The Rag & Bonemen/The Wages Of Sin/Rum Rebellion
Portland, Oregon - May 18th 2007

I did something I rarely do nowadays… I went out on a Friday night. You see, work wise, Fridays kicks my ass so bad, I usually go straight home like an old man, but not this time. There was no way I was going to miss this gig, so with that being said, on with the review... Considering the nautical element of the bands involved, the neighborhood for tonight’s gig was fitting. The Mt. Tabor Legacy, is located smack dab in the middle of Portland’s Bermuda triangle. (There’s so many bars in this area, the odds of ever leaving are not in your favor!) Rag & Bonemen start the show off with those haunted folk-punk tunes they do so well at. Rag & Bonemen played some new songs, and some classic ones from their recent EP. (BTW, When’s that full album due?) It’s a shame their set was so short, because I was just warming up, the damn house lights came on, which of course was followed by a mad dash to the bar, and next thing you know, The Wages Of Sin are setting up, and like Rag & Bonemen before them, I was seriously impressed. Their stage presence was full of energy, their delivery was amazing, and quite honestly, The Wages Of Sin flat out kick ass. I can’t wait for their new album. If you’re in the Pacific Northwest, try and catch them live. Up next, was Rum Rebellion, I think I have seen them over a dozen times, and I can honestly tell you, they keep getting better, and better! They already have a number of new songs, and are probably spending every waking moment writing new material. By the end of the night we were a drunken mess, and things got a wee bit hazy. I must admit, I feel quite lucky to be living in an area full of great folk punk bands.

This is a good thing to be surrounded by.

Review by Barnacle Brian

BibleCodeSundays/The PubCrawlers/ TheGobshites
Bulfinch Yacht Club – Boston - April 6th 2007

Don’t be fooled by the name - The Bulfinch Yacht Club is a pretty cool rock club. A good size room, decent stage (though built for regular 4 piece bands not 8 piece celtic punk bands so all the bands were a little cramped playing) and nice sound system. The people who run the place were pretty cool as well. Some of you might remember the place when it was The Irish Embassy back in the 90’s were Black 47 would play on a regular basis

First up on stage were old friends The PubCrawlers, who despite being one member short (the mandolin player – though I almost think there wouldn’t have been room on stage anyway) played a real solid set. The band has had a few line up changes since last time I saw them including adding new vocalist Ron. Ron has added a much stronger Street Punk/Oi feel to the band which I think is the right direction for them.

BibleCodeSundays were next and by the time they came on the club was pretty full – not bad for Good Friday – the band lined up straight across the stage with drummer Carlton kicking up a huge storm from behind and with big smiles on their faces, great songs (both from the debut CD and from the forth coming release) and musically a tight as the proverbial ducks ass BCS kicked the shit outta the audience. The crowd swelled forward and they made a hell of a lot of new friends in Boston

Much thanks to Pete from the Gobshites for being part of the night. Peter played a solo show across town earlier so it was really cool of him and The Gobshites to play. The Gobshites were their usual fun selves and treated every one to a great time - I’d have a fuller review but by the time The Gobshites came on I was totally shit faced but that’s the point of going to a Gobshits gig anyway, isn’t it?.

Review by Mustard Finnegan

The Mickey Finns
Half Door - Hartford, CT – February 2007

The Sort of Mickey Finns

It was certainly friggin cold out this night we ventured out down to the Half Door for this first time checking out this band “The Mickey Finns”. I guess it was to be expected, it was February, but the month before during an Enter the Haggis show it was so warm out we ate outside! So when I had to park on the street so far away we couldn’t see the door, my passengers moaned and groaned, I told ‘em all to shaddup and quit whining!

The Mickey Finns are the latest in the New York Irish rock, compiled of the same twenty or so roaming musicians that rotate in and out of different bands. The best way to describe the scene there is if you know someone you are welcomed wholeheartedly into this wildly energetic and extremely talented group of bands and solo musicians. However if you do not know someone to introduce you to this musical madness, you’ll pass right over this group without ever knowing it, literally if you take the 7 train into Sunnyside/Woodside area of Queens. Some of these bands have made it out and become quite popular like Black 47 and The Prodigals. Others you should know, but probably haven’t even had a clue about are bands like Trigger, The Temp and the band of focus in this article, The Mickey Finns.

With a style uniquely New York Irish, The Mickey Finns don’t even try to punk rock a trad song, or Pogues out and original song. The sound is stripped down; the drummer plays two congas a high hat and a kick drum. The singer plays the acoustic guitar and there is the fiddle player. Oh the fiddle player, there is always one star to a group and in this case it is the other worldly playing of Matt Mancuso. Matt and I used to drink together years ago when I lived in Queens. I would go and watch him and his band Raglan Road play every Sunday night at Taylor’s Hall, then we’d all trek down to The Wall (now McGuire’s) which was a few blocks away on Roosevelt in Woodside, under the 7 train. It was a two or three day a week scavenger hunt to find what group of musicians were playing under what name and at what bar. I’ll tell you though that when any of these bands got rocking and the crowd was right you could easily spend all night there, not emerging from the pub door till the sun came up.

Back to the boys in the band, however cold it was and whoever replaced Matt the whole style of the band was definitely built for the Irish pub of tomorrow. The musicians do honors to the music and make it there own by not changing it to some gimmick, but by playing the hell out of what was handed down to them for generations. And improvised jigs and reels got all the drunken forty something’s up and dancing, however I missed Matt’s hornpipes he did with Raglan Road. All and all these guys despite their CD not being ready yet, were able to rock out as if this were the way the band always sounded, and I made the suggestion that the stand in for Matt, a great banjo player should become a permanent member, come on how about it?

Review by The Rover

Paddy's Day Report - K.M.R.I.A.
Portland, Oregon - March 17th, 2007

Beware The Ides Of March...Beware The Ides Of March... Crazy shit happens in the middle of March, and this years festivities were no different. Started out the holiday with a Smithwick's or two down at a local Irish Pub. I thought they'd have some trad music in the morning. I was wrong. Instead it was much better... As I walk into the pub, I see Casey Neill and Zak Borden outside. Turns out they're about to play a set. Heard a few tunes from Casey's upcoming album "Brooklyn Bridge", and let me tell you folks, there's some good stuff right there! After about an hour or so, it's off to a pre-party or two.

