The Best of 2020 (and 2019)

I didn’t put out a best of 2019 list on St. Patrick’s Day 2020 and the whole world went to shite. So, in my attempt to fix the strange vortex we have been in since, here with no further ado is the Shite’n’Onions best of 2020 (and 2019)

The Top 6:

#1 The Go Set: Of Bright Futures….and Broken Pasts

#2 Greenland Whalefishers: Based on a True Story

#3 The Walker Roaders: The Walker Roaders

#4 The Real McKenzies: Beer & Loathing

#5 The Tan & Sober Gentlemen: Veracity

#6 Bodh’aktan: Ride Out The Storm

Best 30 Year Retrospective:

The Mahones: This Is All We Got To Show For It (Best Of 1990 – 2020)

Best Debut (single):

The Placks: Rebellious Son (7”)

Best Other Shite:

Flogging Molly – Swagger 20th Anniversary Edition

The Pogues ‎– BBC Sessions 1984-1985

The Radiators: Ghostown 40th Anniversary Edition

The Real McKenzies: Beer & Loathing

Beer and Loathing, is the new album from one of Celtic-punks oldest and longest running bands, the manic bagpipe wailing, Canadian-Scots punks, The Real McKenzies. Beer and Loading is a solid McKenzies album once you get beyond the dud of an opening track, Overton Bridge, i.e fast and punky with bagpipes and sounding just like The Real McKenzies.



Shite’n’Onions on Spotify

I know we all hate Spotify but sometimes if you can’t beat’em you have to join’em. So here is the official Shite’n’Onions playlist as it stands with 8 hours of the best Celtic-punk.

The Real McKenzies:Bone lifts his kilt to Brian McGillespie

(Brian McSporran) What’s been going on with the band lately? Any news from up North?
We have been busy breaking in a whole slew of drummers, only to find out that they’re all pussies who cant take a punch. But we found a guy who can take quite a few punches and a kick in the sack too. We’re going to take him to Europe with us this winter, then off to Austrailia, the United States in April, and back to Europe for the festival season. I reckon thats enough time to spend in the van with each other. Somewhere in there we’ll finish writing a new album.

(Brian McSporran)
2. Tell us about the origins of the band, and all that usual crap.

Paul and a guy by the name of Tony Walker started doing this in 1992, pretty much as a gag. It might have even been called Tartan Haggis. They were doing cover songs like I Wanna Be Your Scot, Do Ya Think I’m Scottish, and It’s My Party and I’ll Wear Plaid If I Want To. Obviously they had a lot of fun and kept at it. By the time I joined the band in 1999, they had ditched all the cheesy covers (thankfully), and we’re writing some great original music. Alot of people say the band got much heavier after Tony left and I joined. I guess that’s true, as I’ve always been a punk rocker and I’ve always liked me metal heavy.

(Brian McSporran)
3. If you guys are The Real McKenzies, who are The Fake McKenzies?

I dunno. This band was ten years after Bob and Doug McKenzie, which could technically put us in catagory B.

(Brian McSporran)
4. I know Robbie Burns is a huge influcence, tell us some of the others.

Andy Stewart (but not Rod), Harry Lauder, Kenneth Kellar, even the Irish Rovers for crissakes. But that’s only one side of the fence. The punk influences are too numerous to mention. Good scotch and a palateable ale, if not an influence, are definatley an incentive.

(Brian McSporran)
5. The Scotland flag I always take your concerts hasn’t been used for a while, should I be getting it ready for any upcoming tours?

Why, yes you should. You should also bust out the cots, cause we’ll be staying at your place.

(Brian McSporran)
6. Speaking of touring, where are your favorite places to play?

We enjoy playing everywhere, but some of the bands favorites are (of course) Scotland (in the Kingdom of Fife), and Austria and Germany are quite kind to us as well. We are hitting Ireland for the first time this winter, with a show in Belfast and Dublin. That I’m looking forward to, me being the token (toking?) Irishman in the band.

(Brian McSporran)
7. Speaking of favorite places, I know you have some upcoming Scotland dates, just how do the Scots react to you guys?

