Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Poguetry in Motion

I have been a Pogues fan since I first heard "If I Should Fall From Grace With God" in 1987. Their combination of traditional Irish music and punk pretty much ruled. I think it’s the fact that they played Irish music as if it were punk, rather than playing punk as if it were Irish. Also that they were actually Irish, and not a bunch of dudes from Boston or SoCal all proud of their alcoholic heritage (ala Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys, et al).

I saw the Pogues play in 1991, only Joe Strummer was sitting in for Shane MacGowan who by that point was no longer in the band for being too much of a drunk fuckup. When an Irish drinking band kicks you out because you are a drunk, you have serious, serious problems. Seriously. It’s better that Mr. Strummer toured with them, because it ended up being the only time I got to see him, and he played Straight to Hell and London Calling. Still, it was a bummer not having seen Shane, so I was very happy to see that they were playing in the city.

To give you an idea of the kind of following the Pogues have, they hadn’t toured or come out with an album in almost ten years, most of their old stuff has been out of print for a while, yet still they sold out four nights at the Fillmore. And I would say 90% of those attending were serious Pogues fans. These were not jaded bastards who just came to act bored. And it was expensive, even if your sister was paying for you, and even MORE so if you had to pay for yourself and your brother.

When shane hobbled up to the stage looking like the bloated old drunk he is, the crowd went nuts. He mumbled something like "mblmlfdooemd,buckaroos" and away they went. Oddly enough, even though he could barely stand, hardly talk, and kept leaving the stage to get even more fucked up, he still sang every word and sounded pretty damn good. Even the ballad "Rainy Night In Soho" sounded ok. Admittedly, he was probably totally fucked up when he made the original recordings, but still. He may be a severe alcoholic, but he is a functioning severe alcoholic.

The show was great, even if it was a bit sad to see the old man. The band sounded amazing, and did an excellent job keeping up and down with Shane. He’d stagger off, they’d do a couple numbers, he’d stagger on and shout out songs, they’d go into em, and a good time was had by all. They even did "Fairytale of New York", with Jem Finer’s daughter sitting in.

In other exciting news, Rhino has reissued the Pogues’ first five albums, most of which have been out of print or import only for a long, long time. They are remastered, have extra tracks, and are I think twelve bucks – ish. If you don’t have any of them, go get "If I should fall from grace with god and "Rum Sodomy and the Lash" right NOW. Then you should get hells ditch an d red roses for me, and maybe peace and love. Or whatever.
Then blast your stereo and get all nostalgic about a country you’ve never lived in and that your ancestors left because they were so desperately poor. And remember – Ireland is WAY better than England, and the Irish are WAY hotter than the English.

Love and whiskey,
Patrick "Poor Paddy" Sean Taylor

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