Thursday, March 15, 2007

Forest green for us Slovak Poles and erzatz Celts


Irish Soul Food
Originally uploaded by V'ron.
I'm not Irish. Not one little bit. Maybe, if you dig deep into Celtic history (the part where the Celts were floating around Germany and parts of Eastern Europe) you might find a drop or two of Celtic blood in me, but really, I'm Polish and Czech through and through. And I look really washed out and fallow in kelly green. Actually, lots of people look terrible in kelly green. Especially the Irish with their fair, ruddy complexions and red hair. Forest green looks great on 'em, but not kelly green. Even emerald green looks better. So why do they insist on kelly green being the national color? You need to have jet black hair, and perfect white skin --or just be black -- to look good in kelly green. (So, OK, Sherilyn Fenn looks good in kelly green, but then again, Sherilyn Fenn looks good in a potato sack.)

But I'm a lapsed Catholic, and this Saturday is a Saint's feast day. I know, I'm reaching here, but I need an excuse to go out and enjoy McTavish on both Friday at the Groove on South KK, and Saturday night at the Uptowner in Riverwest.

Actually, I have plenty of excuses:

  • First and foremost, the reason I know at least half my friends and colleagues in the Milwaukee music crowd is directly because of Paul Cotter and McTavish. About 15 years back, Cotter, being the orgainzation man that he is, introduced me to the guy who would become my guitar teacher, bass player, and general antagonist, Dan "Myles" Mullen. It was my job to gush over Myles as he tinkled on the mandolin, suggesting that "I know the perfect band you should play that in. My friend Paul here is forming an Irish band and you would be soooooo good in it. Do you know Paul? Paul, Myles. Myles, (that's your name, right?) Myles, this is Paul. Now that you've met, you have to do this! Oh my god, you are SO good. Oh, please say yes, that you'll do it! I'm sure you're busy with that Plastic Band thing you do, but you must do this!" That gushing blond girl crap always works on guys, doesn't it? Anyway, between Mullen and a few other people I met that same fateful evening, by the time of the premiere of McTavish I had met a gaggle of people I consider my dear friends to this day. (BTW, the same crap worked when I wanted to learn to play guitar: "You have to teach me everything you know because you are so good at it! OK, so this is an E chord! Wow, you are the best guitar teacher EVER!")
  • I kind of like the fact that some Irish music purists don't like McTavish. The crowd reaction to them at Irish Fest some years back was extremely mixed. They're too rowdy, they're too barroom-brawlish, they're too politically charged on the IRA side, and they like their Jameson's. They're not pretty and elegant. Except for the fact that Cotter has obviously had access to a Marquette-trained dentist, they're beautifully dirty. For some reason, there's Irish purists who don't like this, like they're trying to hide the fact that people have a good time drinking and singing the European equivalent of the blues in a bar to share their triumphs and troubles. WhatEVER. I like it.
  • After I've had my fill of Pogues covers and classic folk songs and drunken singalongs they do "Sky Pilot." That's right. They cover the Eric Burdon and the Animals, doing a song that features a psychedelic escapade into a scottish war chant. And they do it well!
  • I've been asked to shoot both shows, so I'm actually kind of working.
  • These are guys who know their fashion sense generally. So after a night at the Bradley Center where there will be too much green, (the Bucks will be wearing their forest green-themed away uniforms) I won't be all jogged out of shape with kelly green. If anything, the McTavish guys will wear a shade of green that suits them. I trust Cotter's fashion sense on this, and he'll whip the rest of the band into shape if he knows what's good for him. That's forest green you look good in, boys, in case you forgot. I know one of you might wear kelly green just to piss me off, but I'll deal. And I'll photograph it and I won't fix your resultant washed out skintones in Photoshop, so that's your image you're messing with, not mine.

    Oh, and seafoam green is right out. Don't even think about it.


So anyway, that's my pick for the weekend, despite the plethora of choices we have, and I'll find some forest -- not kelly -- green to be Irish for a day. I can see the alternatives any time, but McTavish season -- as Myles refers to St. Pat's day, comes but once a year, and I've missed them the past few years so I have some catching up to do. But if you're not up for the celtic cacophony that is Mc Tavish, there's a few other choices Saturday night:

  • Personally, I think County Clare blew it by letting the Five Card Studs go. For whatever reason, their gig at County Clare was moved to Club Lulu instead Saturday night. I would have really considered seeing the Five Card Studs present a Sexy, Sexy St. Patrick's Day at a traditional Irish Bed and Breakfast/restaurant/bar. I would have paid good money to hear Cesar Palace, on the Irishest of Irish nights, at one of the most Irish of Irish bars, do "Danke Schoen" followed by "That's Amore!" And whereever the 5 Card Studs are, there's guaranteed sexy sexy songs for the ladies, no matter what you're drinking. With them, it will be cocktails, not shots.

  • There's always time for Chow. Celebrate your Teutonic roots with Dr. Chow's Love Medicine at the Port of Hamburg on South Howell.

  • There's a U2 Tribute Band over at Points East! There's other "Irish Themed" stuff going on there, but if you want Irish, but not exactly Celtic, go and listen to a Bono wannabe wail out "I Will Follow"!


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