Pat Chessell is a Celtic troubadour from the wild west of Canada. I Confess, is the third album from Pat that has crossed the Shite’n’Onions threshold. I’m hearing on I Confess tremendous growth from his earlier releases where his original material was propped up with multiple covers and standards. Now its stand alone Pat for the most part with just two trad covers and the rest strong originals. Musically Pat is a part of the young Celtic tradition and similar in style to fellow Vancouverites, The Town Pants, with maybe just a touch Canadiana.
“A Rainy Night In SODO”
Flash back to 2001, when the news broke out of a Pogues Reunion Tour. Insanity is a word commonly used to describe the feeling worldwide. I seriously debate flying all the way to London just to see the band play live. (A few freinds made it) At the time, I simply could not afford the trip, so I nervously waited 5 years for the band to arrive on American shores. Again, I back out like a cheap stupid bastard. The tour is a success, and I punch myself for not attending. I then begin to hear rumors of a full blown West Coast Tour in 2007. I await the Portland billing…(And for reasons I cannot discuss) It falls through. Luckily for me, Seattle has confirmed two dates. I order my tickets and dance a drunken jig.
October 17th arrives. I get out of work early and haul ass north to Seattle. Prior arrangements have been made to meet up at a local pub called the Owl & Thistle. We arrive to a series of cheers. The good times are certainly here! (And as we all know, a Pogues gig isn’t complete without a pre-gig pub-crawl.) After an hour or so, the pub is crawling with fellow Portlanders, and our cheery pals to the north, The Canadians. After a few pints are drowned, various footy chants are sprinkled among the Pogues faithful.By the time we’re about to leave, full blown Portland Timbers chants echo across the pub. (WTF?) We also raise a pint to ailing Pogues guitarist Phil Chevron, who could not attend the tour due to his recovery from cancer. Like some sort of Celt-Punk roll call, I bump into various members of The McGillicuddy’s, the Scurvy Bastards, The Dolomites/Rag & Bonemen, and even had a Wages Of Sin sighting!
Eventually, the pub empties out into the rainy streets of Seattle, it’s the middle of Autumn, and a chill is in the air. This does nothing to dampen our spirits, because this crew of misfits are heading to The Showbox SODO to watch the Pogues! Somehow we cut the line and walk right in. The opening band is a guy named William Elliot Whitmore and he sounded great, I was too busy at the bar to get a good view.
Then it was time. Time for me to witness The Pogues for the first time ever. (Sure, I’d seen Shane & The Popes play before, but who am I kidding?) To be honest, I had pretty much written off Shane MacGowan a few years ago, so I wasn’t expecting much. In fact, I was relieved just to see Ol’ Snaggletooth up on stage. (It’s the first night of the tour, mind you!) The band crashes into “Streams Of Whiskey” and a mad rush toward the front of the stage begins. The crowd is hungry. Considering this is the first time The Pogues have ever played Seattle, it seemed appropriate. Within seconds, the leather jackets, the skate punks, the paddycaps, the trads, and the skins, all came together to celebrate the night. Let’s not forget some the older fans a bit further back with their offspring in tow. Showing the wee ones a night they’ll never forget. You couldn’t catch your breath before they steam right into “If I Should Fall From Grace With God” It’s about this time everyone realized how good the band sounds. In fact, The Pogues sound fucking great. Not to mention, Shane, (who was currently sporting a classy tophat) who had not sounded this good in years! “Broad Majestic Shannon” “Turkish Song Of The Damned” Phil Chevron’s smiling replacement, James Walbourne subbed in perfectly. By about the time “Young Ned Of The Hill” comes I simply lose the ability to properly review this show. There’s too much to take in. All those years of wishing, and waiting, have arrived and my fucking god, they have arrived with a vengeance! Overwhelming is an understatement! I am willing to bet serious amounts of money that I had by far, the biggest smile in the entire place that night!