You just knew I was going to say Scotland didn’t you. The first time we played there, we played in a town called Leven. As we were walking to the club in our kilts to soundcheck, a group of 7 or 8 kids, no more than 8 years old, followed us at a blocks length and sang “Donald Where’s Your Trousers?” That night we were treated to a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue Label, and six crystal scotch glasses. The people there had a really fucking good time. I must make note though, that the only time someone has ever had the balls or audacity to say “Nice skirt faggot!”, was some dickhead in Dundee. Of course he yelled it from the other side of the street. Go figure huh? Only in Scotland.

(Brian McSporran)
8. What’s this I hear about your drummer, Brad Attitude leaving the band? Is this true? Or am I just in a drunken stupor? (Wait, don’t answer the drunken stupor part)

From my own drunken stupor, you seem pretty normal. And I think it’s your round. Anyway, Brad has indeed left the band, to look after other interests, but he is still involved somewhat. We’ll be doing a show with him at the end of November in Vancouver. We’ll have to see how the winds of the future blow the sails of the past, whatever the fuck that means.

(Brian McSporran)
9. You guys have been around for a long time, what’s your opinion on this “Celtic-Punk” genre?

I hate it and I wish it would just go away….no wait, that would be bad. It just makes sense, I think. Taking what was already rowdy, good time music, and adding some agression into it. I just think of it as modern. It’s the same sound of yesterday, with the great new style of today. Let me know when I’m being a goof.

(Brian McSporran)
10. Your latest effort “Oot & Aboot” is in my opinion, the best album to date, what made this album different from previous efforts?

Our last album, Loch’d & Loaded, was my first with the band. You can hear that difference on that album compared to the previous two, songwriting wise. Oot & Aboot was done over a month, where Loch’d & Loaded was done in like three days. The production is a big difference.

(Brian McSporran)
11.Help me feed my ego, What do you think of Shite’n’Onions? Is there anything we should improve on?

I think it;s one of a kind. It’s one place I can count on the bullshit rivalry that some people have drempt up between the bands involved in this particular vein of music, to never appear. The bands are recognised for what they are. Bands. I appreciate that. Nice layout as well. Your doin’ a damn fine job, Brian. (several pats on the back)

(Brian McSporran)
12. Thanks for the interview, any last words you need to get out?

I seriously meant it when I said that its your round.


The Real McKenzies: Empire Hotel, Sydney Australia – 19TH March 2004

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

The Real McKenzies and The Dwarfs – Berbati’s, Portland, OR (May 5, 2002)

The Real McKenzies remind all of us how cool it is to be Scottish! Once again, these guys put on a god damn fantastic show! I remember very little, my review notes became my beer coaster as soon as I stumbled to the bar before the show! I remember writing the band names and the date on it and that’s about it! I give you this review from sheer memory! So I am sure it will be a shorty. My O my, If you have not seen these bastards before, do so now, or be damned for all eternity! The Real McKenzies put the C in Ceilidh if you ask me. They were the second act in a three-band show, and made the most of the too short set, and the too small stage. They tore up the stage in a pure Highland kind of way, with absolute chaos and mayhem, complete with kilts, a bagpipe and lots of alcohol! I think I remember that they insulted the English queen mum, praised Robert Burns, and sang about the forgotten subject of Scottish independence!! In my opinion, Berbati’s sucks for live music. And the happy hour also sucks. I tell you, mentally, the barkeep is a few beers short of a six pack, or about as bright as a burned out light bulb, or as sharp as a bowling ball, if you ask me, (Who actually is?)

Uhh, I remember the lads played “Auld Lang Syne”, “Scot’s Wha’ Ha’e”, “Mainland”, “King O’Glasgow” (My Favorite), “Wild Cattieyote”, “Bitch Off The Money”, and more, but I must apologize…. Did I mention I got shitfaced and don’t really recall much? Go see these guys right now! Get into a car and follow them from show, to show. They will spit beer at you, jump on you, flash you, insult you! And you will love it, because it’s The Real McKenzies, and they are here to remind the world that the Scottish can kick your ass!!!

The Dwarfs were the headliners, and my head was lined with alcohol by that point! Great band! They played a really good show and that is all I can tell you. Sorry!

Review by Brian “Beerbong” Gillespie

The Real McKenzies – B Complex, Portland, Or (FEBRUARY 28, 2003)

I’ve been really lucky as of late. Every gig I have wanted to see has been on a weekend. The Real McKenzies show was no exception. The funny thing was I had to be reminded about the show by my local barkeep! After work I went down to my local Public House, (The Liberator plug-plug) and had a pint of our local stout. I was starting to make plans for the night when the bartender reminded me about seeing “another fuckin’ Celtic punk show.” I had forgot completely about the gig! I pulled a 180 outta my current plans in the making, and changed them for the concert.

