A Touch Of The Irish
Welp, it’s that time of the year again, when all of your friends go down to Austin and have the most amazing time watching every new band that’s better and cooler than any band you’ve ever seen and partying with the most interesting people you’ll never meet, all while you’re stuck here because of work or kids or a jury trial or whatever.
Hey, at least you’ll be here for St. Patrick’s Day, right?
To me, spending St. Paddy’s in Austin as SXSW winds down to its last moments of hype and buzz sounds like a huge hassle, and I don’t think you’re missing much. By the end of it all, every neighborhood radiating from downtown has been ravaged by the endless shuffling of smug, enthusiastic drunks in oversized sunglasses and plaid shirts, tramping over discarded demo CDs, Fader Fort fliers, and promotional condom wrappers. When Saturday’s Maximum Booze Holiday rolls around, 6th Street will be a volatile mix of stinky musicians clinging to showcase dreams and meatheads ready to knock back Jägers and punch faces, all of it threatening to spill across Cesar Chavez and upset all those folks chilling at Lustre Pearl. No thank you. At least here in the Fort, the unwashed and inebriated will pretty much stay in one general geographic location. In other words, you can escape the crowds, should you so desire.
Hopefully, you won’t want to miss out on the fun though. The West 7th corridor will likely be worth the parking hassles –– Poag Mahone’s and the Weekly are throwing their annual St. Patrick’s Day Madness party starting on Friday with a free show in the parking lot; the music starts at 5 p.m., with sets by Exit 380, Skeleton Coast, and Fish Fry Bingo. On Saturday the music begins at 1 p.m. and goes all night, featuring party-hearty bands like Pablo & The Hemphill 7, Dazey Chain with Josh Weathers, and Poo Live Crew. Cover for Saturday is $5 (or free if you check in at a tent run by a tobacco-company sponsor).
If you need a break from bands, head across the street to the Irish-y celebrations at Durty Crow and at M Lounge; given that the latter’s vibe is markedly plus chic than any other place you’d swill a green beer in, popping over there between bands at Poag’s might make for a little bit of a mental palate cleanser — plus, M’s green beers are only a buck.
You could also head to Arlington. Caves Lounge’s annual bash is cover-free and starts at 7 p.m., with $4 Guinness drafts and $7 Irish Car Bombs, that totally tasteful and not-at-all-offensive drop-shot concoction that somehow seems more palatable when you say “Slainte” after gulping it down.
The scene downtown might be a little more sedate this year, what with the departure of Eight-O and all, but the Flying Saucer’s St. Paddy’s party starts at 2 p.m., with live music described on the bar’s website only as a “St. Paddy’s Day Jam.” Does this mean a bunch of musicians are getting together to play Van Morrison and U2 songs? Will one of them have gnarly teeth like Shane McGowan? Will all of them? Take a cab downtown and find out — this is probably the one time of the year when people insist they like Guinness, and after two or three, none of them should probably drive. And anyway, should you tire of the Saucer’s Beer Knurds getting into jams, you’re within walking distance of Durty Murphy’s, Paddy Reds, and Rick O’Shea’s, all of which have Guinness, Harp, and plenty of Texasified “Erin go bragh.”
If you like your Erin go bragh with a different set of bros than you’d find downtown, The Where House will be hosting its own Irish-themed jam. Local singer-songwriter Wayne Floyd and a cast of other whiskey-fueled troubadours touting their “fookin’ Mick” heritage will be holding onto acoustic guitars and taking shots, presumably in an effort to sing songs. Does it sound like a trainwreck? Is Ulysses hard to follow? I guess it depends who you ask. No matter what, The Where House’s St. Patrick’s Day throwdown sounds entertaining to say the least. Sure, none of this has that South-by glitz, but who cares? People at South-by don’t remembe all the bands they see anyway, and if they do, they’re probably doing it wrong. Do yourself right and hit up some hometown bars this week — until the weekend, you’ll probably have them all to yourself. –– Steve Steward
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