Hail, hail the might Whalefishers. Twenty one years on the go and Arvid Grov and his band of merry Vikings are still pouring out the finest Celtic-punk this side of the Pogues from the darkest Thirsty Cave that Bergen has to offer. One thing that has always struck me about the Greenland Whalefishers is their incredible sense of Celtic melody, a Celtic orchestration in the vein of Sean O’Riada, that blends in so well with their Ramones influenced punk. If your new to the Celtic punk then I urge you to check out Thirsty Cave and if you’ve been knocking around awhile you know what to do.
Running a little late with the list but whatever, great music doesn’t go stale. So without further adieu.
The top five:
#1 The Mahones: The Hunger & The Fight (Part 1)
Twenty five years on and more tour miles driven then the rest of the entire Celtic-punk scene combined, The Mahones on The Hunger & The Fight still have the enthusiasm of a band in the studio for the first time (but thankfully the 25 years and many albums under their belt studio experience).
I’ll go out on a limb and say McCarthy has the finest voice in Celtic-punk (and that includes Dave King), maybe Van the Moan threw in a few vocal lessons to boot. Of course a good voice won’t do it alone, the band are tight as f#*k, loud and fast and the songs first class and while still fast and trashy
#5 (joint) Black 47: Rise Up – The Political Songs
Black 47 hung up their green suede shoes in November, 2014 after 25 years of hard jigging and gigging. Two albums were released in 2014; Last Call, their final original album, full of fresh and originals ideas and, Rise Up – The Political Songs, a collection of, well, political songs as a reminder of how good this band was.
The is something very special about Greenland Whalefishers for me, it’s not just the great music, the great songs and the unbridled enthusiasm that is just as infectious in 2014 as it was in 2004 and 1994 but it that GWFs are the band that made me realize that this whole Celtic-punk thing was a real musical scene and not the product of our American and UK cousins getting musical revenge on their Irish parents for inflicting upon them The Dubliner and The Clancy Brothers in their formative years.
Here is a band from Bergen, Norway with a love of Thin Lizzy, The Waterboys and of course The Pogues (where main-man Arvid’s vocals sound more like the great man’s then the great man has sounded in years). GWF play great Celtic-folk-punk purely for the love of the music. I’m not sure how I first came to hear of GWF but I do remember downloading some tracks that were hosted on a free mp3 punksite and being so impressed that I wrote to them and duly received a copy of their debut Mainstreet Sword to impress me further. Lobville the next album was my album of the year in 2002(2) and still is one of my favorite Celtic-punk albums ever!
20 Year A Waiting is a DVD documentary of the band which combines the history of the band through interviews with various members, fan’s and friends of the band telling the story of how a Celtic-punk band from Norway went from playing small Irish bars in Bergen to becoming festival favorites in Eastern Europe and touring Japan and America. The DVD while a DIY effort (produced by bass player Atle-Hjørn) still has a high almost professional quality. The interviews are in-depth and there is a ton of great archive footage including lots of doggy material from pre GWF bands and a great shot of drummer Ørjan in his Black Metal days and of course the great music that flows through constantly. For the fan like me this is a wonderful viewing experience though as an introduction I’d say start with Loboville and Songs from the Bunker and Down & Out then do the DVD.
One of Celtic-punks best and longest running bands – GREENLAND WHALEFISHERS celebrates 20 years together as a band in 2014 and in honor of that fact they are producing a documentary DVD of the bands story “20 YEARS OF WAITING – maybe the first Celtic-punk documentary. The DVD is slated to be released in St. Patrick’s day (of course). We will have a copy here soon and will post a review pronto. Personally, I very excited to see this as I’ve been thinking a good Celtic-punk bio/documentary is long over due (then again I’ve always been a sucker for VH1s Behind The Music).
More details on the bands web page though in the mean time check out the sampler.
Norway’s Greenland Whalefishers are one of Celtic-punks longest running and consistently great bands and while they are very much routed in the sounds of The Pogues (right down to Arvid’s out MacGowning MacGowan’s vocals) though with a nod to both ’77 and current punk influences.
Live At Farmer Phil’s Festival is a no frills, in the raw recording of the GWFs set at the quirky Farmer Phil’s Festival in the UK and it really capture the power of the GWFs live set that has bashed heads from Poland to California and Japan and is now bashing heads on vinyl. The vinyl package is classy, high quality, blue wax including tons of photos on the inner sleeve – buy it before its gone, it will be a collectors item shortly.
1. 4 Season Song
2. Hit the Ground
4. I Just Saw You
5. I Am Roving
6. July Morning
7. Rich Holder At Thorp Arch
8. Backup Man
9. Limp Jos Story
11. The Wild Rover
The might Greenland Whalefishers have a new live album out on glorious blue vinyl (and as an iTunes download for you lesser cool kids) – “Live At Farmer Phil’s Festival” – recorded in 2010 at England’s quirky Farmer Phil’s Festival.