The Pogues

It's not a stretch to say some of us have been waiting to see the Pogues for most of our lives; we witnessed their 1990 appearance on Saturday Night Live as a high-school sophomore and haven't really been the same since. Cobbled together from traditional folk groups and first-wave London and Dublin punk rockers like the Nipple Erectors and Radiators from Space, the Pogues hit mid-'80s London like a Gaelic gale-force wind, instantly winning a reputation for maniacal live shows drowned in a tide of tears and whiskey. And in perpetually soused front man Shane MacGowan, borderline incoherent as he may have been most of the time, they had a legitimate punk poet who was half Brendan Behan, half Johnny Rotten and half Charles Bukowski. On albums like 1985's Rum, Sodomy & the Lash, 1988's If I Should Fall from Grace With God and 1990's Hell's Ditch, the Pogues — reunited, more or less, since 2005 — found the inner gob-smackers in Irish folk heroes (Cuchulainn) and Old West outlaws (Jesse James) alike, writing a rowdy but reverent history green-blooded bands like Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys still study religiously today. We just hope this House of Blues stopover on the way to New Orleans's Voodoo Fest falls close enough to Christmas that they'll play "Fairytale of New York."


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