Punk Rock Fleadh w/The PubCawlers, The Gobshites, The Ruffians, Jackdaw, The Skels – McGanns, Boston, MA (August 15, 2003)

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 selves and gave a riot of a show (the new CD is the fucking business but you know that anyway).

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