Eventually it's time for the gig and we head down to the Wonder Ballroom for K.M.R.I.A. (Kiss My Royal Irish Ass) KMRIA play Pogues music. Nothing but. They are a celebration of the virtuosity, songcraft, and spirit of the Pogues. The band features an all star cast of Pacific Northwest rock - Chris Funk and Jenny Conlee of The DECEMBERISTS, Ezra Holbrook of DR THEOPOLIS, Scott McCaughey of THE MINUS 5, YOUNG FRESH FELLOWS & REM sideman, Hanz Araki of THE WHYOS & PAPERBOYS, Jesse Emerson of AMELIA, singer CASEY NEILL, and DEREK BROWN of The EELS, and FERNANDO. The show features as much grit, bluster, and drunken glory as can be mustered without sacrificing the intricacies of the material. The name KMRIA is an acronym for "Kiss my Royal Irish Ass" excerpted from James Joyce's Ulysses and used in the Pogues song "Transmetropolitan". K.M.R.I.A. only play shows around X-MAS and ST PATS. Let me tell you, I have heard a million Pogues covers, and these guys (& Boys From The County Hell) are as close to the real thing as you can get... I swear the only difference is that K.M.R.I.A. have more teeth! During the opening band someone tells me Shane MacGowan fucked up his knee a couple of nights before, and The Pogues had to cancel their Paddy's Day shows, which somehow translates in my drunken head as the best live Pogues music in the world is currently playing in Portland, Oregon!

Everyone in the building were singing (slurring) word for word, most were dancing,(stumbling) and a few were simply making out.(groping) As the night wore on, they played all the Pogues classics, and that's about all I can tell you! Show me a person who didn't have a good time that night and I will show you someone who either didn't have a clue, or didn't have a pulse. I will also say this.. If anyone needs to record a live album, it's KMRIA! It was a great night that ended with Chris Funk (Also in The Decemberists) throwing his mandolin into the crowd, and hitting me square on the head... I ended up keeping the Mandolin only to have Max (f/ Rag & Bonemen, & The Dolomites) headbutting the back so hard the base fell off! Classic!

Click here to see what's left of the mandolin.

Review by Barnacle Brian

http://www.myspace.com/kmriaband/

ENTER THE HAGGIS
The Half Door - Hartford, CT - January '07

The Half Door in Hartford has had some of the coolest bands on the east coast come to it, some well known some now long gone but not forgotten. This night in January hosted a band now just about to make it huge, a band years in the making snuggled up in the great white north of Toronto, now here in the insurance Capital of the country was Enter the Haggis. An unusually warm January night I must admit, but it worked to my parties advantage as we were pushed outside by the huge crowd that began to fill in the bar.

Luck was on our side though because they waitress said she would serve us out there and that is where we ended up holding court for most of the night, and where I got a chance to have a sit down with Brian the somewhat ringleader of the band. This is an act that looked like a couple of years ago Brian was going to end up being the front man of this rising group, he did most of the singing, he was the flashiest being the dyed spiky hair fiddle player that jumped all over the stage, and boy did the girls love him. When I asked Craig if there were any deep dark secrets about the band he told me that Brian wears a thong, which when I asked Brian’s girlfriend, who you will meet at the merchandise table at almost every show they do, she said that was completely untrue, which leads me to believe I found out why he’s most famous with the little ladies, he wears no underwear!

Sorry I got completely sidetracked off my point talking about underwear, where was I? Oh yes the changing of the guard in front man status. This was due to an unfortunate at the time vocal strain on Brian’s part. It forced the other guys to step, write some songs and sing a lot more tunes. This actually in my opinion was the best thing to happen to the band before getting signed to UFO records. The pain and suffering of their lead vocalist forced them to a more diverse and cohesive act. Spreading the front around to Trevor, and sometimes Craig, leaving Brian to rest and get his health back was where a lot of the new and more mainstream band. This coincided with there conscious decision to stop wearing the kilts. Of course Craig still does on occasion, and I’m really glad James doesn’t sitting as he has to behind the drums, but as Brian put it, they felt it was becoming their gimmick, something they desperately wanted to get away from, and who can blame them, I wouldn’t want people to come see the funny band that wears kilts if it were me.

I’ve known these guys since the fall of 2003, where I first approached them in the Half Door during a show there, which at that time had all of 30 people there. Now just a few years later the same bar was stuffed elbow to elbow with young and old trying to get a god ear to the music. The numbers are clear their new effort put out by their new Indie label is getting them lots of new fans. With a ranking in Billboard world as #8 and iTunes World as#2 with Soap Box Heroes they are making their mark in this genre. I guess they are like the pot of Irish rock because they are a great gateway drug to the rest of the genre. There are great no holds barred Irish rock groups like Flogging Molly, The Tossers and Dropkick Murphy’s, but for someone that has never been introduced to the genre before, the previous will be more than most can take. But give a newbie a Enter the Haggis CD and they’ll get into it for sure, give ‘em a month of the stuff and they’ll be listening to Shite N’ Onions radio and buying everything they hear.

Apparently when I started the interview and writing I had a great big plan in my head, I went around interviewed Brian, got words from the rest of the boys and even interviewed Brian’s girlfriend about music and the band at length, but I have so far done nothing but paraphrase and used very little of what information I have gathered. However I believe these guys will agree that they are a band to experience, not dissect and over analyze. These guys put on one of hell of a live show, whether it be on a giant outdoor stage or on a 4x8 piece of plywood as it was this night. With equipment taking up most the stage, gear blocking the hallway to the men’s room, and way more people than there ever should be in the room we were in they didn’t make it seem so bad. The feeling they gave us as an audience right away was that it was alright, we were going to rock despite the up hill battle we’re facing.

So what’s new with the boys, new live CD gets recorded this march in Northampton, MA. So this will be your chance to get on a Enter the Haggis CD, you just gotta get your tickets, they sell out quite fast when they come to the Ironhorse, and I’ll see you there! .

Review by The Rover

http://www.enterthehaggis.com/

THE TOWN PANTS & THE MCGILLICUDDYS Shite'n'Onions CD release party
The Limerick Junction - Vancouver BC - September 30, '06

Vancouver isn't that far away from Boston I guess.
The whole night could have been schizophrenic, maybe the club wanted to cover their bases--the poster was billing the show not only as a Halfway to St. Patrick's Day event but also the west coast CD release for the Shite'n'Onions "What the Shite" Vol. 2 CD compilation of Celtic rock bands of which British Columbia gets two entries with Vancouver's The Town Pants and Victoria's The McGillicuddy's.

And on the same weekend that the Dropkick Murphys, Bad Religion, Rancid and Billy Bragg were all in town doing concerts all over the city, it didn't lessen the turnout for an audience of at least 300 people that packed into the relatively small confines of the recently opened Limerick Junction, which was previously the Gastown punk-rock bastion The Brickyard. The night started up with The MCGILLICUDDY'S. Despite that the band doesn't come over to Vancouver from the Island that often, they certainly had a few vocal fans out to see them including a pretty loud mowhawked guy in an Exploited t-shirt. McGillicuddy's singer Mike Walker has learned a trick or nine from Mike Ness' vocal style and the band (with requisite cute girl bassist) raced through a pretty solid set with songs from their "Kilt By Death" CD which includes "On the Rocks" featured on the Shite'n'Onions comp. They played a couple of covers including "If I Should Fall From Grace with God" and "The Leaving of Liverpool" and halfway through the set drummer Brent Restal drum pedal broke which forced Walker to tell a long joke to buy time to fix the drums, and they lost a bit of momentum but got it back quickly enough. Later on, Walker bashed Arsenal football club and made some soccer references I didn't get. Maybe the British folks in the audience got it? The McGillicuddys tried to stir up some good natured trouble with some banter of Vancouver/Victoria rivalry, but I think the McGillicuddy's made some new fans here in Vancouver and any band that has their amps speaker fabric replaced with tartan deserves points.

