When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
Soundbites: Seawolves, Crowfeathers
When “Irish” eyes are smiling, it’s usually because “Irish” mouths are drinking. And rarely are “Irish” mouths drinking more than on that most glorious of pseudo holidays, Amateur Night, er, St. Patrick’s Day. Unless you count Dublin vs. Westmeath in the All-Ireland Hurling Championships, that is. Have you ever seen a hurling match? Seriously, it’s the most badass sport ever. But I digress.
Everyone is Irish on St. Paddy’s Day, as evidenced by the throngs of soused revelers bedecked from head to toe in green garb, Guinness paraphernalia and, usually, vomit. Ew.
This year, in celebration of marginalizing an entire culture through absurd stereotypes and of the man who drove the snakes from Ireland (ignoring the fact that the Emerald Isle has never actually had an indigenous snake population), we get to make a weekend-long affair out of St. Patrick’s Day. That’s because March 17, the supposed day of the canonized snake-charmer’s demise, falls on a Monday. As such, reels, jigs and Pogues covers will be flowing as freely as Jameson’s at area “pubs” this weekend. FYI: That’s Gaelic for “bars.”
Before we get into the rundown of the nightspots most likely to slake your thirst for fiddle tunes, boiled everything and nitrogenated stout, it should be noted that all of the generally accepted rules of inebriated engagement only apply on St. Patrick’s Day. You wouldn’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo on May 4, would you? There-fore, I declare a statewide moratorium on “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” stickers, beer goggles, bagpipes and all other forms of Paddy’s-related jackassery until March 17. Deal?
Now that we’ve laid down the ground rules, the first stop on your wasted weekend should be to check out Seawolves at any number of venues this weekend. The local seafaring quartet — well, lakefaring, really — has a number of gigs lined up this weekend, including Saturday night at Montpeculiar’s Langdon Street Café and Monday at Nectar’s and Essex Junction’s Banana Winds, where you can also enjoy corned beef and cabbage on the house. Dakota Foley, best known for his mandolin work with Tammy Fletcher’s Americana supergroup Mountain Girl, fronts the band. These guys cover all the traditional bases with authenticity and offer some surprises along the way.
Next on the agenda is a family-friendly celebration, as noted local music instructor and Suzuki method guru Allen Church presents an Irish fiddle recital at Morrisville’s snug community cornerstone The Bee’s Knees this Sunday. I’m guessing the usual shenanigans would be better saved for the following night, so if you go, keep it clean, OK?
If debauchery is on your to-do list, the main event this Monday offers no shortage of Gaelic gaiety. So, where to begin?
How about T. Rugg’s in Burlington’s Old North End? The neighborhood haunt is not generally known as a music venue. But just as the whole world is Irish on St. Paddy’s Day, practically every bar in the state becomes a live-music hot spot. If only because of the roving band of bagpipers that seems to follow me around every year. Seriously, guys, stop it. Please.
This year, sorta-legendary local Celtic trio Bootless and Unhorsed takes residency at “trugg’s” for what band co-founder Marty Resnik calls an evening of “good will and bad behavior.” Sold. Formed in 1976, the group gained local notoriety for a two-decade-plus stint as the raucous house band at dearly departed Burlington dive The Last Chance Saloon, may it rest in peace.
Moving on — and in keeping with the dive-bar theme — you might want to swing by Charlie O’s in Montpelier this Monday as well, assuming you have a designated driver, that is. Why? Well, for one, it’s the best bar in Vermont. Hands down. I’ve contemplated moving to our state’s capital solely to be closer to it. And, no, I’m not kidding.
Secondly, Abby O’ Jenne & The Irish Enablers are playing. To be honest, I’ve never heard ’em. But I have heard Abby Jenne, who rocks. I’ve also heard Mark LeGrand, who is pretty much a legend in these here parts and serves as the band’s bassist and, presumably, guiding light. Sounds “can’t miss” to me.
Heading north, Johnson’s The Hub Pizzeria & Pub plays host to traditional pickin’ whizzes The Mud City Ramblers and Payback, who are — I’m not making this up — a James Brown tribute band. Umm . . .
There are also rumors of a merry band of pranksters masquerading as an Irish band making the rounds at area pubs, spreading good will Celtic cheer — and, I’m told, baked potatoes — called Everybody’s Favorite Irish Drinking Songs. Take a wild guess what they play. Erin go bragh, indeed.
JER-RY! JER-RY! JER-RY!
No, not that Jerry. Jerry Garcia is dead, folks. Get over it. The Jerry I refer to is none other than ex-Cincinnati mayor-turned-TV-schlockmeister Jerry Springer. I bet you never thought you’d see his name in this column. God knows I didn’t. But the world is a crazy place, folks. A crazy, sleazy place. And nowhere is that more evident than on the artificially dysfunctional stage of “The Jerry Springer Show.”
Why do I bring this up? Great question. It seems a musician with Burlington roots has hit “the big time,” so to speak, and will soon be making his national television debut on the show. Really.
CrowfeatheR, who hasn’t been seen ’round these parts in quite some time, was a well-known figure in the local music scene during the 1990s alt-rock heyday, collaborating with the likes of Envy’s Matt Hutton, among others. He’s since fled to the concrete jungle of Boston, where he’s continued writing and recording in search of ever-elusive commercial success. Perhaps his time has finally come.
To call the dude a “personality” would be a gross understatement. To wit, his submission to the Seven Days’ 2008 musician’s wish list (“Auld Lang Signs,” December 26, 2007): I want Mattel to market a line of Dan Bolles action figures so I can pretend I’m a super-scribe and role-play reviewing endless indie CDs in a single bound.See what I mean?
While we’re still waiting on the kung-fu grip GI Dan doll, CrowfeatheR taped his soon-to-be-a-hit (?) single “Honey Pie” for Springer and his minions last Monday, March 10, with the airdate to be determined. If you’re wondering why a relative unknown was picked for such an, um, honor, take a look at the attached picture. Methinks that says it all.
Our more astute readers will likely notice a glaring omission in this week’s edition: music listings for Radio Bean. Unfortunately, due to forces beyond their control and ours, the venue’s schedule was not finalized by press time. We apologize for the inconvenience and will update the schedule as it becomes available on our website at http://www.sevendaysvt.com/music.html.