The show was at The B Complex. An all-ages venue a few blocks from The famous Burnside Skatepark. We got to the show late, and didn’t really care about the opening band, The Flipsides. As we walked into the place, it was obvious all the Real McKenzie fans were way out of place. A couple of punks in kilts pacing back and forth waiting for the “good band” to play, but not knowing how to kill time without a bar around. It was actually kind of funny to watch. You could almost hear them talking to themsevles, “no bar-no fun”, or “I need a pint!” As it turns out the Real McKenzies showed up late, (up the street drinking, maybe?) and because of the venue, they had to drink water of all things on stage!! The guys started out with the typical bagpipe-drum-guitar trio, and we all rushed up to the front of the stage like Highlanders at The Battle of Stirling Bridge!! I’m pretty sure most of the people there had never heard of the band before, (or if they did, they didn’t show it.) The band played the usual set, but included a few new songs, like “Get Lost”, and a couple others I didn’t catch the name of. (The Real McKenzies will be releasing a brand spanking new album “Oot & Aboot” this May.) By the end of the set it was obvious they had made some new fans, because the pit grew larger, and larger, with alot of kids not knowing the words, or the songs. They simply just enjoyed what they heard, and were getting into the music. That part I was happy about. The other thing I was happy about was seeing those kilted bastards play again. The part I wasn’t happy about was the location, the other bands on the ticket, and the lack of beer!

After the very short set. I stuck around a while to see the band, Rise Against. They were okay, but not a way to spend a Friday night, if ya know what I mean. I absolutely wanted to be long gone from The B Complex before the headliners, The Mad Caddies, took the stage! I really don’t like the music much. Mainly because they call their music, Pirate-punk. An incorrect title that is nowhere near hitting a bulls-eye. Sure, they have a song “Weird Beard” on the album “Rock The Plank”, that is Pirate material, but the rest of the album is not. (If I am missing something, please let me know.) And when you play in around these parts, you better have yer scallywag on, or it’s “off with yer bluddie head!!”

A job well done by the Real McKenzies. I just can’t wait for them to have a long set, where they are the headliners, because they sure as hell deserve it, way more than those “poser-pirate” Mad Caddy bastards!!

Review by “Barnacle” Brian Gillespie

The Real McKenzies – Glasgow, Scotland (FEBRUARY 17, 2004)

We got there to see the band still unloading the merch and various swag from the back of the usual old beat up, manky tour van. All resplendent in stinky lookin kilts as ever, they seemed oblivious to the Glasgow chill us lesser mortals felt.

Theres sumthin about Barfly that annoys me, but i still cant put my finger on it. Maybe its the fact that they completely pointlessly give you a paper wristband thing to put on, AND stamp your hand with a stupid ink thing too. Or maybe its that fact that some idiot has decided NOT to allow us adults to buy anything but soft drinks in the bar downstairs where the bands play. Hmm, i wonder eh? Anyway,,,we got a drink upstairs then headed down to see what was what.

On came the first support of the evening, Scottish band The Alpacinos. Saw them support the McKenzies last year,and didn’t like them at all. They were much better this time,,,better sound too,but i just don’t get it at all.It just not for me. Why sound SO American? Some embarrassing onstage comments didn’t help i must say. They were quite well received all the same, although we went back upstairs before they finished.

By the time we got back downstairs, The Cherrykicks were halfway through their last song. I saw them support the Wildhearts in E’Burgh a while back, and thought they were ok. I described them to a friend as “The WIldhearts” without the tunes. I got an ep of theirs too,,which confirmed that thought. They ended their set by throwing the guitars down in a rock n roll fashion,and wandered off. Seemed to go down pretty well too.

The place was really pretty packed by this time, and before too long the McKenzies appeared onstage one by one. It seemed to take ages for them to get everything on the go,,as the singer walked around with various mike stands and stuff for some reason.

Then they were off!