After a pretty quick changeover it was The Town Pants turn. This being their first local show in months after a long tour back east, the hometown crowd was certainly there to see them and the dance floor was filled and pretty lively from the beginning.
While the McGillicuddys play Celt music with a more punk style, The Town Pants play Celtic rock with a roots edge. More a rock band employing a folk style than the other way round, they have their own distinctive sound, a sort of folk n' roll.
Their first show back in some time, they played like there was no tomorrow and though the sound system's heavy bass emphasis of the sound was at times unkind to the banjo and tin whistle, but the band was obviously more interested in getting the audience moving than displaying so much instrumental subtlety. The group started with "The Weight of Words" which is the track included on the Shite'n'Onions compilation, a song that with Ryan Robbins sitting in on dijeridoo gives it an Australian spaghetti western type rhythm to it.

The Town Pants stormed through favorites like "Monahan the Mutineer" and even a cover of Steve Earle's "Galway Girl", joined by a new bass player and a drummer who played like hell but looked oddly out of place with a ball cap on. The heavy bass PA sound was unkind to the banjo and tin whistle but it didn't deter the Keogh Brothers from singing and strumming like possessed Everly Brothers on speed, and Aaron Chapman delivering some pretty funny stage banter between songs and his tinny-tootlings on the whistle. The group brought out some special guests to play with them, again with a very animated Ryan Robbins from Hellenkeller who danced around between dijeridoo bursts like a drunken witchdoctor and later a surprising appearance by Battlestar Galactica actor Aaron Douglas, who apparently is a Town Pants fan. Douglas stepped out on stage for to sing along for a song. I half expected to see the X-Files smoking man or that MacGyver guy from Stargate be the next special guest--that's "Hollywood North" for you. Either way all present were clearly having a good time. Maybe it was the shocking amount of drinks some audience members were buying the band and bringing up to the front of the stage? Though I wondered how many the band really got to drink. I saw a lot of the dancing audience members bumping into drinks trays and accidentally knocking them over as they were being carried to the stage. Whoever mopped the floor at the end of the night must of had to stay late.

The whole audience was a pretty generous mix of college crowd, punkers, rockabilly types, and even some older folks...Towards the end of the night I saw a bunch of guys that looked like Rugby players in Dropkick Murphys shirts showing up to the bar and hang around at the front. I guess the show had sort of become the unofficial after party for the Dropkicks show, and they we're singing along to the Town Pants songs no less hoarse from the show they'd just been to.

I had to split to get up early for work in the morning and the last thing I saw as I headed out the door was seeing that Mowhawked Exploited fan I'd seen earlier in the night making out with a cute girl wearing a Town Pants shirt. And the sight made for a perfect summation of the good vibes going on amongst both the Town Pants and McGillicuddy's fans and everybody there in for a pretty great night of Celtic rock and roll.

Review by Ray Stonehouse

www.thetownpants.com
www.mcgillicuddys.ca

There’s Clare! - Black 47, Jackdaw, The Gobshites, IceWagon Flu
Rockin The Catskills - September '06

I looked down just about every bottle of beer that was put in my hand, all the way to the bottom and did not find her anywhere. For three days we looked and she just wasn’t at the bottom of any of my glasses, where could she be?

I did find the Gobshite himself Pete Depressed wandering around all weekend looking to, he couldn’t find her either. We sat and talked it over, he convinced me to start my own band and actually be in it instead of just managing it. I told him I can’t remember lyrics to save my life, he said he was the same way when he got his start, yeah but has no one heard of you can’t teach a old dog new tricks and I’m the oldest dirtiest mangiest mutt out there. So after convincing me I decided that I couldn’t be distracted anymore and move on to the other side of the bar thinking I saw Clare over there. Well when I got to that side of the bar she wasn’t there but my old bag squeezing friend Joe from Black 47 was there hanging out with P2. Himself and I looked down a few bottles for her while we regaled days of old. We still couldn’t find her for the life of us.

Well finally Icewagon Flu got off the stage, and I was sure they would know, but at last after grabbing more bottles and searching down the one they was sure she would be, she once again eluded us. My brother was sure the shooter girls would know and pursued them for the truth rather vigorously, they didn’t know and he paid for his interrogation in the morning for sure, with memory loss, extreme loss of motivate to continue the hunt early, and strange unexplained headaches.

As The Gobshites played I was too distracted to look, as I felt compelled to sing along to there haunting love ballads and sweet classical music. Still riding on the high of such a great energy filled live set from Icewagon Flu, the Shites were able to step it up even one more notch. I’ve always said it’s not really how good the band plays there instruments, but how well they play the crowd, and this weekend showed why these particular bands are the top of the music scene for sure. But I digress, this is a hunt for Clare and I can’t be distracted!

I return to the bar with the indifferent and not to helpful bartenders opened a couple bottles that I might be where I’d find her, but no luck, I’ll just have to keep looking, but wait who’s on now? That old blond haired leprechaun in green shoes just jumped up wailing on his guitar, this could be interesting. All this determined searching for Clare also pulls me towards distraction after continuously being disappointed of not finding her. So I decide to get around me a good group of folks and chat up the dealings of the weekend and listen to that ever popular Black 47 organized noise. Joe was up there squeezing has bag in front of everyone in between swigs from a mystery bottle.

As they start pouring them off stage, I thought the night was just about over as my search and rescue funds were running really low, my brother and I were feeling a little odd as if there was some sort of narcotic like alcohol injected into our veins. It seemed that we were never going to find this mystery woman Clare. We began at that time to say our goodbyes.

Then as if the lighthouse shining through the fog giving us bearings, there she is right up on the stage the Gobshites were just on two hours ago! She was with the Jackdaw guys all night; boy was it worth the wait. They were a great bunch of lads and they even played a song about her that is still stuck in my head. I stayed and said the hell with the search and rescue funds, and drained them rabidly ready to stumble back to the tent, I’m sure we’ll find her again in the morning.

Review by Therover413

Dropkick Murphys:
The Showbox, Seattle WA - October 2005

Just got back from a really great DKM show here in Jet City! DKM rocked The Showbox with a nice, tight, energetic, fast-paced show that left little time if any time for the good sized crowd to catch it breath moving from song to song briskly but orderly. (If orderly can be used in this context.)

