Monday, March 19, 2007

Rocking brogue accents, vol 1


Mark and Paul
Originally uploaded by V'ron.
The McTavish boys were in fine form Friday night at the Groove, a bar I didn't really picture them in, frankly. The Groove, on KK in BayView, is a well-named place. It's groovy with very dark ambient lighting, red painted walls, hip art on the walls, a sofa (in good repair, not a beat up old thing) about. Great beer and liquor selection and cool (but not hipper-than-thou) bartenders who can whip up any kind of requested drinkie-poos. Great place to meet somebody, but I never really pictured a band in here, much less rowdy Irish rockers on the eve of St Pat's.

Nevertheless, they fit in well because despite some accusations of them being not a "pure Irish musical endeavor," they capture the spirit of the holiday beyond tacky plastic green derbies and stupid leprechauns and green dyed beer, especially at this hip little joint. The songs they did covered the full range of human emotion and fun, with the Irish stylistical accent on them (not to mention the outright Pogues and Clancys and whatever covers). There was no division between band and audience, and as I (nor anybody else) was asked for cover as we entered, they obviously were doing this show for love, not money: and the warmth and family I felt had it roots beyond the shots of Jameson's they supplied me with. They rang in the holiday at midnight with a round of those shots, and there were a few left on Dan Mullen's amplifier before I called them on this: "What the hell kind of an Irish band are you?!?! There's perfectly good whiskey just sitting there evaporating. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves." You can bet that didn't last long.

But that's the kind of night it was: a merging of the Clancy Brothers and the Clash, the Kingstong Trio and the Animals. No holding back on the politics, the language, or the emotion. No stupid "Irish I had a Beer" or "Erin Go Braless" or crap like that. Just a wonderful, musical, rollercoaster ride through Northen Ireland by way of London, Chicago, and the KK River. As predicted, I knew one of them would jar my fashion sensibilities by wearing kelly green and thusly washing out his skin tone, and I probably should have known it would be Myles. Shurilla and Cotter didn't wear green at all, Jorin did a tasteful forest green, Brian Kurzinski had a snappy green cordoroy sportscoat on and Animal, Terry "The Animal" Garguilo just wore this stylin printed shirt. Thanks Miles, for fulfilling my prophecy: I knew I could depend on you.

Seen in the crowd and a touch of gossip: First, McTavish drummer emeritus Rob McCuen, who sat in a copule of numbers. Also, Annie Chase and her beau James, who occupied the couch in front of the stage and shared a spot on it with me. Gave us the feeling that we had our own little private McTavish audition right there in our living room. Horror and television writer (the two aren't related, but on second thought, perhaps they are) Elaine Bergstrom popped in for a few, and man-about-town Chris Lehmann, who told me that the Bugs are retooled, but that wasn't public knowledge yet. Well, then, explain the broadcast bulletin from their Myspace account, announcing all this, including a spell check on the retooled name: The Buggs. Geez, Chris, if you're going to give me a scoop, let me run with it for at least a day! Lehmann (and the myspace bulletin) promises they'll be even more over the top than they are, but :ehmann told me this, it was in an almost apologetic voice, like it might be a tad too much for me. Oh, puhleaze. It's like the time I met the legendary Bob DuBlon. "He's going to overwhelm you," I was warned. "It takes a lot to overwhelm me," I replied confidently. Well, I was overwhelmed, but I came away still standing. Same thing here. Yeah, I'm sure the Buggs will blow me away even more than they did that one night, but then again, flatten me? This is me, remember. Ever since I got hit over the head with Iggy Pop's mike stand in Champaign back in '82, I've pretty much assumed that great punk just gets more effective as it ages and grows and if you don't like it, just don’t go back. Well, I can't get enough of it.

And even if I wasn't hired to shoot McTavish the following night, I'd have gone back anyway. I've got McTime to make up for: I guess I'd forgotten just how much I can't get enough of great punk, no matter what kind of accent it has.

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