Paddy’s Day Report – K.M.R.I.A. – Portland, Oregon (March 17, 2007)

Beware The Ides Of March…Beware The Ides Of March… Crazy shit happens in the middle of March, and this years festivities were no different. Started out the holiday with a Smithwick’s or two down at a local Irish Pub. I thought they’d have some trad music in the morning. I was wrong. Instead it was much better… As I walk into the pub, I see Casey Neill and Zak Borden outside. Turns out they’re about to play a set. Heard a few tunes from Casey’s upcoming album “Brooklyn Bridge”, and let me tell you folks, there’s some good stuff right there! After about an hour or so, it’s off to a pre-party or two.

Eventually it’s time for the gig and we head down to the Wonder Ballroom for K.M.R.I.A. (Kiss My Royal Irish Ass) KMRIA play Pogues music. Nothing but. They are a celebration of the virtuosity, songcraft, and spirit of the Pogues. The band features an all star cast of Pacific Northwest rock – Chris Funk and Jenny Conlee of The DECEMBERISTS, Ezra Holbrook of DR THEOPOLIS, Scott McCaughey of THE MINUS 5, YOUNG FRESH FELLOWS & REM sideman, Hanz Araki of THE WHYOS & PAPERBOYS, Jesse Emerson of AMELIA, singer CASEY NEILL, and DEREK BROWN of The EELS, and FERNANDO. The show features as much grit, bluster, and drunken glory as can be mustered without sacrificing the intricacies of the material. The name KMRIA is an acronym for “Kiss my Royal Irish Ass” excerpted from James Joyce’s Ulysses and used in the Pogues song “Transmetropolitan”. K.M.R.I.A. only play shows around X-MAS and ST PATS. Let me tell you, I have heard a million Pogues covers, and these guys (& Boys From The County Hell) are as close to the real thing as you can get… I swear the only difference is that K.M.R.I.A. have more teeth! During the opening band someone tells me Shane MacGowan fucked up his knee a couple of nights before, and The Pogues had to cancel their Paddy’s Day shows, which somehow translates in my drunken head as the best live Pogues music in the world is currently playing in Portland, Oregon!

Everyone in the building were singing (slurring) word for word, most were dancing,(stumbling) and a few were simply making out.(groping) As the night wore on, they played all the Pogues classics, and that’s about all I can tell you! Show me a person who didn’t have a good time that night and I will show you someone who either didn’t have a clue, or didn’t have a pulse. I will also say this.. If anyone needs to record a live album, it’s KMRIA! It was a great night that ended with Chris Funk (Also in The Decemberists) throwing his mandolin into the crowd, and hitting me square on the head… I ended up keeping the Mandolin only to have Max (f/ Rag & Bonemen, & The Dolomites) headbutting the back so hard the base fell off! Classic!

Review by Barnacle Brian

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