Starting off with "You're Spirit's Alive", they moved through some of their new stuff, naturally, like "Sunshine Highway", "Walking Dead", "Citizen CIA", "The Burden","Captain Kelly's Kitchen", "warrior's Code" their older stuff, "Worker's Song", "Which Side Are You On?", "Skinhead On the MTBA", the "Spicy McHaggis Jig" with the ladies in the crowd on stage of course and ended with a cool cover of "Halloween" (yes, the one by the Misfits!) I'm sure I might have left one or two out but my ears are still ringin'. They never do "Good Rats" though...

During the set they also did a rather subdued version of "Fields Of Athenry" in honor of fallen USMC Sergeant Andrew Farrar who said in a letter to his family that he wanted the Murphy's version of the same to played at his funeral if he didn't make it back from Iraq. Sadly, he did not. The band has done a special limited edition of this and has made some copies available for sale with all proceeds going to the Farrar family.

On a side note, Ken Casey did a really cool thing during the show. There was a mohawked young kid at the front of the crowd with his father who was apparently having a bit of a problem with the crowd so Ken had one of the roadies get him out of there and on the side of the stage for a breather. Marc Orrell gave him a neat up close show as well.

Good on ya lads!

The opening acts, Lost City Angels and Gang Green were pretty good too. (Darkbuster was supposedly on the bill as well but I didn't see 'em.) LCA did a nice set but the highlight was Marc Orrell from DKM doing vocals on Gang Green's cover of "Sin City" by AC/DC. Speaking of Orrell, this guy is a dynamo on stage! He rarely takes a moment off and is gangbusters throughout.

Afterwards, there was a meet and greet along with a benefit for the Farrar family at a local pub. This was great fun as well with the band meeting everyone and auctioning off some signed goodies.

I was struck by how "everyday" these guys were. They were having a great time meeting and talking to everyone and didn't come off with any kind of negative vibe at all. This was a great ending to the night.

All in all it was well worth the time and money. If you have a chance to see them, do it, you won't be disappointed.

Definitely better than both their Moore Theater and Warped Tour gigs but those were venue related. The Moore HAD seats all the way to the stage, thus no pit, until there was some creative "redecorating" and the Gorge, as great as it is, is too big. Dropkick Murphys are best enjoyed in close and with full volume.

Thanks for the awesome show guys! See ya next time...

Review by The Blackstuff

Amadan:
Tonic Lounge, Portland, Oregon -4th March 2005
It's been a couple years since I've seen Amadan play a live gig. Maybe it's been less than that, but either way, they have come a long, long way from the old days. you see, Amadan usually plays at Kell's Irish Pub every other weekend or so, and the problem is that I got kicked out of Kell's some time ago for reasons that will remain anonymous. (At least to S'n'O readers.) So when I found out they were playing at the fantastic Tonic Lounge, the opportunity to see the band play again was in high demand.

Amadan took the stage around 10pm and instantly the room filled up with people inching closer and closer to the stage to help sing along. They only played for an hour or so, but considering I had to get up early the following morning, it may have been a blessing in disguise. I remember them playing songs from their fantastic album "Hellbent 4 Victory!" For those of you familiar with Amadan, some of the standouts were: Another Brass Rail, NEVR9TO5, Horseshoes & Handgernades, Rose City/The Morning Dew, and their rippling version of The Leaving Of Liverpool sounded so good, it could almost pass as an Amadan original.

After they left the stage, I decided to belly up to the bar down the hall on the opposite side of the building. You see, one part of the Tonic is for live music, and down the hall it's just a regular lounge. (With an ass kicking jukebox.) I didn't even realize that the headliners Blackout Radio were playing until after the show was over. I was too busy getting free drinks for my birthday a day early. (March 5th)

So even though I only saw half the damn show, I still had a good time. If you're ever in the Portland area, make sure you check out Amadan & Blackout Radio. If you see them at Kells Pub, don't expect to catch me there.

Review by Brian "The Bum" Gillespie

Flogging Molly/Street Dogs/The Briggs:
House of Blues, Orlando - 22nd September 2004
I've seen The Briggs before, when I saw them open for Street Dogs on their Maiden Voyage Tour last year, and they were decent. When I saw them last, I'd just seen Dropkick Murphys two days before, and I'd seen so much bad punk (the opening acts) over a three-day span I was getting sick of the genre.

Same here — not bad, but I was here to see the last two bands. The Briggs got a lot of support from the crowd — apparently a lot of people were there to see this on this particular night. The band (who I don't know as much about as I should) has a pirate theme (singer Joey LaRocca came out onstage in a captain's hat that I think Ted Knight wore in "Caddyshack"), but I couldn't tell if that made any difference in the music at all.

The last time I saw the Street Dogs was a year ago, and I had forgotten how good they were as a live band (though that show was in the now defunct Venom in St. Petersburg in front of about 20 people — sadly the night of Game 7 between the Red Sox and Yankees). The Briggs had asked the obligatory "Are you ready for Flogging Molly?" and also said, "And the Street Dogs are here!" The former got a big cheer, the latter barely anything (except for maybe me). So I wondered how many people there had heard of them. Not surprisingly, Mike McColgan makes the band a great live act, stalking the stage like a predator. He actually would give a nod to the fans who were singing the songs, pointing to them and thumping his chest in a show of appreciation.

The Boston band started with "Savin Hill" and moved right into "Jakes" and "Cut Down On the 12th" and a few of us were rocking out. You could tell who knew the band and who didn't, but I heard a lot of people behind me singing along with McColgan. Other highlights: McColgan actually came out into the crowd to sing the start of "Fighter", and had Flogging Molly's Matt Hensley guest on a new song, "Tale of Mass Deception." A great performance from one of the best live bands I've seen recently— I wish Street Dogs had more material, and am very much looking forward to their new "Back to the World" due in January 2005.

Ah yes, then Flogging Molly came out much to the delight of the crowd, which seemed like the majority had a two-page paper on the Louisiana Purchase due next week. They are also one of the The crush near the stage was impressive. I saw them at the Masquerade in Tampa back in March and I didn't remember it being this bad. It of course was claustrophobic, hot, humid and sweaty. (After the show, my fingers wrinkled like I was swimming — I forget, is this normal?)

But though I was glad to be out of the mass at the end, I was disappointed the show was not longer. The songs from the new CD that you would imagine are great live songs — "Screaming at the Wailing Wall", "Seven Deadly Sins", "The Light From a Fading Star", "Whistles The Wind" and "Tomorrow Comes A Day Too Soon" — didn't disappoint.

Of course, the new material means that some of the songs I enjoyed in the past may have faded from their live repetoire, most notably in my case, "The Worst Day Since Yesterday." In any event, they didn't play it this night.

