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Thursday, March 17, 2011 05:50 am

March music madness

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St. Andrew’s Society Pipe and Drum warm up for the St. Patrick’s Day parade.
PHOTO BY ERICKA HINE

After experiencing the wild and wooly St. Patrick’s Day Marching Band Parade I must admit to ambivalent feelings. The partier in me goes, “Woo-hoo! This is awesome!” and the kinder, gentler side looks around at the trash littering the streets and stumbling drunks on the sidewalks and thinks, “We should be proud of this?” I don’t want to sound like the church lady here and honestly, you don’t throw a successful party and not expect a mess, but something about it all just seems odd.

When walking the streets about 7 in the evening from the Brewhaus to Marly’s to check on the Red County Rebels, the sights, smells and sounds on the streets were dismal and disgusting. But early in the day record crowds were having a whale of a good time celebrating the wearing of the green as vendors did a brisk business selling Irish-related items, foodstuffs of all kinds and beer, beer, beer. I suppose as long as the mess is tolerated and the cleanup is paid for, let’s call it a party and go on. I overheard out-of-towners who were impressed with the raucous fun had at the doings and for sure there was plenty of community participation and great local turnout. Now if everyone could just get as excited about the municipal elections coming up in a few weeks.

Enough of the laudable lamenting though, and let’s get on with the program and to the remaining remnants of our “holiday verde” (multicultural reference using the Spanish word for green). The Emerald Underground finishes their St. Pat’s tour with Lime Street performances on both Thursday and Friday, bringing the grand total of five public performances within a week. The St. Andrew’s Society Pipe and Drum group keeps up a steady showing with several shows of about 15 minutes in length at various bars around town. Just look for the guys in kilts and the powerful sounds of the bagpipes and drums. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding them.

Over at Celtic Mist Pub, our Irish bar that is truly patterned after real Irish pubs with no TVs, drawings of Irish literary heroes on the walls and artifacts of Celtic influence as decoration, fittingly features a traditional Irish group called Paddy’s Bargain from 6 to 10 on St. Paddy’s Day proper. The husband and wife musician family live near Winchester and also host a Celtic acoustic music session every Tuesday at the Mist starting around 7.

I think that about wraps up the Irish excursion for 2011, but please remember the Celtic culture and Irish heritage contains much more than drinking to excess. It’s OK to have a Guinness while perusing the Book of Kells, reading Ulysses, watching The Field or The Quiet Man or listening to U2, Gaelic Storm or the Chieftains, but keep in mind the fascinating history and deep artistry behind these most interesting of peoples and it’ll taste even better.

Blues Expressions and Smoothtimes Band help the folks at Price Street Pub celebrate the 12th anniversary of the friendly little bar tucked away south of Highland and east of MacArthur in the that little part of town that I don’t know what to call. Go looking and ye shall be rewarded at the only penny bar around on Saturday, March 19, with food all day and the live music starting around 8 p.m.

Look out for Willie Nelson and Family on Saturday. The nearly octogenarian legend plays the PCCC as he pulls the Honeysuckle Rose into Springfield one more time. With the Hired Hands we had the privilege of opening for him in 2001 at the State Fair and things almost worked that way again. But that, my friends is another story.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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