Here’s the set list of the remainder of the show
Pair Of Brown Eyes
Boys From The County Hell
Repeal Of the Licensing Laws
Sunnyside Of The Street
Body Of An American (Shane dedicating it to Kurt Cobain)
Lullaby Of London
Greenland Whale fishers
Dirty Old Town
Bottle Of Smoke
Sickbed Of Cuchulainn
Rainy Night In Soho
Star Of The County Down (Andrew on vocals)
Fiesta (With Shane And Spider smashing beer trays over their heads!)
And that was that. After two hours, a long term goal was fufilled. I finally saw the Pogues, and again, they sounded fucking amazing. I honestly expected a half-arsed reunion gig, instead I received a full blown kick in the ass. There was a faint buzz in the air. Not only the fans, but also the band. Accomplishment comes to mind.
Again, I must admit, Overwhelming is an understatement.
Review By: Barnacle Brian (Still smiling)
So its 9am the morning after the show, I’m struggling a little, however I’m feeling the need to get this down on paper before the buzz wears off too much. What a great show last night! It was truly sensational, and Melbourne gave it to Flogging Molly as much as they gave it to us. The intensity just went up and up with both sides dealing it back in spades.
The venue was fantastic. There was a smaller stage to the side where The Currency played, with the main stage set up on an adjacent wall ready to go for Flogging Molly. This made for a very smooth transition, and there was plenty of viewing room even for the small stage. The Currency were great, they kicked off with a tune that built up layer upon layer as it got going into quite a frenzy by the time the vocalist took the stage. The crowd was appreciative and after a few songs the keener (drunker?) members got quite an impressive bit of jig-spinning mosh-pit action going on by the stage. I would have joined in but it was still important to me at that time not to spill my drink.
The Currency definitely deserve a few words, these guys really know how to play and connected with the crowd well. I had only heard a couple of their tracks previously but I tell you what, I can’t wait for their album release, they have written some brilliant tracks. One that really stuck in my mind was referencing the 8/8/8 plight of the Melbourne unions for 8 hours or work, 8 hours of rest, 8 hours of sleep I think it is. It was also talking about the monument erected to commemorate this which I happened to stagger past drunk at 3am the previous morning but that’s a different story.
Anyhow, after a good set – I would estimate about 45 minutes – there was a relatively short break and Flogging Molly took the stage. The crowd was well pumped and moved into action immediately as the first riff of Selfish Man kicked in and the place went off. I’ve seen Flogging Molly once before as a support act in a large venue, but this was something else again – they were on another level. You could feel how hard they were playing from the moment they hit the stage. The intimate venue meant I could reach the foldbacks and so the band was less than a couple of metres away – and they brought all of my old FM favorites to life in a way I couldn’t have imagined.
It was particularly evident what a fan-base Flogging Molly now have in Australia when during the intro to The Likes of You Again, Dave King found himself drowned out by the crowd singing along – you could see in his face how taken aback he was that here were several hundred people thousands of miles away from home who knew all the words to their songs. And the band just responded in turn.
The sound was great at this venue, the mix was excellent, you could hear all of the instruments distinctly so whether it was the Bob Schmidt’s banjo in Drunken Lullabies or the Bridget Regan’s tin whistle in Devil’s Dance Floor it cut through like a knife. The playing was tight and powerful, exactly what you’d expect from such a hard-touring, seasoned band but it’s still so impressive to see. The set list was perfect for fans like me who will only see them every couple of years at best. It drew heavily from the first couple of albums, from memory they ran through: Salty Dog, Black Friday Rule, Selfish Man, The Likes of You Again, Devils Dance Floor, Swagger, Drunken Lullabies, What’s Left of the Flag, If I Ever Leave this World Alive, and Rebels of the Sacred Heart. From Within a Mile of Home they had my two favorites Tobacco Island and the title track plus Whistles the Wind and Seven deadly Sins. I think there were only 4 off the new album – Float, Paddy’s Lament, Requiem for a Dying Song and Lightening Storm – and all 4 were fantastic – and I certainly appreciated the majority being from the earlier albums that are so well ingrained in the musical appreciation section of my brain.