Straight from the start,,,,,all 5 of them lined up on the wee stage, side by side, kilts and sporrans a swinging the drummer at the back. If I’d been a sad journo type id have written down the set list, but I’, not. So bite me! Suffice to say,,,it was first class from start to finish. These boys work hard let me tell you. And DRINK HARD TOO! Some of it (well,,,a LOT of it) is very silly indeed, but great fun. Its particularly funny to an ACTUAL Scotsman who plays in a Celtic rock/punk band (that’s me by the way) watching a bunch of Canadians giving it all things homage to Scotland. I love it all the same!

Songs about whiskey,,,Nessie,,,er,,whiskey,,,,,The Queen(Bitch Of The Money),,,er,,,,whiskey again,,,,

and rather controversially

“This song is dedicated to our favorite Scottish football team,,THE GLASGOW CELTICS”! (aye,,not CELTIC as it should be,,,but CELTIC’S, like the basketball team.) I heard a few groans from non Celtic fans,,,but that just made it all the more enjoyable in fact!

They battered through the songs at a fair old pace, and did quite a bit of their latest (and best I think) CD,,,”OOT AND ABOOT”! they featured their new drummer (Ike Ikelson I think?) who looked remarkably out of place,,in his wee national health rimmed glasses and all. Looked like Vic Reeves (UK Comedian) in fact! Seemed to be a very good drummer indeed though,,and even had a wee solo spot for a coupla minutes, Jeeez,,,a drum solo at a punk gig eh? Whatever next!

Well,,that would be the bagpipe solo in fact! Yep,,,the big piper had a couple of solo spots,and really is a very good piper indeed. In fact,,singer Paul proclaimed him as “probably the finest punk rock piper in the world”! High praise indeed, since there are er,,so MANY OF THEM?

Both guitarist were very good too, but the taller skinny one pulls more faces than Michael Jackson in a primary school cloakroom,,,and is tremendous to watch. The bass player is still the one who we always think looks like a wee boy in amongst men for some reason. He is perfectly capable but just looks”wrong”somehow.

We heard a few tirades against the Queen “and her fuckin useless jug eared son” (hehee,,,that one made me laugh actually) as well as some family memories and talk of how proud they were to be”home”! (Canada?) We also had the dubious pleasure of seeing his arse and male goods on numerous occasions too. Or “some cack ‘n balls” as he would say.

We managed to pass on a copy of some of our bands (The Electrics- http://www.theelectrics.com ) new album tracks to singer Paul before the show,, as well as a belt with a “Scottish And Proud” buckle, and a half bottle of “Real McKenzie” whiskey too! No,,really! He was VERY pleased with these things,and insisted on giving my mate Sammy a t-shirt, which he tried to refuse but eventually accepted in return.

We also got a 3 or 4 song encore,,including another pipe solo. They were about to play on,,but were told they were over the curfew time and had to go off. So,,not a very in depth gig review,,,but I’m already looking forward to next time! “SCOTS WHA HAE”!

Review by Jim Devlin

Various: Raise Your Pints

April 28, 2016

Making a mix tape or a comp CD is almost a lost art. Happy to say the art isn’t lost on Nico of MacSlons Irish Pub Radio. An amazing nineteen tracks in all and like all great comps it comes with old friends and a few friends you haven’t met before. Old friends include Kilkenny Knights, Flatfoot 56, The Real McKenzies and The Rumjacks. New friends include The Black Tartan Clan, Rovers Ahead and 1916. Check it out, you’ll too find some new friends.

Full tracklisting:
01. Kilkenny Knights – Raise your Pints
02. Rovers Ahead – Ghost Of Anne Reily
03. The Clan – Paddy‘s Day
04. The O`Reilys & The Paddyhats – Barrels of Whiskey
05. The Black Tartan Clan – Standing Strong
06. Scordisci – Birdie‘s Song
07. Airs & Graces – Troubles
08. The Ramshackle Army – The Fire is burning
09. The Real McKenzies – Catch me
10. Flatfoot 56 – Take Hold again
11. The Ceili Family – Alive
12. The Roughneck Riot – Parasites
13. The Rumjacks – No Pockets in a Shroud
14. Mr. Irish Bastard – Kingdom of the Sun
15. Creeds Cross – The Irish Band
16. In Search of a Rose – If You Got A Pint
17. Smokey Bastard – Archipelago
18. 1916 – For Whiskey
19. Bastards – Drink the City


