Tag Archives: The McGillicuddys

THE TOWN PANTS, THE MCGILLICUDDYS -Shite’n’Onions CD release party -The Limerick Junction, Vancouver BC (September 30, 2006)

Vancouver isn’t that far away from Boston I guess.
The whole night could have been schizophrenic, maybe the club wanted to cover their bases–the poster was billing the show not only as a Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day event but also the west coast CD release for the Shite’n’Onions “What the Shite” Vol. 2 CD compilation of Celtic rock bands of which British Columbia gets two entries with Vancouver’s The Town Pants and Victoria’s The McGillicuddy’s.

And on the same weekend that the Dropkick Murphys, Bad Religion, Rancid and Billy Bragg were all in town doing concerts all over the city, it didn’t lessen the turnout for an audience of at least 300 people that packed into the relatively small confines of the recently opened Limerick Junction, which was previously the Gastown punk-rock bastion The Brickyard. The night started up with The MCGILLICUDDY’S. Despite that the band doesn’t come over to Vancouver from the Island that often, they certainly had a few vocal fans out to see them including a pretty loud mowhawked guy in an Exploited t-shirt. McGillicuddy’s singer Mike Walker has learned a trick or nine from Mike Ness’ vocal style and the band (with requisite cute girl bassist) raced through a pretty solid set with songs from their “Kilt By Death” CD which includes “On the Rocks” featured on the Shite’n’Onions comp. They played a couple of covers including “If I Should Fall From Grace with God” and “The Leaving of Liverpool” and halfway through the set drummer Brent Restal drum pedal broke which forced Walker to tell a long joke to buy time to fix the drums, and they lost a bit of momentum but got it back quickly enough. Later on, Walker bashed Arsenal football club and made some soccer references I didn’t get. Maybe the British folks in the audience got it? The McGillicuddys tried to stir up some good natured trouble with some banter of Vancouver/Victoria rivalry, but I think the McGillicuddy’s made some new fans here in Vancouver and any band that has their amps speaker fabric replaced with tartan deserves points.

After a pretty quick changeover it was The Town Pants turn. This being their first local show in months after a long tour back east, the hometown crowd was certainly there to see them and the dance floor was filled and pretty lively from the beginning.
While the McGillicuddys play Celt music with a more punk style, The Town Pants play Celtic rock with a roots edge. More a rock band employing a folk style than the other way round, they have their own distinctive sound, a sort of folk n’ roll.
Their first show back in some time, they played like there was no tomorrow and though the sound system’s heavy bass emphasis of the sound was at times unkind to the banjo and tin whistle, but the band was obviously more interested in getting the audience moving than displaying so much instrumental subtlety. The group started with “The Weight of Words” which is the track included on the Shite’n’Onions compilation, a song that with Ryan Robbins sitting in on dijeridoo gives it an Australian spaghetti western type rhythm to it.

The Town Pants stormed through favorites like “Monahan the Mutineer” and even a cover of Steve Earle’s “Galway Girl”, joined by a new bass player and a drummer who played like hell but looked oddly out of place with a ball cap on. The heavy bass PA sound was unkind to the banjo and tin whistle but it didn’t deter the Keogh Brothers from singing and strumming like possessed Everly Brothers on speed, and Aaron Chapman delivering some pretty funny stage banter between songs and his tinny-tootlings on the whistle. The group brought out some special guests to play with them, again with a very animated Ryan Robbins from Hellenkeller who danced around between dijeridoo bursts like a drunken witchdoctor and later a surprising appearance by Battlestar Galactica actor Aaron Douglas, who apparently is a Town Pants fan. Douglas stepped out on stage for to sing along for a song. I half expected to see the X-Files smoking man or that MacGyver guy from Stargate be the next special guest–that’s “Hollywood North” for you. Either way all present were clearly having a good time. Maybe it was the shocking amount of drinks some audience members were buying the band and bringing up to the front of the stage? Though I wondered how many the band really got to drink. I saw a lot of the dancing audience members bumping into drinks trays and accidentally knocking them over as they were being carried to the stage. Whoever mopped the floor at the end of the night must of had to stay late.

The whole audience was a pretty generous mix of college crowd, punkers, rockabilly types, and even some older folks…Towards the end of the night I saw a bunch of guys that looked like Rugby players in Dropkick Murphys shirts showing up to the bar and hang around at the front. I guess the show had sort of become the unofficial after party for the Dropkicks show, and they we’re singing along to the Town Pants songs no less hoarse from the show they’d just been to.

I had to split to get up early for work in the morning and the last thing I saw as I headed out the door was seeing that Mowhawked Exploited fan I’d seen earlier in the night making out with a cute girl wearing a Town Pants shirt. And the sight made for a perfect summation of the good vibes going on amongst both the Town Pants and McGillicuddy’s fans and everybody there in for a pretty great night of Celtic rock and roll.