How Dave King (and the rest of Flogging Molly, for that matter) does this night after night almost mystifies me. If I started high-stepping like he did during Dennis Casey's guitar solo on "Black Friday Rule", I'd be sore for days.

Lastly, I've seen Flogging Molly five times in the past two years, and every time, I've seen some of the the band interacting with the fans before or after the show. I cannot overstate how much I appreciate this. (To be fair, Street Dogs and The Briggs were also hanging around the merchandise counter after the show, so props to them too.)

Hopefully, we'll see Street Dogs and Flogging Molly hook up again for a show — it's a great combination.

As an aside, the show also had a film presentation from Jello Biafra's Punk Voter organization that got cheers from the Bush haters in the crowd, laughs for a Will Ferrell impression of Bush and elicited at least one shout of "Fuck politics!" So, um, vote. Or something.

Review by Rob Shore

The Real McKenzies:
Empire Hotel, Sydney Australia - 19TH March 2004
Its very rare that overseas acts ever live up to the expectations or the hype that surrounds them when they come to Australia. For some reason, it appears all too common for European and American bands to think that they can come down here and dominate the market, even with a mediocre live performance. Such has been my experience on many occasions.

Nevertheless, I had heard good things about tonight's show, and looked on in keen interest. I arrived at about 9.30pm as local act Bagster opened up the night. I've seen these guys many times, and each time they seem to get a little tighter, and their set more cohesive. I cant help but think that they sound very much like Reel Big Fish, which is not really my thing - nonetheless, they are relatively entertaining and tight, and combine power-pop and punk riffs with horns..

Soon after the beer began to flow more freely, and the crowd seemed to loosen up a little as The Go Set took to the stage. I had heard good things about these guys, but never managed to get out and catch them when they've been in town. The seem to be touring all the time, and after watching tonight's set, the road time is obvious. The Go Set combine some traditional Australian and celtic folk influences with Clash inspired punk, and they do it well. Songs about Australian history, war, and sailing the seas made these guys the perfect support for the McKenzies. They were tight, aggressive, self assured, and singer J.Keenan engaged the crowd for interaction continuously. Matthew McNasty and a couple of the other McKenzie lads climbed up on stage for a couple of songs, which was a highlight of the night. These guys are definately on their way to bigger things.

A short break, and The Real McKenzies hit the stage with an energy never before seen at the Empire. These guys blasted into their set with a series of songs from their new album Oot and Aboot. Highlights were Bone's amazing guitar work on 'Cross The Ocean', and of course 'The night the lights went out in Scotland'. The McKenzies had, by now, worked the crowd into a moshing frenzy, and included a number of older tracks such as "Bitch off the Money" and 'Nessie" from their Lochd and Loaded album. Each of the members of this band are amazing players, and Paul McKenzies is one of the most intense and engaging front men I have ever seen.

I recently read a review of 'Oot and Aboot' that rated it as an 'average' punk rock album. Obviously this reviewer has never seen this band live. Tonight was one of the best shows I've seen in years, and for $17 a ticket it doesnt EVER get any better than this. When Paul McKenzie sang "MacPhersons Farewell", the friendship and bond that had been developed between these bands and with the audience, through a booze soaked and sweaty pub room, was as thick as blood. A member of one of the band's had told me earlier in the night that seeing the Real McKenzies live was a life-changing experience - he was'nt far off the mark. Sooner or later, Australians will catch on to this, and when they do more people will experience what these select few experienced tonight.
Review by Matthew Burke Punk Australia Zine


Shane MacGowan and The Popes:
Wulfren Hall, Wolverhampton UK - 18th March 2004
Had been looking forward to this one for a while and was pleased to find out that it was in the Wulfren Hall and not it’s bigger and less intimate sibling that is the Civic Hall as I’d suspected. We arrived late on in the evening having stopped in a couple of local hostelries for a meal of Arthur Guinness’ liquid lunch rather than pay the exorbitant £2.80 a pint (that’s approx. $5). Because of this we missed the support NECK whom I’m not a huge fan of anyway. Unfortunately at all the other gigs on the tour except ours, support also came from THE FAMILY MAHONE, hosted by singer and drummer Mark Radcliffe; one of the UKs top Radio DJs. Check ‘em out if you like Pogues type drinking songs. Supremely good and funny as hell live.

So we missed the support and got pissed on cheap stout. Looked like a few people in the venue had done the same. Quite a few drunks and quite a few Glasgow Celtic t-shirts too. Average age was about 32 so at 35 I didn’t feel too old.

Well now… gigs in the UK seem to be starting earlier and earlier these days. Great for the kids… great for getting the last bus out of town. Not Mr. Tombstone Teeth himself though. He made us wait and I’d guess that there was a fair bit of teasing judging by the occasional band-just-walked-onstage cheers coming from the auditorium. We made the wise decision of hanging around in the bar until the first chords strike out at which point we find a comfortably empty corner.

First think I notice is how well Shane looks tonight. He appears to have lost some weight since I saw him last July. He’s not even drunk!!! In fact so sober is he that he stands throughout the set even though his chair is present. Last time I saw him at the Holidays in The Sun punk festival he remained seated throughout although he’d didn’t look like he’d be capable of staying in the chair so pissed was he.

The venue is all but sold out tonight so at a guess they’re playing to about 500 people. This hall has notoriously bad sound problems but these have the good grace to stay away tonight so all instruments and vocals sound crystal clear. Well, as clear as Shane is these days.

We get a heavy biased Pogues set tonight with only the Donegal Express and maybe three of four other tracks (none of which I recognise but guess that they are post The Snake Pope tracks.) An early showing of Dirty Old Town is dedicated to Kirsty and results in the usual arms aloft singalong. A fine moment as always.

There’s no way I can remember all the songs played since I was well on my way to being one over the gallon at the time. What I do remember is thinking how lacking in spirit it all sounded. Almost as if they were just going through the motions. I think this was in some part to do with the sound levels though it struck me towards the end just how much that tin whistle sound can raise a tune from good to great. Such a powerful instrument in the right hands. Don’t get me wrong… this wasn’t a bad gig. It just wasn’t a great gig. It had some great highlights, for me two of my favourite songs; “Sally Maclennan” and “Wild Cats of Kilchulan”. One thing I would have enjoyed would have been the spine tingling version of the “Auld Triangle” that he played at HITS. We also get “Pair of Brown Eyes”, “Broad Majestic Shannon”, “Turkish Song of The Damned”, a number of other Pogues greatest hits and the only really low point of the gig was a murdered version of another of my all time favourite songs. It was on the way back from a piss break that I heard a song “unknown” to me. It was only in the fade out chorus that I finally realised they were covering “Me And Bobby McGee”. Absolutely ghastly! His voice was so slurred that it was virtually incomprehensible.

