August 09, 2010

Irishfest Recapture

"If found, please return to pub." - T-shirt spotted

Twas a sunny Sunday and after a brief misfire (a lost credit card that was eventually found behind the seats of the car), I traveled towards the great state of Irishdom, the festival in Dublin, Ohio. I drove to Red Roof & then got out the bike and pedalled to the front gate, tethering my bike to a large light pole. Fortunately it was still there eight hours later when I was heading home.

Met M. & S. outside the Dublin stage where the Clancy Legacy was playing. They mentioned the acts they had seen, the most moving being Mossy Moran who sang "Four Green Fields", handed down from the late Tommy Makem. Just before one pm, we headed towards "Two2Many", an amusing and eclectic group of musicians featuring a father and her lovely daughter and a manic fiddle player who looked like he'd be equally happy doing stand-up comedy. They were entertaining and played good music as well. There's something about a plugged-in fiddle that I really appreciate, the one thing the Hooligans lack.

I managed to talk M & S into going to the Celtic Rock stage, and I realized how much I missed that sort of act, the sort of unabashed, Pogues-like force of nature music. Barley Juice was the act, and there was a fine tune called "Song for Sinners". I was surprised by at least two things: one, that the crowd had more gray hair than expected, men much older than me swaying to the beat and overly loud sound, and second, that the hits of Barley Juice were barely tolerable but the other songs inspired.

I was glad to learn that Fr. Stephen Hayes was here again this year, and Mark amusingly pointed out that he (Fr. Hayes) was teaching leather works and something called "fingerloop braiding." Around 3:30pm we headed to Mossy Moran but the mellow balladeer prompted a return visit to the Celtic rock stage, to "Enter the Haggis," whose CD I'd bought a couple years ago at the recommendation of Robert of Hokie Pundit despite having never seen them play.

I wasn't fooled by the girls wearing t-shirts that said, "Kilt Inspector." Promises, promises.

Soon it was time for the Hooligans, playing at 5:30pm, and even though the venue was hot and airless and we were far from the stage, I still enjoyed the songs, especially the famous "Dead Set".

At 6:30 Bridget's Cross: they consistently produce a high energy, highly-entertaining show. We groaned when the father was called on the stage, infamous for his "Rooster" song, but were pleasantly surprised when instead of the Rooster we heard an impassioned version of "Danny Boy". They ended the set with lovely renditions of the Irish & American national anthems.


Anonymous said...

Have you ever heard of the UK based band named Iona? (There's an American based band with the same name but totally different.)

They are almost hard to categorize, but basically Celtic progressive rock. (In their early phase they had a saxaphone player, so there was a little Celtic Jazz.) They are just flat out great musicians, their lead guitarist, Dave Bainbridge, is incredible.

They toured the U.S. this June - one of the best concerts I have ever attended. Sadly, their cds are very difficult to get in the U.S., but the internet can bridge this problem.

I hope you check them out - and also note some of their lyrics. You will be pleasantly surprised.

TS said...

Thanks for the info!

Anonymous said...

I know it may take a little effort to paste this in, but please take a look at this performance by Iona in Elgin Ill, this summer on Youtube. The improvisation at the end is amazing.