Now I’ve heard/have The Mahones: Black Irish and its their best to date. I haven’t heard the new Dropkicks but it is being streamed on http://www.spinner.com/new-releases#/3 right now for those who can’t wait till tomorrow.
So, I’ve had a copy of The Black Irish a couple of weeks now, played it a shite load of times and loved every moment of it (except the cover of the Wild Rover ‘cos I’m just sick of that song in general). Today’s plan was to put pen to paper and finally review it. So, on the way to my 7 year olds hockey practice (no this is not a car commercial), I slip the disk into the car CD player and cranked it (forgetting of course that on the 1st song, A Great Night on the Lash, Finny swears twice in the intro and my seven year old is in the back.) By track 3, a voice comes from the rear, “Daddy, is this the group that sings Shipping up to Boston?”. “No that’s the Dropkick Murphys, it a different group”. “Oh, it sounds kind of like Dropkick Murphy, but louder. Who is the group?”. “The Mahones, Finny the singer is a friend of mine”. ”Well, you tell Finny he has a nice singing voice”.
There ain’t much more I can add to that except on top of the rockers there are a couple of beautiful slow(ish) ones – Girl With The Galway Eyes and Whiskey Under The bridge – that really showcase Finny’s song writing talent and Black Irish is a very fine release, maybe even…..scratch that….this is The Mahones finest.
You’ll probably be aware that The Mahones are putting out a tribute to themselves CD soon with some really great bands involved – a full preview is up on www.myspace.com/mahonestributealbum . I was honored to be asked to write the sleeve notes by head Mahone, Finny, so in my best Lester Bangs, I give you The Mahones…….
I first came across The Mahones sometime during late summer 1995 – I had gone to the 1st (and only) Cambridge, Celtic festival run by the then and now excellent The Druid pub. I was interested in checking out The Mahones as I heard they were a bit like The Pogues – well were they that and more! The guy with the porkpie hat and the mass of blond hair underneath let out a banshee wail that shook me to my foundations and the band, a musical equivalent of a faction fight knocked me for 10. Yeah they were like The Pogues but instead of just having a punk attitude The Mahones were punk – Celtic Punk.
I caught The Mahones a 2nd time that night at a party in the old Cambridge House of Blues for Dan Aykroyd’s Celtic Pride movie (awful movie, great title track from The Mahones) that me and me mates somehow crashed (Trev, Paddy where are you?). After the gig, The Mahones thanked me and the lads for jumping around and generally acting the goat during the set unlike the rest of the Hollywood type posers who made up the audience. Finny (the guy with the hat, the hair and the wail) then handed me a piece of paper – “it’s our web site check it out when you get a chance”, he said – me, I was highly impressed with this printout and said I would. Of course, I don’t think I had ever been on the internet at that point in time (it was ’95 kids, The Dropkick Murphys were still working on construction sites and saving pennies for their 1st 7″ a year later, and Dave King was still doing the hair metal super group thingy).
I lost touch with The Mahones after that as they went through issues with their major record label and the tragic death of bass player Joe Chithalen.
In 2001, now internet savvy and having just started Shite’n’Onions, I tracked down The Mahones and bravely sent a email to their new indie label looking for a copy of their new release – Here Comes Lucky – to review. Two weeks later very pleased with myself that the label had actually sent me the CD, I popped it in the CD player and wow, Finny was still screaming like a banshee and The Mahones were even better and louder then I remembered.
By the early to mid 2000’s Celtic Punk had become a whole genre, a genre that The Mahones founded.
Unfortunately for The Mahones, while Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys were able to build huge followings through hard touring, The Mahones were forced to look on as visa problem keep them out of the US for 5 years. Now, with visa problems out of the way, and with another great album under their belt – Take No Prisoners – and another – The Black Irish – on its way, combined with almost constant touring, The Mahones are poised to claim their place on the top of the Celtic Punk pile. All hail The Mahones!
22 Jan 2010 – SALA HEINEKEN Madrid, Spain
23 Jan 2010 – SALLA RAZZMATAZZ 2 Barcelona, Spain
25 Jan 2010 – ALCATRAZ Milan, Italy
27 Jan 2010 – ZENITH Munich, Germany
28 Jan 2010 – OLYMPIA Paris, France
29 Jan 2010 – LOTTO ARENA Antwerp, Belgium
30 Jan 2010 – STADTHALLE Offenbach, Germany
31 Jan 2010 – HEINEKEN MUSIC HALL Amsterdam, Holland
02 Feb 2010 – ARENA Berlin, Germany
03 Feb 2010 – SPORTHALLE Hamburg, Germany
04 Feb 2010 – PHILLIPSHALLE Dusseldorf, Germany
All 8 Mahones CD’s are now available on iTUNES worldwide. You can get them by going to www.itunes.com and searching The Mahones. You will be able to find:
Draggin’ The Days (1994)
Rise Again (1996)
The Hellfire Club Sessions (1999)
Here Comes Lucky (2001)
Paint The Town Red – The Best Of…. (2003)
Live At The Horseshoe (2003)
Take No Prisoners (2006)
The Irish Punk Collection (2008)
and coming this summer..............................
The Black Irish Album (2009)
1. A Great Night On The Lash
2. Ghost Of A Whiskey Devil
3. The Blood Is On Your Hands
4. Girl With Galway Eyes
5. Whiskey Under The Bridge
6. Give It All You Got (or forget about it)
7. Seven Drunken Nights
8. The Stars Always Look Better From The Gutter
9. Hammer In A Bag
10.Here Comes A Regular
11. The Pains of Yesterday
12.The Black Irish Opera
. Black 47
. Across The Atlantic
. A Bad Moon Rising
. The Gates Of Hell