So! What a night… it was a gig that had everything. The good, the bad and the downright fuckin’ ugly. Enjoyable as ever but not at his best.
Review by Mark (Rock ‘Em Dead Records)


The Real McKenzies:
Glasgow, Scotland, 2/17/04
We got there to see the band still unloading the merch and various swag from the back of the usual old beat up, manky tour van. All resplendent in stinky lookin kilts as ever, they seemed oblivious to the Glasgow chill us lesser mortals felt.

Theres sumthin about Barfly that annoys me, but i still cant put my finger on it. Maybe its the fact that they completely pointlessly give you a paper wristband thing to put on, AND stamp your hand with a stupid ink thing too. Or maybe its that fact that some idiot has decided NOT to allow us adults to buy anything but soft drinks in the bar downstairs where the bands play. Hmm, i wonder eh? Anyway,,,we got a drink upstairs then headed down to see what was what.

On came the first support of the evening, Scottish band The Alpacinos. Saw them support the McKenzies last year,and didn't like them at all. They were much better this time,,,better sound too,but i just don't get it at all.It just not for me. Why sound SO American? Some embarrassing onstage comments didn't help i must say. They were quite well received all the same, although we went back upstairs before they finished.

By the time we got back downstairs, The Cherrykicks were halfway through their last song. I saw them support the Wildhearts in E'Burgh a while back, and thought they were ok. I described them to a friend as "The WIldhearts" without the tunes. I got an ep of theirs too,,which confirmed that thought. They ended their set by throwing the guitars down in a rock n roll fashion,and wandered off. Seemed to go down pretty well too.

The place was really pretty packed by this time, and before too long the McKenzies appeared onstage one by one. It seemed to take ages for them to get everything on the go,,as the singer walked around with various mike stands and stuff for some reason.

Then they were off!

Straight from the start,,,,,all 5 of them lined up on the wee stage, side by side, kilts and sporrans a swinging the drummer at the back. If I'd been a sad journo type id have written down the set list, but I', not. So bite me! Suffice to say,,,it was first class from start to finish. These boys work hard let me tell you. And DRINK HARD TOO! Some of it (well,,,a LOT of it) is very silly indeed, but great fun. Its particularly funny to an ACTUAL Scotsman who plays in a Celtic rock/punk band (that's me by the way) watching a bunch of Canadians giving it all things homage to Scotland. I love it all the same!

Songs about whiskey,,,Nessie,,,er,,whiskey,,,,,The Queen(Bitch Of The Money),,,er,,,,whiskey again,,,,

and rather controversially

"This song is dedicated to our favorite Scottish football team,,THE GLASGOW CELTICS"! (aye,,not CELTIC as it should be,,,but CELTIC'S, like the basketball team.) I heard a few groans from non Celtic fans,,,but that just made it all the more enjoyable in fact!

They battered through the songs at a fair old pace, and did quite a bit of their latest (and best I think) CD,,,"OOT AND ABOOT"! they featured their new drummer (Ike Ikelson I think?) who looked remarkably out of place,,in his wee national health rimmed glasses and all. Looked like Vic Reeves (UK Comedian) in fact! Seemed to be a very good drummer indeed though,,and even had a wee solo spot for a coupla minutes, Jeeez,,,a drum solo at a punk gig eh? Whatever next!

Well,,that would be the bagpipe solo in fact! Yep,,,the big piper had a couple of solo spots,and really is a very good piper indeed. In fact,,singer Paul proclaimed him as "probably the finest punk rock piper in the world"! High praise indeed, since there are er,,so MANY OF THEM?

Both guitarist were very good too, but the taller skinny one pulls more faces than Michael Jackson in a primary school cloakroom,,,and is tremendous to watch. The bass player is still the one who we always think looks like a wee boy in amongst men for some reason. He is perfectly capable but just looks"wrong"somehow.

We heard a few tirades against the Queen "and her fuckin useless jug eared son" (hehee,,,that one made me laugh actually) as well as some family memories and talk of how proud they were to be"home"! (Canada?) We also had the dubious pleasure of seeing his arse and male goods on numerous occasions too. Or "some cack 'n balls" as he would say.

We managed to pass on a copy of some of our bands (The Electrics- www.theelectrics.com ) new album tracks to singer Paul before the show,, as well as a belt with a "Scottish And Proud" buckle, and a half bottle of "Real McKenzie" whiskey too! No,,really! He was VERY pleased with these things,and insisted on giving my mate Sammy a t-shirt, which he tried to refuse but eventually accepted in return.

We also got a 3 or 4 song encore,,including another pipe solo. They were about to play on,,but were told they were over the curfew time and had to go off. So,,not a very in depth gig review,,,but I'm already looking forward to next time! "SCOTS WHA HAE"!
Review by Jim Devlin


Dropkick Murphys - Good Riddance - The Casualties:
The Crystal Ballroom, Portland OR, 10/27/03
Today was a great day, The Dropkick Murphys were in town, and I was scheduled to interview Al, & Mark around 5:00 or so. I got there during soundchecks. I watched them reherse the song Forever, with some local fiddlers. Sounded good. Decided to do my part and slap Shite'n'Onions stickers on everything, and everybody. (Yeah, that was me, no big deal) I eventually interviewed Al, and Mark aka (The Kid) BTW, they were very cool, and very down to earth. (For those keeping score) A couple hours went by...

I missed the first band, but got there just in time for The Casualties. They remind me of The Exploited minus the accent. They sure seem to enjoy opening up for Celt-Punk bands, cause the last time I saw them, they opened for Flogging Molly. Next up, Good Riddance, I heard they were straight edge, so I went straight to the bar and ordered the drinks that they decided to pass up on, pretty good, but not what I came out to see, if you know what I mean...

It seemed like forever for the Dropkick Murphys to take stage. Random chants throughout the sold out crowd. "Let's Go Murphys!!" My voice was shot before the band even played a note. My feet were numb from stomping the ballroom floor over and over. (I also knew that they were downstairs, so I stomped twice as hard.) Finally, after what seemed like eternity, Scruffy took the stage with his bagpipes in a headlock, and played Cadence To Arms. The hungry Portland crowd became so fucking loud that you could barely even hear the pipes! Out came the band. And the crowd got even louder. Damn! What a fine bunch we had tonight. I think the sound guys had to turn up the volume a bit, because the distortion was a bit high. Meanwhile the band continued to play various songs from their new album "Blackout" and a bunch from previous records. I was having too much fun to keep track of each and every song. I worked my way down to the front of the pit. Interesting crowd once again. There were no bouncers on stage, so quite often it would get a little crowded with stagedivers up there. Eventually, the Dropkicks roadie crew had to run out and push people off every so often. I have always laughed at the Crystal Ballroom's "Security", especially tonight. I swear they took the night off.