Review by Ray Stonehouse

the McGillicuddys – Crannóg Brewery Beltaine Festival, BC, Canada (May 3, 2003)

Driving 10 hours for one show isn’t anybody’s idea of fun, but I’d been committed to seeing the McGillicuddys at Crannóg’s Beltaine festival since the fall. I was in Seattle for a Timbers soccer match the night before, so it was only really eight hours driving. OK, eight hungover hours, that last few pints of Beamish in Clancy’s in Wallingford had sealed my fate. Within a few minutes of my arrival at the Crannóg brewery I had a pint in hand and began the healing process.

I can’t think of a better place for a Pogues influenced band to play than the source of inspiration, the very brewery itself. Crannóg Ales, Canada’s only certified organic farmhouse brewery, brew Irish style ales, and played host to the McGillicuddys on their recent tour of Western Canada. Crannóg brewer Brian MacIsaac’s knot-work mural on the brewery door was the ideal back drop for the Victoria Celtopunks.

The ancient Celts celebrated the coming of spring on Beltaine with rituals to celebrate fertility. Appropriately enough Morag the cow in a adjoining field was about to give birth writing the McGillicuddys into punk history as the first band to play for a pregnant cow.

Fueled by Crannóg Back Hand of God Stout, Red Branch Irish Ale and Beyond the Pale Ale, the McGuillicuddys played two sets of original, traditional, punk, and trad songs to a select crowd set against the Shuswap mountains. The black-clad five piece, with accordion, guitar, bass, drums, male and female vocals, and whistle transported the crowd to a mythical smoky pub with brawling songs of drink, hard livin’ and hard lovin.’ Opening with Roaring Jack’s “Buy Us a Drink” the McGillicuddys played songs from last year’s Kilt By Death album and hard hittin’ new material such as “A Dozen Pints,” a drink-your-ex-off-your-mind anthem. “Let it Rain,” an ode to the pub-spent days of London winter, “So let it rain/Let it flood away the pain/Wash away my sins/ so I can start tomorrow clean again,” rings as true on the Cascadian Raincoast as on the eastern shore of the Atlantic.

McG’s frontman Mike Walker’s repeated requests for whiskey lead me to break out the Balvenie that I’d gotten at duty free (gotta love the buy six bottles get $10 off card). A punky version of “Nancy Whiskey,” was my just reward. After a whiskey intermission the McG’s embarked on their second, more raucous set. Tossing in covers from the Nips “Gabrielle,” Cock Sparrer “Riot Squad,” to Richard Thomson’s “1952 Vincent Black Lightning,” and a fistful of trad songs, the McGillicuddys showed their range of influence, finishing with the Clash’s “White Man in Hammersmith Palais.”

The drive back the next day was soothed by the memories of the night before. The McGillicuddys had proved well worth the trek.

By Abram “Boyo from the Bog” Goldman-Armstrong

Shite’n’Onions: What the Shite

What can I say really? Unless you’re dead, there’s no real reason not to own this compilation… S’n’O II contains some of the best up and coming Celt-Punk (Or whatever) bands out there. Some of them you may know, and some of them you probably won’t. Containing 20 tracks from 18 of the best bands of the “genre” What The Shite is pretty much the ultimate mix tape ever. I seriously haven’t been able to finish any other reviews because this bad boy won’t leave my CD player. (Trust me, that IS saying something.) To say the least, I was surprised (and proud) when S’n’O Volume I came out. Ol’ Murph certianly had an ace card up his sleeve for that one. Shite’n’Onions Volume II is even better! An effin’ royal flush, folks!

Track One is called “Drunken Sailor” & it comes from the Blaggards. You might have heard the song “Drunken Sailor” before, but within two seconds of hearing this version you’ll agree this is one of the better versions out there. (Shay Given approved)

Up next is “Hogjaw” from Jackdaw. it’s a damn same I live so far away from these guys, because from what I’ve heard, Jackdaw’s live show will blow the roof off. Turn up the volume to 11 if you’d like an instant skylight for your home.

Three’s a charm, as they say. The Go Set hails from the shores of Australia, and instantly became of of my favorite bands, and “Sing Me A Song” is a great example. If you like DKM’s “Do Or Die”, you’ll love this!

Track 4 is reserved for The Kissers – “Kicked In The Head” Less than a week ago, The Kissers came through town, and all night long I screamed at the top of my lungs “You Bastards! Play Kicked In The Head!!!” As I’m sure anyone within 5 blocks could tell you that night, I’m a big fan of the song. I’m an even bigger fan of the band, even if their squeezebox player beat me at pool… (The table was crooked.)

Number 5 is for all those Cow-Punks out there. “Pub With No Beer” by Boston’s own, Three Day Threshold. What do they sound like you ask? Just imagine a drunken paddy punk with a boombox on his shoulder atop a galloping horse in full stride across the wild west trying find a sixpack before the pubs close outta do it…

Track 6: “Plastic Paddy” is also on “Liquordale” by The Peelers. it’s also S’n’o’s pick for 2004’s album of the year, and rightfully so, Let me guess, I no longer need to convince you any longer right?

