with MacGowan. Miss em.
Is there anything out there anywhere near the same?
with MacGowan. Miss em.
Is there anything out there anywhere near the same?
Well, there’s all those other Celtic Punk bands out there – Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys, Killdares etc., but in my perhaps not-so-humble opinion, they all miss the mark. I think, to me at least, what comes closest in spirit are Gogol Bordello; they lack the Celtic folk influence, substituting instead a wild Eastern European/Gypsy mix, but have a similar vigour and intensity to their music. (You’ll probably know them, but if you don’t, you could do worse than check out, for instance, Start Wearing Purple, or 60 Revolutions (on Later with Jools Holland).)
I also think there’s some similar spirit hidden within the Gothic Americana scene; there’s an element of the grotesque that’s hidden deep within traditional folk culture that’s present (and at times ironically exposed) both in the works of The Pogues (Think Sally MacLennane or If I Should Fall From Grace…) and of acts such as Slim Cessna’s Auto Club or O’Death (can’t decide between Home, Angeline and Down to Rest…).
There’s also an excellent compilation, called Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys, which sort of attacks the whole Folk Punk deal from a naval perspective, which makes sense if you think of Folk Punk as being to Folk as pirates are to the sea trade… (Linking to Nick Cave’s Fire Down Below from the compilation, not because it’s necessarily the best representative of what I have in mind, but just because I love his work (also note that MacGowan and Cave have collaborated on more than one occasion).)
However, in terms of lyrics, there’s few that equal Shane’s genius working in a similar genre.
I’m not sure how you would research it or find a list of bands, but for a while there was a treasure trove of some great Indie-Amateur Irish folk bands that would pass through town on the, for lack of a better term, “Irish Pub Circuit”. I think a lot of them were from NY, Chicago, Boston and Ireland proper. There was a lot of talented bands there, but damn if I can remember any of their names.
I went to a Pogues concert several months ago. Shane has lost a lot of energy. I have The Snake, and a lot of it sounds like he’s just going through the motions. He just sounds tired.
I still listen to their works from the '80s and '90s, and I wish they could still sound that way.
I also found 2 compilation albums online I bought that are Irish punky bands with originals or covers of traditional songs called Shite and Onions and What the Shite
There’s a high risk factor with these type of bands of getting a real crap Plastic Shamrock experience. Nothing more annoying than an in-your-face professional would-be Irishman.
You can still see Macgowan/Pogues twice a year, when they phone in an uber-crap performance at Christmas (London)/St. Patrick’s Day (N.Y.C., I believe), confident that their drunk faithful won’t hold them to any standard of quality and they can live off the revenue for the next year.
Actually was brought to a Saw Doctors concert a few years ago and was somewhat pleasantly surprised. They are more in the earnest folk/country camp than anything punk but perhaps that ages better, and their bogtrotter creds (deepest Mayo) are real enough that there’s no suspicion of staginess beyond what’s inherent in the show band tradition.
A local Irish band you might like if you like the Pogues are The Spook Of The Thirteenth Lock although they’re more I suppose arty than the Pogues were.
Wow, that’s a bit harsh. Sure, Shane’s no longer the singer he once was, but the rest of the band remain outstanding musicians. Maybe you just saw them on a bad night.
I’ve seen McGowan in both Popes and Pogues configuration many times and I have to agree with I’m Not Dennis Bergkamp, whilst Shane is often semi-comatose the backing band and singers still put on an amazing show.
Heh, I saw Gogol Bordello live in Toronto last year - best live act I’ve seen in years.
It was a strange introduction to that band - way it happened was this: it was a Tuesday, and a friend of my wife (they met through our kid’s Ukrainian day-school) mentioned that a friend of hers was in a band and they were having a concert that night, and she had some free tickets - would we like to go?
Well, I was all reluctant, it being a Tuesday night, and the band not one I’d ever heard of - you know how it is when someone’s friend is in a band, inevitably it is some shitty cover band and when you go, you are pretty well the whole audience - but my wife begged and I relented.
Turns out her friend was Eugene Hütz (they met through Ukrainian-art connections years ago). Needless to say, I was impressed with the show; it was not at all what I had suspected. We were a bit out of the usual run for the audience, who mostly appeared to be punk-y teenagers (we are all in our 40s).
Anyway, I highly recommend it, particularly everything on the album “Super Taranta!”.
Well, then, I’ve seen them on several bad nights. I’m talking a real downward dive over the past five years. He was always subject to the raggedy voice and the odd no show/late show (“Shane’s not feeling too well.”). But last few times I’ve seen him (a) it’s been unintelligible when he did sing; (b) he didn’t sing all that much – he’d wander off stage every three songs or so and let the band (whichever one – I’ll agree both are pretty technically proficient) play their own songs, which (in both cases) were/are largely pretty bad.
I really do find it of a piece with his not having new material, and scaling back his performing schedule to a handful of seasonal shows in cities with big Irish-descended populations – how easy is it going to be for him to motivate himself (how serious is he about trying to deliver a good performance?) when the audience won’t really distinguish a good one from a bad one and have (many of them) largely decided that a real concert performance is secondary to the Experience of being drunk, with Shane Macgowan, on St. Patrick’s Day/Christmas?
Agreed that Gogol Bordello has to be seen live to be believed. It’s not too often that you can see two accordions and a mosh pit at the same gig.
I’m quite envious of your introduction! I knew them well before I ever got a chance to see them live (which I’ve since done many times), so I had some expectations; but still, I was knocked over (figuratively and literally – a couple of times).
Several months ago? I saw him play a solo gig before I moved to Sweden, so pre November 1999, and I walked out. Possibly the only time I have ever done that to a headliner. It just felt like a sick voyeur, watching an utter car crash of a life finally fall apart.
Dude, wouldn’t you feel tired if you had drank everything he had ?
I agree that Shane is sad shadow of his former self. What I disagreed with in your earlier post was the suggestion that the other band members regularly phone-in awful performances. Whether performing with Shane or playing their own Shane-less songs, the remainder of the Pogues have all put in fantastic shows that, for me, make the concerts well worthwhile, even with Shane in his current state. They’re not just “technically proficient” – they’re fucking awesome.
Hell, I’ll even also agree that a big draw for many in the audience is to see Shane drunk on stage in the hope that he’ll deliver some memorable disaster. But a lot of us go to the shows because we love the band; not just Shane, or maybe not even Shane, but the rest of the band.
Forgot to add that I join in the love here for Gogol Bordello. Terrific band that really does capture the spirit of the Pogues.
The people in the band were also nice people. When we met up with them after the show, I ended up taking for quite some time with the older guy with a beard who plays the violin; a very nice man. He was very amused when I told him that this was the first time I’d ever heard of them.
We had a bit of a bizzare adventure meeting up with them. My wife’s friend - she of the free tickets - had previously planned to meet her buddy backstage, but the security guys would not let us in - but nor did they kick us out (which is what they were doing to a group of teeny girls attempting to get backstage), I suspect because we were older folks, and they could not be sure. Finally, she mannaged to tag someone who knew her, and let us past the security guys.
The best concerts i have ever been to are the pogues at the barrowlands with kirsty mccall and two trips to see gogol bordello. gB have the edge for me. They are The Pogues on acid.
Other similar bands i would like to see are drop kick murphies and firewater.
I think you are mistaking me with some uptight, corporate, fascist, Dub Irish Pub. The Irish Pub I went to was quite a bohemian place with some classic performances. Wish I would have went down there and bootlegged some performances…