There were a couple of highlights for me from the night, the first was on the roof-top bar before the show – it was a warm Melbourne Autumn night so sitting outside was very pleasant – when I saw Nathan Maxwell walk past so I had a fan moment and accosted him at the bar to buy him a beer. I tried to impress him with how far I’d traveled to see them, realized I was carrying on like an asshole and eventually we sat down with my friends and discussed everything from Californian red wine to the sights of Chapel Street. He’s a hell of a nice guy and eventually wandered off to sound-check. I saw him later, he watched the entire Currency set from the midst of the audience chatting with people and soaking up the atmosphere. Half an hour later he was bathed in sweat playing his ass off as I was once again blown away by the power of Flogging Molly’s rhythm section (this was in fact my main recollection from last time I saw them – just how tight they had the rhythm section which is of course the heart of Irish music – without rhythm, how can you dance?).
Anyway, highlight number 2 had to be the encore, Dave King came out and played through the verses of Black Friday Rule with his acoustic guitar – it was magic with the crowd singing along – and then when the rest of the band joined in for the mad finale, it was truly awesome.
Throughout the show, the band were beaming, they’d found a home away from home with a manic fan-base, and this was only the Thursday night show – it wasn’t even sold out which the Friday one is – it’ll be off the planet tonight for sure, its just a shame I will be on a plane when they take the stage again, still I feel privileged to have experienced this show, definitely one of the best I have ever attended.
Review By: Alex Kiwi Dean
Its very rare that overseas acts ever live up to the expectations or the hype that surrounds them when they come to Australia. For some reason, it appears all too common for European and American bands to think that they can come down here and dominate the market, even with a mediocre live performance. Such has been my experience on many occasions.
Nevertheless, I had heard good things about tonight’s show, and looked on in keen interest. I arrived at about 9.30pm as local act Bagster opened up the night. I’ve seen these guys many times, and each time they seem to get a little tighter, and their set more cohesive. I cant help but think that they sound very much like Reel Big Fish, which is not really my thing – nonetheless, they are relatively entertaining and tight, and combine power-pop and punk riffs with horns..
Soon after the beer began to flow more freely, and the crowd seemed to loosen up a little as The Go Set took to the stage. I had heard good things about these guys, but never managed to get out and catch them when they’ve been in town. The seem to be touring all the time, and after watching tonight’s set, the road time is obvious. The Go Set combine some traditional Australian and celtic folk influences with Clash inspired punk, and they do it well. Songs about Australian history, war, and sailing the seas made these guys the perfect support for the McKenzies. They were tight, aggressive, self assured, and singer J.Keenan engaged the crowd for interaction continuously. Matthew McNasty and a couple of the other McKenzie lads climbed up on stage for a couple of songs, which was a highlight of the night. These guys are definately on their way to bigger things.
A short break, and The Real McKenzies hit the stage with an energy never before seen at the Empire. These guys blasted into their set with a series of songs from their new album Oot and Aboot. Highlights were Bone’s amazing guitar work on ‘Cross The Ocean’, and of course ‘The night the lights went out in Scotland’. The McKenzies had, by now, worked the crowd into a moshing frenzy, and included a number of older tracks such as “Bitch off the Money” and ‘Nessie” from their Lochd and Loaded album. Each of the members of this band are amazing players, and Paul McKenzies is one of the most intense and engaging front men I have ever seen.
I recently read a review of ‘Oot and Aboot’ that rated it as an ‘average’ punk rock album. Obviously this reviewer has never seen this band live. Tonight was one of the best shows I’ve seen in years, and for $17 a ticket it doesnt EVER get any better than this. When Paul McKenzie sang “MacPhersons Farewell”, the friendship and bond that had been developed between these bands and with the audience, through a booze soaked and sweaty pub room, was as thick as blood. A member of one of the band’s had told me earlier in the night that seeing the Real McKenzies live was a life-changing experience – he was’nt far off the mark. Sooner or later, Australians will catch on to this, and when they do more people will experience what these select few experienced tonight.
