Shamrocks & Shenanigans Festival
The Colorado Belle and Edgewater continues to hold outdoor festivals along the Riverwalk for the spring season with a “Shamrocks & Shenanigans Festival” to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on Fri-Sat, March 17-19 (2 p.m.-10 p.m.) and Sun, March 20 (noon-7 p.m.). Live Irish music will flow from the Riverwalk Stage at the Loading Dock Bar & Grill thanks to two bands—Paddy’s Pig and Rebel Celts. Irish food and beverages will be served up at nearby booths. There is no charge to listen to the music; food and beverages are sold separately
The Loading Dock patio is a hot spot to claim a table to listen to the music and watch the crowds, however, you must check in with the podium inside the restaurant to get a table on the patio. The food and drinks served here are not the same as the items available at the booths on the Riverwalk (Loading Dock menu only).
The food menu at the Riverwalk booths near the Loading Dock Stage will feature:
•Plates—Fish & Chips; Bangers and mash with onion gravy; Iish stew (lamb, cabbage, carrots, potato); corned beef and cabbage;
•Desserts—Chocolate and mint cheesecake; chocolate cupcakes with Guinness chocolate icing.
•Beverages include Bud/Bud Light; wine; full service bar with premium and call drinks; Gatorade; watermelon shots; infused watermelon; and bottled water. There are souvenir glasses of “Legs” and “Flasks” that can be refilled for half price.
Prices for food and beverages are a la carte and range from $3 to $8 (excluding the souvenir glasses)
Here is more on the bands…
MORE ABOUT THE MUSIC
Rebel Celts combine Celtic sounds with punk, ska and reggae for a sound that is unique to them. They like the traditional, but with a twist and don’t be surprised if they mix things up a bit for the Shamrocks & Shenanigans Festival.
Hailing from Yucca Valley, California, the group is headed up by vocalist and guitar player Aaron Poland.
Irish festivals require Irish tunes—there’s just no way around it—and Paddy’s Pig serves up a large serving of lively renditions of traditional and original Irish and Celtic music. Their repertoire includes hornpipes, jigs, ballads and drinking songs.
They’ve entertained audiences all over Southern California at festivals, special events and more.
Equally at home playing barn-burners like “Irish Rover,” and the Pogues’ “Sally MacLennane,” or ballads like “He Fades Away,” and “She Moved Through the Fair,” and classic tunes like “Loch Lomand,” and “Whisky in the Jar,” Paddy’s Pig is all about engaging the audience in the fun, sometimes bringing that fun into the crowd, blurring the line between performer and festival participant.
Most recently, Paddy’s Pig has released a mostly original music 5-song EB entitled Rebel Tooth, as a follow up to their past two full-length CDs, Maple & Wire, and Do Your Worst.
We talked with lead vocalist Missy Gibson about the band and their music. Here’s her take…
Talk a little about your background and how the band came together.
Gibson: My grandmother was from Ireland. My mom certainly celebrated that culture. She loved Irish music, and from the time I was very young, she would take me to see Irish music all the time, which when I was a child I really rebelled against—because you don’t want to do the thing your mom wants you to do, right? I grew up in Detroit.
It’s sad because I didn’t start playing Irish music until after my mom died. She died when I was 26. In a way it was a little bit of a homage to her ’cause she always had this idea, me being a musician that I should play Irish music. When she passed away, it became really meaningful to me suddenly. I played in a band in Detroit called the Geezers. I just sat in with them, and sang three or four songs. I started to really enjoy it. Shortly thereafter I moved to Los Angeles with the idea that I would start an Irish band, along with all the other music projects I was doing. I met a guy named Mike Flanagan and he was a fellow musician and people were trying to tell me I should work with him in the rock context. I asked him, “You’re name is Mike Flanagan, you want to start an Irish band with me?” It just seemed perfect. Little did I know, he actually played mandolin, and penny whistle, but he’d never played Irish music. This was back in 1999, and we started playing together. We really enjoyed it. Every Sunday morning, we’d meet at my house and have a little jam session and invite musicians who might want to play along with us, and it really kind of grew from there. We’ve been together ever since.
Do you want to mention all of the people in the band?
Gibson: Damon Pipitone is our drummer, and percussionist; Marty Beal, is our guitarist. Then there’s Mike Flanagan, who plays mandolin, penny whistle, accordion, bouzouki, and a little guitar, and banjo He also shares the vocals with me. I sing and I do some percussion.
What has been your biggest challenge as an Irish band?
