Like St. Patrick's Day itself, the Blaggards' "Stout Irish Rock" is a Hibernian-American tradition, folding Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" and Ramones-style punk into a bottomless well of high-tempered Celtic tunes that go down smooth even without a pint of Guinness or shot of Jameson. The multiple Houston Press Music Award winners and longtime local club staples have a busy spring ahead, with a weeklong post-St. Paddy's tour of front man Patrick Devlin's native Ireland and two CD projects, one live and one all-original.
But first, they're headlining the third annual Rory Miggins Irish Stew Cook-Off Saturday afternoon at the Continental Club; proceeds benefit Houston's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. Although Devlin only met the late Local Charm owner and musicians' benefactor Miggins a couple of times, "because of his love of all things Irish and whiskey, they put his name on the event," he told Chatter as the Blaggards navigated Galleria traffic on their way to a gig in College Station last week.
Chatter: How does one prepare a proper Irish stew?
With the Mighty Orq, 1 p.m. Saturday, February 6, at the Continental Club, 3700 Main, 713-529-9899 or www.continentalclub.com/
Houston.html. Information on the cookoff is available at 281-704-7435 or www.hsppc.org.
Patrick Devlin: If you ask me, just meat and potatoes and just pour some beer in it or something. My mother made the best lamb stew — lamb, carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, potatoes, potatoes. It was unbelievable. Nothing touched it. You go into these poseur bars and you find the bread bowls with the stew in it and...no. Swing and a miss.
C: How excited is the band about your upcoming trip to Ireland?
PD: The boys haven't slept. It's our first time across the water with this, and this is my first time ever playing in a band at home. I've sat in with people a couple of times. This is something we're going to try to do at least once a year — get a bunch of people to come on the tour with us, and they'll go sightseeing and we'll set up. [Note: Call Hammond Tours at 866-486-8772 to join the Blaggards.]
C: What's your favorite drinking song to play?
PD: The one we get the best reaction to is "Whiskey in the Jar." I think that's just a brand name, a household thing to shout out. I want to say we have about five songs in "Whiskey in the Jar." It goes in all directions when we play it. But as far as a cover song, that would be "Streams of Whiskey" by the Pogues. We do it about five times faster than they do it, and we do Kenny Rogers's "The Gambler" at the end. That one's a lot of fun.
C: Is there a better band to come out of Ireland than Thin Lizzy?
PD: In my opinion, no. No. U2 have definitely clawed their way to the top, but if you're gonna tell me that Larry Mullen and Brian Downey are ever on the same page as far as drummers go, wrong. If you ever think Adam Clayton and Phil Lynott are in the same universe as far as bass players go, no. Bono's got his own style and whatever, but [compared to] Phil Lynott...you know, no.
C: How will the Blaggards be spending St. Patrick's Day this year?
PD: We are very, very, very happy to announce that we're going to be at the Continental Club. Every year, we get lured out of town, and this year we were supposed to be in Jacksonville. Just like the rest of the country, they've kind of hit hard times and they downsized their festival, so we just decided to [stay], which makes so much sense now that we're doing it. We're gonna play for the home crowd, who never get to see us on Paddy's Day because we're on the other side of the earth. We're thrilled.
The management of Meridian (1503 Chartres) announced last week that the multi-room Old Chinatown music venue is about to undergo an ambitious remodeling project, including changing its name to Wired Live. Although the main music hall upstairs will not be affected, the adjacent Red Room will be converted into a lounge similar to House of Blues' Foundation Room, as smaller metal and alt-rock shows move into the former Meridian Sports Bar, now dubbed the Channel Room. A large dance club planned for the downstairs area rounds out the changes.
When Miller Outdoor Theatre's spring season gets underway with a "Guthrie Family Reunion," featuring Woody's son Arlo Guthrie, Austin's Folk Uke and others March 23, it will have a new $1.5 million sound system. Other spring shows include klezmer/funk group Abraham Inc. March 25, the Harlem Gospel Choir March 26 and a Texas twofer of Ray Wylie Hubbard and Kelly Willis April 24.
3710 Main, 713-533-9525, www.sigslagoon.com
1. Spoon, Transference LP
2. Nick Gaitan & the Umbrella Man,
Nick Gaitan & the Umbrella Man
3. Something Fierce, There Are No Answers LP
4. Various Artists, Dirty Laundry:
The Soul of Black Country
5. Various Artists, More Dirty
Laundry: The Soul of Black Country
6. Various Artists, Studio One: The Originals LP
7. Various Artists, Beyond Istanbul
8. Various Artists, Back to Peru
9. Chicha Libre, Sonido Amazonico
10. TSU Toronadoes, One Flight Too Many LP
1. Sick Puppies, "You're Going Down"
2. Chevelle, "Jars"
3. Three Days Grace, "Break"
4. Pearl Jam, "The Fixer"
5. Breaking Benjamin, "I Will Not Bow"
6. Weezer, "(If You're Wondering If I
Want You To) I Want You To"
7. Muse, "Uprising"
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8. AFI, "Medicate"
9. Cage the Elephant, "Back Against the Wall"
10. Theory of a Deadman, "By the Way"
(lists compiled by Chris Gray)