The Real McKenzies: Oot & Aboot

First off, how ’bout those Warpipes, and thundering drums, on that last track “Taylor Made”? It’s a perfect example of a theory of mine… (and I’m sure about a million others before me, agree!) The theory is that the drums represent the heartbeat, and the bagpipes represent the soul, and when it’s done right, it’s simply an overwhelming feeling that hits you deep in the gut. You know you’re truly alive when you feel it. If you’ve ever witnessed up close a huge crowd of marching bagpipes and drums then you should know what I’m talking about. In my personal opinion, the last track, “Taylor Made” gave me that exact same feeling.That song could have lasted 10 – 15 minutes, and i’d still be happy with it. I ask all you reading this review to get the album “Oot & Aboot”, go home and turn up the volume to 50 and start with track 13. If you don’t get that feeling I’m talking about, then go far, far, away & shoot yourself, or better yet, lay down on some railroad tracks.

Sorry about that, got a wee bit carried away…On with the album review, if I had one word to describe the new album it would be, catchy. I mean that in a good way, mind you. I’m seriously impressed with the vocal melodies scattered throughout this new album. I’m also impressed with the overall sound on “Oot & Aboot” The dual guitars are clean, Paul McKenzie’s vocals are solid, and the bagpipes are interwoven perfectly, not to mention the bass and drums hold everything down like they should. You can tell they had some professionals in the studio with them this time, unlike some previous efforts in the past. Have I mentioned catchy yet?

“Oot & Aboot” starts out with a damn fine pirate number “‘Cross The Ocean” and in my book, every good Real McKenzies album MUST have at least one pirate tune on it.

“Droppin’ Like Flys” is more or less an ode to all the punk bands of the past. Speaking about the unfortunate and untimely deaths of Joey & Dee Dee Ramone (among others.)

“Ye Banks And Braes (O’ Bonnie Doon)” is one of the two traditional tracks on the album originally written by the master Scottish poet, Robbie Burns, it good to see another one of auld Rabbie’s poem’s alive and kicking again.

“Get Lost” is one of those catchy tracks on the album i’ve been talking about. It’s also one of the songs the lads played during the Fat Wreck Chords tour earlier this year.

“Lest We Forget” is a good follow up to “Get Lost” it’s like a one-two punch of how good the vocal melodys have become. If I heard everything right, I think it’s about women!

“Heather Bells” is another traditional ditty, it’s also one of the stronger tracks on the album, is more or less an ode to the Scottish homeland, an ode to a land that we long to be! I’m sure anyone displaced or homesick can relate to this track no matter where the homeland may be! Ahh! I need a vacation!

“Dance Around The Whisky” is the most folky tune on this album. Centered around an acoustic guitar, It’s a drunken sing-a-long about Scotch whisky. Complete with the background pub atmosphere. One of my favorites. It almost reminds me of earlier folky stuff off of “Clash Of The Tartans”

“Oot & Aboot” I hate to break it to all the Canucks reading this, but, YES! You do have an accent when you say Oot & Aboot!! Can I have some Canadian bacon and maple syrup now?

“Shit Outta Luck” The melody reminds me of “King O’ Glasgow” It also reminds me of alot about my luck lately! Is it unlucky to accidentally break a mirror on Friday the 13th? What the fuck? I’m shit outta luck!

“Jennifer Que” Hell yeah! the fastest, hardest-hitting track on the entire album. For the idiots that think the Real McKenzies have gotten soft. Take a listen to this one. This is how some of the older stuff would have sounded like if it was produced a little cleaner.

“Drink The Way I Do” (The same song that’s one the ecard that I emailed everybody with!) What happens when you drink the way I do? Simply put, a hangover, that’s what will happen.

“The Night The Lights Went Out In Scotland” April 16th, 1745. The Battle Of Culloden. The Scottish Jacobites were slaughtered by the English. The Jacobite rebellion was more or less brought to it’s knees, yet it’s still not forgotten. Fuck no, never forgotten! After the battle of Culloden, The Highlanders were eventually kicked off their lands, and forced to leave the only way of life they have ever known. At this moment, I raise my glass to those displaced Highlanders.

“Taylor Made” an instumental song using the instruments of war. – Hey Paul! Can you guys record a half-hour version of this track and send it to me? Hey Matt! Brad! Whaddya think??

September 2003

Review By Brian Gillespie