Review by Matthew Burke Punk Australia Zine
I totally lucked out on this show. I just happened to be up in Vancouver, when I noticed The Dreadnoughts were scheduled to play at the infamous Railway Club that very same night. I recently picked up their fantastic debut album “Legends Never Die” and was blown away. Now, when I say fantastic, I mean to say Fan-fucking-tastic!
While cruising the streets of downtown Vancouver, I played the album for a friend of mine. He instantly muttered something along the lines of “The Dreadnoughts??? These guys kick fucking ass, man! Let’s go! ” Eventually, we arrive at the gig, walk up to the bar and order some drinks. Turn around, and watch one of the opening bands. To be honest, I could not tell you who they were. I didn’t really care. We decide to hang out at the bar and wait it out. Shit… Another forgettable opening band. Then eventually, another, and another, another… It’s starting to get late. The drinks are slowly catching up to us… We begin to wonder if there’s been a mistake.
Then I hear a familiar voice. It sounds like that guy (Nick) from Siobhan. (Great band, btw!) and current mastermind behind the Dreadnoughts. We walk up and say hello. After a pint or two, Nick finally stumbles up from the bar and gets ready for the gig. We figure the Dreadnoughts deliberately took as long as possible so everyone present would be a drunken mess, and ready to party. I think the plan worked, because I was literally shaking in anticipation. If these guys sound anything even remotely close to the album, I’d be a happy fucking camper.
Boom, off they go. The Railway literally starts bouncing. It’s a sea of drunken scallywags. The music is soaring, the crowd is roaring. In a matter of moments the entire place has gone insane. Tables and chairs are knocked over. Folks are flying atop the crowd. The building is going to crumble. You can see people trying to protect their pints by holding them in the air. It’s no use, the beer is spilt in every direction, every second or two. The entire club is a drunken mess. By about the second or third song, dancing in the middle of the mayhem, I’m covered in beer, sweat, and god knows what else, and I’m loving every moment of it. As a matter of fact, we all are!
I give no effort in remembering the set list. Fuck that, I’m having too much fun. I’m too loaded anyway. Tonight is all about watching a brilliant band tear the roof off. The sound these guys make over the course of the night is amazing. The energy is almost unmatched. I have seen a few shows in my day, and I will say this… The Dreadnoughts have “it”… And, if you have to ask what “it’ is, I’d suggest seeing them for yourself and you’ll find yer answer…
Holy shit. Get the album “Legends Never Die” and pray to whatever God you believe in, that the Dreadnoughts will hopefully go on tour near your town!
Review by: Barnacle “Man in trees” Brian
The Beachcomber is really my kind of bar, having a mix of all the right ingredients for a perfect dive; including a multi-decade history of Irish and Celtic-inspired entertainment, a cheap and crappy pizza that was the best food on earth at a blurry 11:30 PM, and a decent stage area that can hold a larger band of six or seven.
And it was that stage was the whole point of the evening. A four-band bill with Neck headlining could’ve been held anywhere and turn out awesome. It just so happens that it was here, and it did.
The show opened with The Swaggering Growlers who set the pace for the evening with some good energy despite the fact that the audience was still arriving. Their set was comprised of some material from forthcoming recordings, some covers, and a decent-sized handful off of their (highly recommended, by the way,) CD, “THE BOTTLE AND THE BOW,” including two of my favorites off of that release, “Greetings (from the Unemployment Line,)” and “Dover Tenement.”
The following act was The Beantown Boozehounds, who I was unfamiliar with prior to the evening. Their sound was a far more straight-ahead punk sound with dalliances into the Celtic influence only on a few songs and due almost solely to the inclusion of the mandolin by one of the band’s two guitarists. Each song the band played came off tight, solid and rockin’ and as the crowd had grown considerably by this set, (to include a number of obvious fans of the Boozehounds, regurgitative and rowdy,) they upped the ante of the evening further.
