I am Old

Or perhaps, just sane.  I had the opportunity to buy a ticket to The Pogues show on St Patrick’s Day at the 9:30 Club. Instead I selected the show the day before St Patrick’s Day.  I figure the odds are much better than Shane MacGowan will be semi-sober the day before.  And I know the odds of my needing to kill someone in the crowd next to me will be lower.

The Pogues


The Pogues are a band I have wanted to see in concert for about 22 years – ever since Ronnie put “Haunted” and “Dirty Old Town” on a mix tape for me. For a decade there it seemed like I would never get the chance, at least not with Shane MacGowan in the band. Who didn’t expect him to drink himself to death sometime during the 1990s. But amazingly he has survived. He reminds me a bit of a George Romero shuffling zombie or a 90 year old man in the way he moves. He can’t quite follow a set list but Spider Stacy sets him straight when he announces the wrong song. But he can still sing. He can still work a crowd. And the band puts on one hell of show.

It was particularly nice to see The Pogues at the 930 Club. I got there early enough that I had a good spot up on the balcony close to the front of the stage and pretty much just didn’t move. Shane and Spider traded out lead singer duties for most of the show with Phil Chevron singing “Thousands Are Sailing” and the drummer Andrew Ranken covering Irish Rover during one of the encores. Two encores meant the band played for almost two hours. They closed with “Fiesta” complete with head vs. tin pan percussion. It was a marvelous show and I am so glad I decided to spend the money when the tickets went on sale.

The Urban Voodoo Machine

Urban Voodoo Machine was the opening act for The Pogues last night and they were marvelous.  I’m going to post my thoughts on The Pogues later but since Urban Voodoo Machine has a show at The Red and The Black Tuesday night I wanted to get this posted.  They are such a fun live band.  Very high energy but that is to be expected with a band that includes two drummers, violin, trumpet and a gorgeous woman with a gong.  The music is in the vein of Brian Setzer Orchestra/Squirrel Nut Zippers but with a decided gothic turn.  Here is what The Red and The Black website states and I would say it is a very apt description.

With their lurching sea shanties, debauched murder ballads and whiskey-soaked gypsy stomps, some reckon they’re from the stable of stallions such as Tom Waits and Nick Cave; others point out the ‘last gang in town’ swagger of The Clash and the hellhound blues that JL Hooker first dragged out of the swamp. But comparisons aside, as Paul-Ronney says himself – “we play Bourbon Soaked Gypsy Blues Bop’n’Stroll and we do it mighty well!”

I have a work function Tuesday night but I’m going to try and make it over afterwards since the show doesn’t start until 9pm.  Anyone walked to Red & Black from Union Station or should I grab a cab?