Gibson: Learning the culture, learning the difference between the north and the south. It’s very important to honor their culture and honor the politics of the country. So sometimes when you’re playing a wedding for someone from Belfast, you’re not going to want to play rebel songs. You have to be sensitive to this—and even in terms of who owns the bar you’re playing in. You might want to find out where they’re from or ask them, “What’s appropriate to you?” And they might tell you, “We don’t want to hear rebel songs here.” I think being sensitive to the politics and also there’s a million different versions of so many different songs. When we were first starting out, we were learning all of this. We didn’t really know and we were also really trying to read up on it, too. We didn’t want to be an ignorant Irish band coming on the scene so we really tried to be careful. It’s a little bit of a challenge sometimes. You can’t please everybody.
Having a controversial name…
Gibson: Some people have a big problem with our name. It’s an interesting thing because my grandmother and my mother always used it as an endearment. I’m very freckley and I had red hair growing up. They always said to me, “Look at you, you’re as Irish as Paddy’s Pig.” It was an endearment, I think. So that’s how we named it Paddy’s Pig. Because most people, if they know that expression, they know it’s a good thing. You’re very Irish. Well in Ireland, apparently the origin of that expression comes from something like, “the Irish were so dirty they kept pigs in their kitchen.” So saying you’re as Irish as Paddy’s pig, could actually not be considered a compliment in Ireland, but it’s mostly about the older generation. Like I say there’s always that one person. You kind of learn something new every day. You live and you learn. There are a lot of nuances.
Slipping original music into the mix.
Gibson: The last challenge is we write a lot of our own songs and we really try to be true to the traditional form so you may not know the difference hopefully between our song and a traditional song. It is a challenge, but it’s a good challenge.
With groups like Celtic Thunder are you seeing more interest in Irish music?
Gibson: I think so. Groups like Celtic Thunder and bands like Flogging Molly, and Dropkick Murphys brought a whole new light on Irish music, but the Pogues certainly pioneered that. It’s interesting, this whole “Paddy punk” movement came with Flogging Molly, because of that edgy approach to Irish music, almost a rock Irish music. So I definitely think it’s become more popular. I also think the Paddy punk part of it has sort of dissipated a little bit I.
What is the one Irish song you have to play no matter where you are?
Gibson: “Whiskey in the Jar,” and also “Wild Rover.” It’s kind of a staple. “Whiskey in a Jar” has certainly become a staple, depending on the crowd. We like to do “Parting Glass,” which is a traditional Irish toasting song. You always do at the end of your show. It’s also impolite to do it if there’s a band playing after you for instance, or it’s not the end of the night for the bar, you know? So we don’t always to it, but it’s one of our favorites to end our show with that’s for sure. It’s a nice tradition.
What do you think sets your band apart?
Gibson: I will say the Irish music scene is a bit of a boy’s club to be honest with you. This is something I had to maneuver around from the get-go because I’m not a fiddle player. Typically women who play in Irish bands—and I don’t know why this is—are fiddle players. I’m also singing these songs that are traditionally sung by men. Quite often I’ve had Irish people come up to me —I remember one person came up to me and said, “I’ve never heard a woman sing “Mick Maguire before, but I gotta tell you I was impressed. I didn’t expect it.” I really take that challenge on “cause I have a low voice, and I am kind of bawdy, you know what I mean? I have a lot of personality and I’m tough. I really try to get out there and challenge that. I want to be able to sing these male songs and I want to be as raucous and bawdy as any man. It’s a nice challenge and I’ve certainly had hurdles with it, but I do think that sets us apart. And not to say there’s not other great Irish bands who have women singers. I tend to sing the grittier stuff. I have a grittier voice and a lower voice. I wouldn’t say I have what is considered a pretty voice. But a lot of ballads lend themselves to women who can sing the hell out of them—I’m not necessarily that kind of singer.
I also think as a four piece we are able to sound like a six piece. These guys are so talented it sounds like a lot more people on stage. We fill up a lot of space with the four people we have. We dont’ traditionally have a fiddle player, which make us like the Pogues. We try to keep the music kind of intimate, but being a force with just the four of us as often as we can. I also think we’re lucky to have a multi-instrumentalist in Mike Flanagan. We keep the music evolving as we’re playing because he’s constantly picking up a new instrument.
SHAMROCKS & SHENANIGANS FESTIVAL
Along the Riverwalk at the Colorado Belle
Friday-Sunday, March 17-19. Fri-Sat (2 p.m.-10 p.m.), Sun (noon-7 p.m.). Free to attend, food and beverage sold separately