Tag Archives: AMADAN

Amadan, McGnarley’s Rant – Kells Irish Pub, Portland, OR (March 16, 2002)

On Saturday, I stumbled downtown into the chaotic Kells Pub.On my way to one of the three (four?) tents that the pub had set up for music, I heard bagpipes playin’ everywhere (a good thing!), saw way too many of those goofy Jamison’s green and white “cat in the hat” style hats, and people in Notre Damn Fightin’ Irish sweaters asking me where the green beer was. I usually avoid this part of town anytime near Paddy’s Day, but, today there were a few bands that I wanted to see, and they were playing one right after the other.

Amadan took the stage at 6 o’clock and began their set with mostly songs from the excellent new album “Sons Of Liberty” such as ‘The Republic, Back Home In Derry, Morrisons-Cadence To A Drunken Arms Deal” They also did a few covers from The Pogues, such as “Rain Street”, Dropkick Murphys, “Good Rats” and even did “Will Ye Be Proud” that was cut straight from the cloth of a Real McKenzies kilt! The (older) sober crowd seemed like they each had an eyebrow raised, and were studying this band on stage. It was too early and most of the “Crusties” weren’t out yet! A damn good show anyway!

Then McGnarley’s Rant came aboard, and they had a hard time with the still sober crowd. By the end of their set, folks were more becoming loud, and loose, and finally began to dance. This band has been on the road since Jan. 4th, and still had the energy to produce a kick ass set. The lead singer, “Shameless” Tipsy McGnarley looked possessed most of the time, and the fiddler, Sally “MacIennane” McGnarley galloped back and forth across the stage. The rest of the band was just as solid. If these lads, & (lass), ever come to your town, go to the show! A big thanks to the band for that Swingin’ Utters song! (I was that guy screaming and clapping!)

Review by Brian Gillespie

Amadan: Pacifica

Is the word masterpiece too much?

I have been listening to Amadan for roughly 6-7 years now. In those 6-7 years, I have seen Amadan progress from a traditional cover band into something way beyond this genre we call Celt-Punk, and I must say, it’s like a breath of fresh air. Not that there’s anything wrong with hearing random traditional songs done by numerous folk-punk bands, but it was time to push it a bit further, and in my opinion, Amadan’s “Pacifica” has done just that.

At a recent footy match, I ran into Eric Tonsfeldt (Songwriter/Guitarist/Vocalist). He told me Amadan had an album release party the next night in Eugene, Oregon and invited me to go. (I obviously was in on that road trip!) Just so you know, Eugene is about 100 miles away, and the drive provides a perfect opportunity to listen to a new album or two. So there I was, spontaneously reviewing an album as the principal songwriter provided details about the album as we drove toward a record release party. (That has to be a S’n’O first! )

Upon first listen, the music is beyond any comparison. Nothing, and I mean nothing else sounds like their new album. If you have heard “Hellbent”, then you may be on the right track, but you’re still not even close. As I have previously mentioned, “Pacifica” is not a folk-punk album, it’s way beyond that.

Considering the vast amount of musical space “Pacifica” covers. I will try to provide a track by track itinerary. We start out with “The Old North End” It’s a rockin’ little ode to Portland’s seedy Old Town. Google Shanghai tunnels for a more detailed account, after a few spins, you’ll be singing right along.
With “Anchor Tattoo” it gets even faster, and in a nutshell could almost describe the sound of the band, (Well almost.) If your foot isn’t tapping to this little ditty, you should seek medical attention.
“Not Your Man” is more or less the audio form of bible-thumping repellent. Fantastic lyrics, & amazing musicianship. We reflect on certain people of our past In “Used To Know” and speaking of people from our past, you need to take a listen to the next track, “Serenity” (Quite possibly, my favorite track on the album.)
The 1-2-3 punch of “Pishi”, “Coming Home” & “Mescaline” will simply blow you out of the water. This manic medley starts out as an instrumental, peaks in the middle, and suddenly breaks down back to level ground. If you’re looking for some orchestrated mayhem check out this trifecta. Up next, it’s the old standard “The Leaving Of Liverpool” done Amadan style. This song originally appeared on their first album/demo “Sons Of Liberty” but this version is better, way better!
Up next is “Damn This!” Someone sounds a little cynical and needs another beer… Speaking of good times, the next track is “Devil In The Kitchen” and if you thought Ashley MacIsaac annihilated this traditional song, you need to hear fellow Canadian, Naoyuki Ochiai’s blistering version. The fiddle playing is so god-damned fast, I partially blame Amadan for global warming. On a serious note, the album ends with “Devolution Now” A much needed rant towards religious oppression. A rant worth mentioning. A rant worth listening to. And an album worth every penny.


Review – Barnacle Brian

Amadan: Hell-Bent 4 Victory

Hell-Bent 4 Victory…I knew it was coming, I just had no idea it would be this good! What a surprize! I have to admit, I haven’t seen Amadan in quite awhile, so I had no idea what was in store for me when I first played the album. The sound is much more full on “Hell-Bent 4 Victory.” In fact, the album sounds nothing like their debut release: “Sons Of Liberty.” Somewhere down the line, The Amadan guys decided to plug in a guitar, and turn the volume up. They also added a full drum kit, a little bit o’ banjo, and some squeezebox action to their sound. It’s amazing to hear how much they’ve grown from their debut album to now.Truth be told, I’ve been listening to it for a full week, and can’t wait to see them live again. (They’ll be opening up for The Real McKenzie’s next month.)

The entire album is solid, from track 1 all the way to 12. Don’t believe me? go check out the Amadan website! Click on the two minute samples and you’ll soon be in complete agreement with me. Ten bucks says you’ll say “holy shit” at least once, possibly twice, and if not I still won’t pay up because i’ll know you’re lying! I’ve been trying to decide which songs stand out more than others, and it took me while, considering all of them are equally as good. I like the upbeat “Nevr 9to5” or the guest vocals of Paddy Buckley (f/Grafton Street & The Pagan Jug Band) on the semi-traditional “Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shores”. “Rhyme Of Remittance Man” was another standout. I also need to mention the last song on the album; “Horseshoes & Handgrenades”.

So there you go, a fan-fucking-tastic album that was recorded right here in Portland. Enjoy!

March 2004

Review By Brian Gillespie

Amadan: Sons Of Liberty

Amadan, is Irish Gaelic for “Madness” or “The Fool”. So if you didn’t know what that meant before, you do now. This six-piece band Amadan, certainly has a plate of madness to bring to the dinner table. The lads hail from Corvallis, Oregon (A college town with a bad basketball team! just kidding!) One listen to the album, you can hear many different musical influences blended together and served up perfect. As the Amadan recipe explains: add a pint of guitar/vocals, 1.5 oz of didgeridoo, bodhran, 1 wee cup o’ dhoumbec, congas, 2 tbs of some bad ass bass, a “sprig” of rippin’ fast fiddle, heat, then add some spoons, more congas, penny whistle, mouth, and snare drum. Shake, stir, and serve to a rowdy crowd…Fists in the air and backs against the wall!

Most noticeable throughout the album to me is the Didgeridoo, which adds a whole new angle. On the track “Tell Me Ma” we have some smooth conga-bass-pennywhistle solos. “The Republic” simply starts with some acoustic guitar, the didgeridoo, fiddle, & congas, and then a solid groove picks up the tempo, as Eric’s vocals pick up the pace. The message in this song is quite clear, and a good example of what message the band is trying to get across. I really, really like this version of “Back Home In Derry.” And don’t forget “The Leaving of Liverpool”. A great debut album that should be added to CD collections worldwide!

April 2002

Review by Brian Gillespie