On track number 7 there’s a song called “Blackheart” by Jugopunch. To be honest, I haven’t heard them before. So just so you know, I too will be purchasing an album from them. Wanna race?

Tracks 8 & 9 contain a 1-2 punch courtesy of Larkin. The left jab is called “My Day Of Reckoning” and the right upper cut is called “The Devil & I” If you’re a Southpaw, I apologize, just switch it around a bit! I think I can safely say that Larkin are atop the favs list here at S’n’O land.

Track 10 and 11 are from Mutiny. Aka: “Folk Punk For Punk Folk” If you’d like to hear some Aussie folk-punk with a slight case of scurvy, I highly reccomend listening to both “Struggle Town” & this unreleased version of “Drigging for Gold” All you scallywags out there will love ’em both.

12. The Gobshites – “Cheers” Do me a favor… get this album, go down to your local public house press the play button, grab a pint, hold it high, & cheer your mates. The Gobshites are playing, & good times are here!

Track 13 belongs to The Town Pants and their song “The Weight Of Words” I found out about The Town Pants from this very website, (Thanks, Murph!) The Town Pants recently released their best album to date, and this song is just a sample of what else is to come from a band I joking like to call “The Country Shorts” My god, that was just horrible…

#14 is IcewagonFlu’s “Trinity” not only do they provide the cover art folks, The multitasking Icewagon Flu also write some of the catchiest tunes this side of the pond. if you’re not dancing to this one, you don’t have a pulse.

Track 15. McGillicuddys “On The Rocks” The song isn’t excatly the newest track on the album, (2002) but who the hell cares, these guys are timeless. In fact, I’d love to hear another album from them soon. Check ’em out and get in line.

#16. Another band I need to hear more of are the Sharkey Doyles. “Kings Of The One Eleven” is a great introduction to a band I’ve been hearing alot about.

Track 17 comes to us all the way from England. “The Ballad Of Ali Abbas” from Warblefly. Let me tell you, I have all their albums, and can’t get enough of these guys. Top notch music, and without question, one of the best bands out there. A must have.

Track 18. The Pubcrawlers have come a long way. I remember hearing their demo a few years ago, and made a note to myself to keep an eye out for them. “My Brother Sylveste” proves to me that The Pubcrawlers have evolved into one of the best examples of Celt-Core out there…

Number 19. The Porters will make your jaw drop. German streetpunk covered from head to toe in Guinness. “Weila Weila” gets my vote for best sing-along of the album. If you enjoy this track wait until you hear “A Tribute To Arthur Guinness”

20. I was so excited to hear Barney Murray was making music again. The former lead singer of Blood Or Whiskey has returned to form with the previously unreleased “Troublesome Girl” I hope to hear from Barney, but I’ll take what I can get and be more than happy about it.

So there you have it. Shite’n’Onions Volume II – What The Shite… Look for it in your local record store, or better yet order it directly from the source.


Review By “Barnacle” Brian Gillespie

The McGillicuddys: Kilt To Death

Ya know, every time I turn my head away, another Celtic punk band from Canada, delivers a sucker punch! Right when we here at Shite’n’Onions think we have covered them all under our collective radar, another band sneaks up from behind with a giant left hook! That’s what The McGillicuddys did. They snuck up on me with their debut album, “Kilt To Death” and knocked me over with it. Upon first glance at the album, I notice they cover a Roaring Jack tune, “Buy Us A Drink”. I also notice they cover songs such as “Nancy Whisky”, and “The Leaving Of Liverpool”. With the vocals sounding a tad bit like Mike Ness, The McGillicuddys deliver a nice smooth overall sound. The band hailing from “very-British” Victoria, B.C., sure make it a point to show their Celtic roots proudly! (I’m jokingly knocking their hometurf, that features the snotty 3.30 tea-time, and those Union-Jack(off) double decker buses with all those tourists driving around the harbor. It’s my way of getting them back for that musical sucker-punch!)

Uh, sorry, back to the review! The lyrics in this album are something to point out. With the song, “The Ballad Of Will Munny” we get some very impressive lyrics covering the trials and tribulations of Will Munny. (the guy from the film, “The Unforgiven”) Or the song, “The Shakes” with it’s booze related theme. The McGillicuddys have a nice thing going on in the lyric department. Musically, they are on top of the game as well. On the original, “The Lady Owen” they break into the traditional dandy, “Rattlin’ Bog”. As far as traditional tracks on this album goes, my favorite has to be “Father Jack’s Favorite” (maybe they should change it to “Father Jack & Brian G’s Favorite”? Uh, never mind. The thought of me sharing anything other than a confession with a Priest is pretty fuckin’ scary!!)

If I had to complain about anything, it’d be the overall production. I can tell they sound better than the album allows them too sound. It’s not that the production is bad, it’s just that it could be better. I guess that means I’ll have to cruise up to Victoria, to see a live show, and harass all the “tea-timers” sippin’ away. Or maybe I’ll just piss on the side of those “Union Jack(off)” double-decker buses after a McGillicuddy’s gig!

May 2003

Review by Brian Gillespie