptist, it’s the musical equivalent of been hit with a caber. Check out the The Oliver Cromwell Twist if you don’t believe me. Not for everyone but I like it a lot.
Tracks on compilation albums are like friends. You can find good friends like Sir Reg, Greenland Whalefishers and The Go Set. There are friends you have lost touch with and need to reconnect with – The Porters, The Killigans and Kilkenny Knights. Friends that you need to get to know better – Mickey Rickshaw and Hoist the Colors and of course friends that you haven’t met until now. Raise Your Pints – Vol.2 is a very good compilation and if you want to know what is going on in the European scene the MacSlon is the man.
1 The Rogues from County Hell – MacSlon’s
2 The Cloves and the Tobacco – Too Much Trouble
3 Kilkenny Knights – Mick Watson
4 Irish Stew Of Sindidun – One Way Ticket
5 The Killigans – From The Underground
6 The Mullins – 9 To 5
7 The Go Set – Holdfast
8 The O’Reillys & The Paddyhats – Sign Of The Fighter
9 Billy Treacy – Temple Bar
10 Sir Reg – All Saints’ Day
11 Hoist The Colours – Mourners
12 Mickey Rickshaw – Nonprofit Warfare
13 Uncle Bard & The Dirty Bastards – I Only Got One Pint
14 Paddy and the Rats – Lonely Hearts’ Boulevard
15 BalticSeaChild – Fool In The Rain
16 Drink Hunters – Celtic Punks
17 Airs & Graces – 4 Corners
18 The Moorings – Drink Up Fast
19 The Porters – Son Of This Town
20 The Clan – Horns Up And Fight
21 Greenland Whalefishers – The Letter