Fighting, Drinking & Skanking at Griff's St. Paddy's Bash

The Dead Rabbits, 30footFALL, the Velostacks Griff's Irish Pub March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day can be a tough gig -- especially on a Tuesday. No matter how energized and well-rehearsed your band shows up, you're still always going to be playing second fiddle to sheer drunken revelry. If you can win the crowd over early, your set can become a triumphant, beer-soaked blast. If anything goes wrong, however, the shenanigans can turn into a shit-show in a hurry.

There was a little bit of both going on last night at Griff's, the long-cherished Montrose sports pub that was celebrating its 50th annual St. Paddy's Day blowout with a trio of quality punk-rock acts. The Velostacks, 30footFALL and the Dead Rabbits have all proven more than capable of delivering the goods over the years, but turning a parking-lot tent right next to a face-painting booth into a real-life rock concert on a Tuesday night proved a struggle. The musicians began the evening working hard to engage the crowd any way they could, and ended it just trying to survive.

The Velostacks, a collective of local punk-rock lifers, kicked off the punk portion of the evening a little after 7 p.m. with their signature brand of revved-up rock and roll. The group took a lengthy soundcheck, but it paid off: They had the best mix of the evening. A nice crowd bopped around down front to the Velostacks' simple, catchy guitar riffs, but the majority of the crowd at Griff's preferred to just kind of mill around, bouncing from beer line to porta-can to bar and back again. The 'Stacks were putting on a good show under the tent, but not a lot of folks seemed too interested.

30footFALL fared a bit better. After all, every gig they play these days seems to fall on a holiday, so a latter-day appearance from the ex-rulers of Houston's '90s punk scene is always cause for celebration. Fans down in front of the stage whooped it up as the band opened with a punky version of the "King of the Hill" theme song that segued into "Fuck You We're From Texas," but even with the band delivering a typically spry performance, the tent only really ever got half full.

It didn't help that the tent sounded like a tent. The PA for the gig was rather small and underpowered, to be kind. To their credit, 30footFALL still played as if they were headlining at the Astrodome, and their die-hard fans up front had no problem skanking on the beer-slicked pavement. There was no getting around the fact that the cheap audio robbed the band of a good bit of their typical punch, however.

Sadly, the headliners fared even worse in that department. The Dead Rabbits' set drew the biggest crowd of the night, filling up that blasted tent at last. And why not? The Rabbits' potent blend of Irish folk and punk rock is tailor-made for St. Pat's, and the swelling mob at Griff's was most definitely feeling the booze by the time the band cranked up.

REWIND: The Dead Rabbits Own March In Houston

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Nathan Smith
Contact: Nathan Smith