Any of you tall people know what I mean when it comes to crowd surfers, I think I broke a personal record tonight, as far as boot-to-face ratio went. I probably had a bloody nose, black eye, lump on head, whatever...I still wasn't going anywhere. It had been a couple years since i've see the Dropkick Murphys. Then it happened... Someone stood on my heel, and off went my shoe... Shit. This has happened plenty of times before, and i've always gotten it back, but I guess tonight was my night. (The night you see your shoe fly across the stage!) I decided to stay put. Fuck it, I said. Then without warning, STOMP! Moments later, STOMP!! My foot probably looked like a crushed three day old calzone by now. I held my ground... STOMP! Okay, fuck it. I decided to retreat to the bar and watch from there, calzone foot and all. Eventually, the show was finished. The crowd screamed for more, but it was over. As I limped out the ballroom, I thought, " Once again, a damn fine show, by the Dropkick Murphys." I then wiped a little crusty dried blood off from under my nose and smiled. I can't wait to do it all over again.

If anyone found a dirty brown right footed size 11 shoe (Vans) let me know, I'll buy you a beer!
Review by Brian "Gimpy Foot" Gillespie


The Woods Band and the Mahones, w/ guests Siobhan and The Peelers:
Several Canadian Dates - 10/03
by Ol' jimmy from Siobhan

I’d like to begin this review with a small message for our American readers. And that message is this:

Ha, ha.

Oh, look at us. We’re the United States. We’re big and powerful. We have most of the money in the world. We grab all the headlines. Our military could conquer Canada 50 times in a week and still have enough time for a relaxing weekend in Bermuda. We have the Dropkicks. We have The Tossers. We have Flogging Molly. We’re the centre of the universe!

Well, let’s just be clear here: Terry Woods and Phil Chevron just did a tour in CANADA. And it rocked both folk and punk ASS.

I mean, The Mahones were awesome, they always are. The Peelers kicked ass. The only real let-down was Siobhan, who played some of the worst music I had ever heard. I mean, I don’t want to be cruel here, but these guys were worse than Creed. They make Creed sound like the Mahones. But anyway, let me get down to the nitty-gritty, the real stuff. The Pogues.

On each night, Terry, Phil and their bad-ass Irish accordion player, James, followed up the Mahones’ set with an acoustic set of their own. This set included some tunes I’d never heard, such as beautiful instrumental "The Lament for Grosse Point" and "Brave New World", a rousing folk number. And each night, they turned the house lights down, and Phil sang Thousands Are Sailing in an "Unplugged" style.

This was the song that first roused my interest in the Pogues, the song that started me on that long, dark, and drunken road to having a band. And to hear Phil himself sing it was beyond incredible. Shane was great on the album, but seeing this old, frail man sing his own song (on North American soil, even!) gives the tune a whole new power. He also did another song of his, "Faithful Departed", a Radiators From Space tune that has become an underground classic in Irish music.

The Mahones jumped on stage again as the backing band, and out came "If I Should Fall From Grace With God", "Young Ned Of The Hill" and "Gartloney Rats", among others. Those of us in the room who understood what was going on were mesmerized, while those who had never heard the Pogues were amazed to hear Irish music being played so well, better then any band in Canada or the U.S. does. Terry’s fingers absolutely flew on the bouzouki, and his concertina work was masterful. Occasionally, when the sound was bad, I would turn to a band-mate and say, "I wonder if the sound guy realizes he’s fucking up the bouzouki sound for one of the five best players in the world."

In the end, the shows were magical, and we all have Finny MacConnell from the Mahones to thank for organizing them. The last time Terry and Phil were on this continent, they were playing to five or six thousand people a night, and here they were, in dark underground clubs and halls, playing their hearts out to anyone who would listen. They weren’t trying to get famous, they were trying to show people what Irish music could and should be.

I’ll never forget seeing these guys, and getting to play banjo with them on "Gartloney Rats" is something I’ll take to my grave. But the experience was also humbling for all of us who play this music: there are still giants across the broad Atlantic who play far better than we do. Leave it to the Pogues to put a bunch of Canadians in their place. Health to you, boys, and don’t stay away too long.

Review by:
-Ol’ Jimmy (whose efforts to get Phil to say "Oooh Terrence! You farted!" in a high pitched, squeaky voice were sadly in vain)
ol_jimmy@siobhan.ca


Punk Rock Fleadh w/The PubCawlers, The Gobshites, The Ruffians, Jackdaw, The Skels:
McGanns, Boston, MA 08/15/03
First off thanks to Kristen MadCat for going to the trouble of and taking the risk putting together the Punk Rock Fleadh, the Boston stop was a great success and hopefully the other gigs were similar and fingers crossed more will follow.

First up taking the low stage of McGanns were the New Hampshire/Southern Maine based the Pubcrawlers who played a short, powerful set of traditional standards and original compositions that got the growing crowd warmed up and scared off anyone that shouldn’t have been there. The Skels after some prompting were good enough to join them on stage during Finnegan’ Wake. The Pubcrawlers have always shown big promise on their demos and live they keep that promise. My biggest problem with the demos was always the vocals, yet live vocal man, Kevin hits the nail on the head every time.

The Gobshites followed and staying true to their name they were a bunch of Gobshites. The singer (Pete, I think) is a seriously funny bastard and the music as hoot even with the out of tune fiddle. The set started with the Pogues, “Streams of Whiskey” and ended with “Frigging in the Rigging” and in between we were treated to jokes, silly songs all given the acoustic-Celtic-hardcore treatment, a little rap also given the acoustic-Celtic-hardcore and Andy from the PubCrawlers reading a limerick.

Next up taking the stage were NYC’s The Ruffians who made a grand entrance through the audience marching behind the most colorful bagpiper I’ve ever seen. The set was tight Irish influenced Rock’n’Roll what would be closer in sound to say the Prodigals then the Dropkick Murphys. My biggest complaint was the over-distortion of the guitars during the first couple of songs.

I’m considering suing Jackdaw for terminal damage to my hearing - I’m writing this 3 days later and my ears are still ring - it only took two days for my head to stop pounding- I suing Guinness on that one. These guys just blew me away. I heard both of their CD’s through a friend who was raving about them and neither impressed me particular (I’m going to be checking them out again.) But live they were unbelievable, tight as the proverbial ducks arse or more correctly AC/DC’s rhythm section. Actually someone described them to me after the set as AC/DC with bagpipes though I’m more inclined to go with a Celtic Wall of Sound description. They certainly impressed me and a sizable section of the crowd who whipped up a serious pit - not bad for a band who were completely unknown in Boston before their set. Hopefully they come back soon and if you ever get a chance check’em out. One issue though and that’s the Bagpipers kilt was too short - never wear a Kilt above the knee, people start to ask funny questions about you.

