St. Patrick’s Day is a big deal in bars all across America where many people celebrate their Irish heritage or dig deep to find it. Though not everyone knows the history of the day, they share equal enthusiam for the holiday and the search for green beer and good luck.
This St. Patrick’s Day, Houstonians have a perfect option to mark the occasion by joining Irish rockers Blaggards
for a hometown show. Blaggards will perform with special guest Heidi Riggs
and The Basil Trio
on Thursday, March 17 at The Heights Theater
For Blaggards, St. Patrick’s Day is usually spent playing out of town shows requiring long hours of driving but this year the band will celebrate with their first performance at one of Houston’s finest venues.
“We said yes, yes, yes,” says the magnetic frontman Patrick Devlin. “It’s a big time of year. It’s New Year’s, Christmas and everything wrapped into one and it's lovely to be home and not be driving.”
“I can tell you that the clubs latched on to it first because they realized what a gold mine it is for alcohol sales,” says Devlin, originally from Ireland, of the popular day. “It’s big in Ireland but it’s not as big as it is here and definitely not as commercial I’ll tell you that.”
The powerful trio decided to invite Riggs to join them on stage adding the Celtic fiddle that melts perfectly with the band's Irish rock and roll. Riggs an accomplished player, teacher and author who lives in Arizona, will play a small run of Texas shows with the band.
Riggs originally contacted the band via email to ask questions about their arrangements and praise them for their sound leading to a friendship and sharing the stage over the past few years.
“When you get an email and it’s complimentary, you’re just trying to decide what the angle is and there's no angle with this woman,” says Devlin of Riggs.
“She's not only talented but everything you see is what you get. Fiddle players are kind of like unicorns, people kind of know them but they don’t know what they’ve made. You become a connoisseur after you’ve played with a few of them and we’ve played with a ton. She came in and had complete tone, great rhythm and a really good attitude.”
Austin’s The Basil Trio will be opening the with their funky organ sound which they describe as “Jimmy Smith meets Herb Albert.” Hughes will be doing double duty filling in on drums for the trio before taking the stage with Blaggards.
“We wanted somebody that was exciting and dynamic,” says Hughes. “It's a nice mix because Basil Trio doesn't do what we do and I think sometimes that's a better draw than trying to get things that sound alike.”
“I think Basil will get the crowd kind of lubricated and warmed up and he's a great front man too like Patrick so he will encourage people to visit the bar, enjoy and stay tuned for Blaggards,” says Hughes who suggested the band for the bill.
Just in time for this performance, the band will be releasing their latest single “Come On Ye Black And Tans”
available now for Patreon
members and will be available for streaming on March 13.
The song opens with an almost primitive drum solo from Hughes that seems to give warning to either get in line to fight or find shelter. “Normally that song would just start with a guitar doing that lick,” says Hughes as he describes how Devlin suggested the drum into to the song providing a tribal feel and emulating a bodhran, a traditional Irish drum.
“The more we did it and the more that the song is shaping the way that we are seeing the world currently, I think it takes more of an immediate effect. You hear those drums coming and you know some shit is about to go down,” says Hughes.
"You hear those drums coming and you know some shit is about to go down.”
“It’s a great song and it’s ferocious,” says Devlin of the song that never slows down. “It does have that kind of battle behind it and the story behind the song is one hundred percent true.” The song served as a call to arms to fight against Pro-British residents of Dublin.
“The English essentially put these armed forces into Ireland that were basically told, do what you want, just go and wreak havoc and they did. Of course with the Ukraine crisis we’ve been dedicating the song to the Ukraninain people because again, they’re innocent and they're being tortured and blown to smithereens.”
Ireland has a long and bloody history, one that Devlin and his family experienced firsthand. “The history is there, the people are willing to talk about it and it's pretty well documented,” he says.
When asked if any part of him taps into his personal experiences of cultural history while performing this powerful song Devlin says wholeheartedly, “Personally when I play it’s strange, I’m so grateful to be able to play this stuff and take it into a new category.
"It’s been done in every form that you can imagine by now but I just consider myself so lucky because I get to play with these guys in a rock and roll band touring the country playing these historic numbers that mean a lot to a lot of people.”
Blaggards will perform with special guests Heidi Riggs and The Basil Trio on Thursday, March 17 at The Heights Theater, 339 W. 19th. Doors at 7 p.m. $22.