The third act of the evening was The Gobshites, who, (after a bit of mopping up of the sprayed beverages from a particularly demonstrative Boozehounds fan,) took the stage as if they owned the place. Their noise was huge and wide with a full-boat of trad. instruments and a big bag of variety about their songs. I knew that the band toured furiously, but I hadn’t seen a full set from these guys before. I was fully impressed.
By the time Neck came on, it had already been a great night. Mr. O’Keeffe and co. sounded the balls as they tore through some stuff from their awesome SOD ‘EM & BEGORRAH, (“I Turn My Face to the Four Winds,” and “Every Day’s St. Patrick’s Day,”) as well as material from some earlier recordings, (like “Topless Mary Poppins” and “Hello Jakey!,”) some songs from a forthcoming release, (“Come Out Fighting” and “Ourselves Alone,”) and some impossible-not-to-include songs, (like “Star of the County Down” and “Everybody’s Welcome to the Hooley.”) The band even threw out a bit of the ol’ céilí music for a professional step dancer in the audience, (the sister of yours truly,) if only for a moment or so. Had a survey been taken at the end of the night, everyone in attendance would have agreed the evening was one metric shitload of fun all around.
As one of the biggest, and most highly regarded and respected bands in the genre, a Neck show is not one to be missed. This show was no exception. All the supporting acts were in excellent sound and Neck kicked some serious arse. Everybody was great, approachable, and ego-free, and I had a fantastic night with a few pints of black, meeting some new friends and hearing some of the best music made.
Review by Christopher P. Toler, THE Blathering Gommel
I’ve been a fan of The Pogues and have been going to their shows since the mid 80’s. Holy shite! I was going to write a review of their show last year in Las Vegas, but I didn’t get the chance. I’m glad about that now, however, because I just saw one of their best gigs ever. No shit.
Here is what happened…..
I was on tour with my band (The Mahones), and had a night off from our St. Paddy’s tour of the USA and Canada when we happened to land in DC the night of The Pogues show there. We drove from Virginia, where we had played the night before, and scrambled to get passes – we did thanks to some of our friends. We got there just as the first pick hit the strings. Perfect timing.
Then lads blasted out of the gates with ‘Streams of Whiskey’, ‘If I should Fall from Grace with God’, ‘The Broad Majestic Shannon’ and ‘Turkish Song of the Damned’. Four direct blows to the face that left us all hot and sweaty in no time! Next up was the classic ‘A Pair Of Brown Eyes’, and Shane had everyone in the crowd arm-in-arm singing “and a rove and a rove…”. The vibe was now set for the night. The old classic ‘Dark Streets of London’ was next – the boys were now dipping into the very old stuff. Fuckin’ fantastic and it just gets even better with age, I’ll tell you that much !!
Up next is the band’s other front man, Spider. He pulled out their big hit ‘Tuesday Morning’ and got the crowd rocking! Shane then returned for ‘Sayanora’, (one of Hell’s Ditch’s best) and then made his way into an acoustic version of ‘Kitty’ off Red Roses for Me. The band then returned in full force to get to get the ball rollin’ (yet again) with ‘Sunny Side of the Street’. At the point, the house was nothing but smiles, as if we all knew that this gig was a special one – even the band themselves were all smiling. I must say, the lads are looking fantastic in their fedora hats and cool suits. Crazy!!
Next up was ‘Repeal of the Licensing Laws’ (an old original instrumental by Spider), which is a classic Irish Punk jam that has not only set the template for Irish Punk as we know it today, but is covered by many bands. Amazing. Maybe one day they will do ‘the Battle March’ ? Anyways, Shane then returned with ‘Body of an American’ and ‘Boys of the County Hell’…and the place went nuts. It’s not over yet folks!
Spider then took center stage again for a cool acoustic number call ‘Love You Til’ the End’. Now, I thought this was a new song, but my friends tell me it’s not. Anyways, this song was a great track and had radio hit written all over it. Very cool indeed. Where is it from?