The Skels headlined and I hate to say this but I had to fuck off home after 3 songs - I’m sure the Skels were their usual self’s and gave a riot of a show (the new CD is the fucking business but you know that anyway).

The Peelers:
live at The Celtic Ray Public House, Punta Gorda, Florida, 8/9/03
To the Peelers' credit, they had just arrived in town a couple hours prior to the show after an eight-hour drive from Savannah, Ga., and went on to play nearly FOUR FREAKING HOURS (admittedly, with a couple of short breaks thrown in, but still!).

First, a bit about the venue. The Celtic Ray Public House — by the time you read this, management may have already completely split off the music room into a separate smoking bar called the Temple Bar Public House — is a small pub in Punta Gorda, Fla., which is about 90 minutes south of Tampa. It serves no domestic beer (!) and has the feel of a country pub in Ireland. It's not a huge room, and the pub has traditional Irish music a few nights a week.

That said, The Peelers were a bit of a departure for the pub. It was only the second time it's charged a cover for an event (the first was Black 47 in February), and owner Kevin Doyle was a little apprehensive about bringing in a band that was a large unknown.

(As the show approached, many friends from the pub were calling me "The Guy Who Brought The Peelers To The Celtic Ray," as I had played a limited role as a matchmaker between the band and the pub. A lot of people asked me about the band, whom I'd never seen live before. I merely told them, I'd just heard their CD, which was very good, but I had very high expectations for their live show. I was nervous as an expectant dad.)

The Peelers, making their Florida debut, were also a little nervous. "We really didn't know what to expect," said lead singer Dave Barton. "We didn't know whether to expect a young audience or old. A lot of these southern cities are known for older crowds." They needn't have worried. The band drew enough people of a variety of ages to make the room comfortably crowded. If the crowd was a little tentative as the show started, so was the band, which started at about 9:40 p.m. with no opening act to warm up the crowd.

If the band has a weakness (if you want to call it that) at this point, it's their limited amount of original material, which I'll go into later. They started with The Waterboys' "Bang on the Ear" — halfway through, Kevin yelled out, "I fucking love these guys already!" A look around the room indicated this was a common theme. They opened with a set of standards, including "Finnegan's Wake" and "Dirty Old Town," and threw in a version of the "Broad Majestic Shannon" — the first of several Pogues songs that was played that night. They also did a song from their upcoming CD "Plastic Paddy" that I did not recognize or know the name of.

As the night grew longer, the crowd got younger, the Peelers got faster. They did their versions of "Irish Rover" (obviously minus Ol' Jimmy of Siobhan, who guested for the song on their CD), Flogging Molly's "Salty Dog" and allowed me to go up with them and do "Streams of Whiskey" (which I'd wanted to sing with a live band for a long time). The band also let Leslie, Kevin's girlfriend, sing on a well-received version of "Fairytale of New York."

All hell broke loose toward the end, with a mosh pit erupted in this small Irish pub, much to the delight of those that stayed until the last. A few people got knocked into a table near the stage with fish and chips for the band, and the fish went flying. They finished with some Clash songs — "London Calling" and "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" to a rousing, rowdy ovation.

“I thought at first, they (the crowd) was a little reserved. We were a little unsure where to go with the whole thing,” Barton said after the show. “In the end, it turned out to be a Peelers show.”

One could dismiss the Peelers as a cover band (which is how one newspaper alluded to them) if you wanted to look at it that way, as they're still working on a repartory of original stuff. (Then again, when the Pogues were in their infancy, they did a lot of Dubliners stuff and traditional tunes, not to compare the two.)

I just look at The Peelers as a smoking live band. My body is still stiff from all the dancing/moshing that erupted toward the end. And I have no doubt that their original stuff, as it comes, will be fine, too. As a side note, they are really cool guys.

There's a strong rumor that The Peelers will be coming back at some point. ("As soon as possible," Kevin told me. "If they're available, next week.") They may have also opened the door for other bands of that ilk for the Celtic Ray, oops, sorry, Temple Bar. (I REALLY hope so.)

When The Peelers make their return appearance to Punta Gorda, I can't freaking wait. And from the feedback I've received since the show, I know I won't be the only one.

Review by Rob Shore

the McGillicuddys:
Crannóg Brewery Beltaine Festival, BC, Canada 5/3/03
Driving 10 hours for one show isn't anybody's idea of fun, but I'd been committed to seeing the McGillicuddys at Crannóg's Beltaine festival since the fall. I was in Seattle for a Timbers soccer match the night before, so it was only really eight hours driving. OK, eight hungover hours, that last few pints of Beamish in Clancy's in Wallingford had sealed my fate. Within a few minutes of my arrival at the Crannóg brewery I had a pint in hand and began the healing process.

I can't think of a better place for a Pogues influenced band to play than the source of inspiration, the very brewery itself. Crannóg Ales, Canada's only certified organic farmhouse brewery, brew Irish style ales, and played host to the McGillicuddys on their recent tour of Western Canada. Crannóg brewer Brian MacIsaac's knot-work mural on the brewery door was the ideal back drop for the Victoria Celtopunks.

The ancient Celts celebrated the coming of spring on Beltaine with rituals to celebrate fertility. Appropriately enough Morag the cow in a adjoining field was about to give birth writing the McGillicuddys into punk history as the first band to play for a pregnant cow.

Fueled by Crannóg Back Hand of God Stout, Red Branch Irish Ale and Beyond the Pale Ale, the McGuillicuddys played two sets of original, traditional, punk, and trad songs to a select crowd set against the Shuswap mountains. The black-clad five piece, with accordion, guitar, bass, drums, male and female vocals, and whistle transported the crowd to a mythical smoky pub with brawling songs of drink, hard livin' and hard lovin.' Opening with Roaring Jack's "Buy Us a Drink" the McGillicuddys played songs from last year's Kilt By Death album and hard hittin' new material such as "A Dozen Pints," a drink-your-ex-off-your-mind anthem. "Let it Rain," an ode to the pub-spent days of London winter, "So let it rain/Let it flood away the pain/Wash away my sins/ so I can start tomorrow clean again," rings as true on the Cascadian Raincoast as on the eastern shore of the Atlantic.

McG's frontman Mike Walker's repeated requests for whiskey lead me to break out the Balvenie that I'd gotten at duty free (gotta love the buy six bottles get $10 off card). A punky version of "Nancy Whiskey," was my just reward. After a whiskey intermission the McG's embarked on their second, more raucous set. Tossing in covers from the Nips "Gabrielle," Cock Sparrer "Riot Squad," to Richard Thomson's "1952 Vincent Black Lightning," and a fistful of trad songs, the McGillicuddys showed their range of influence, finishing with the Clash's "White Man in Hammersmith Palais."

The drive back the next day was soothed by the memories of the night before. The McGillicuddys had proved well worth the trek.

By Abram "Boyo from the Bog" Goldman-Armstrong