Next up is Phil Chevron. I never really knew about Phil and his other work in the past, but always knew he wrote the classic ‘Thousands are Sailing’, which should be a play, by the way. As a musician, I never thought much of his guitar playing (I’m a Pete Townsend fan), but after seeing The Pogues in Las Vegas last year with a stand-in guitarist, I have definitely changed my tune. Not only is he a great guitarist, and the only guitarist for The Pogues, at that, he is the heart of the band !! Welcome back Phil. You were missed more than you know.
Shane returned once again to take the band home. The old classic ‘Greenland Whale Fisheries’, the audience favorites ‘Dirty Old Town’, ‘Bottle of Smoke’ and ‘Sick Bed of Cuchulainn’ were blasted out to bring this show to its finale – and what a finale it was. The crowd went wild as if Ireland had just won the World Cup (one can dream) and off they went! You know they are coming back:) !
There they were, hands in the air, like the champs they were that night. ‘Sally Maclennane’ blasts out of the PA system and the place goes ape shit. I was lifted off of the ground but I just didn’t care. Beer was flying through the air and I could not have been happier. What a party! Next up was my personal favorite, ‘A Rainy Night In Soho’. This song in the most romantic song in the world and it comes from The Pogues. Go figure (I actually got on my knees and proposed to my wife Katie while they were playing this live in Las Vegas 2 years ago). Love that fucking song! Wow! Sorry got sidetracked…Where was I ? Oh Yeah, then came one of the best Irish Traditional songs ever, ‘The Irish Rover’ a.k.a ‘The Dog’. What a great ending. Off they went again like the fucking Kings they are, and yes, the crowd was still going nuts. Yeah baby !!!!
Well, guess what?! The shows wasn’t over yet! Out they came again, this time with Andrew Rankin up front, and off they went into that old trad classic ‘Star of the County Down’. Andrew sings like Tom Waits on Jamesons, and the Darryl Hunts Gibson SG slow bass groove shook us to the bone. Master musician Terry Woods and multi-instrumentalist Jem Finner picked out the melody with precision and were off! Shane returned to center stage, this time to do ‘Paddy On the Railway’. This song is so much fun to enjoy from the mosh pit, with its slow verses and fast choruses – its like a self-contained party concealed in one song, and one of my favorite traditional Irish songs of all time. Then, the shit hit the fan one last time, and it was time to Fiesta! Jem pulled out the saxophone -people were jumping, spinning and throwing the last of their drinks in the air as if the New Years ball had just dropped in Manhattan. You should have seen James Fearnley throwing that accordion around! Punk accordion like you wouldn’t bel ieve! It was like a bomb went off. With one last wave good-bye, the band was off. What a fucking show! I was standing there at that point covered in beer, soaked in sweat, kind of drunk, and happier than a pig in shit. Now that’s what I call a concert! No ‘White City’, ‘Young Ned of the Hill’ or ‘Fairytale of New York’…but it doesn’t matter. Best fucking gig ever. Hell Yeah !!!!
Now listen up Paddy Punks: all I can say is that there is no question that The Pogues are the best Irish Punk band in the world and always will be. I’ve seen all the bands including The Dropkick Murphy’s, Flogging Molly, and my favorites, The Mahones (shameless plug lol) etc……., but none of them even come close to the talent and the songwriting of these crazy bastards from Ireland. Terry Woods once told me that The Pogues should get back together and take their crown back. Thank God they did. Not only have they taken back their crown, but they have their heavyweight belts to boot. “The Irish Punk Clash”. No one is better or more important to this genre of music. So, please don’t break up again lads. We need The Pogues in this crazy world more than ever now. Thank you for a great show. Can’t wait until then next one. The Kings have returned, and long live the Kings. Cheers to that !!!!
Review by: Finny McConnell – Singer, Guitarist and Songwriter for The Mahones