From the bizarre and besmudged desk of Paul:
Wait; it’s March already? Oof! Thus begins another big push. Why? Well, allow me to explain.
You see, when one performs in a group or niche that is in any way adjacent to Irish music, folk or otherwise, there’s a known event that comes around every year. And in some cities, such as here in Phoenix, there are, in fact, two big events that surround this particular holiday.
Many of you have likely figured out that I am, of course, referring to Saint Patrick’s Day; a day meant to honour a missionary for bringing their religion to Ireland. While one could debate the semantics on origins, true meaning, and whether the celebrations nowadays are really keeping the intent of the holiday in mind, that’s not quite what this post is about.
You see, for a group that has opportunity to play these events, there are a handful of things to keep in mind to not only help survive the day but make it amazing. Many of these are tips not only for a band, but for patrons as well.
First off: scheduling. We try to get the day booked and/or scheduled as soon as possible. Generally, we plan to hit multiple venues, and they each have their own slightly varied schedule, so it can be interesting getting everything to mesh just right. How interesting? This year, we have three big events to play. This means we must account for how location and time of day affects drive time, stops for food and necessities, and then there are the load-in/setup and teardown/loadouts that bookend each venue. It’s easy to get overwhelmed or book too tightly.
Next up is rehearsal. Yes, a great many songs that we’ll play this day are what might be labelled as “back pocket”, but songs and arrangements vary over time, and the way we played it a year or five years ago will not necessarily be the same way we approach it this year. We’ve also found that on occasion one of us will pull out a piece they played two decades and at least one band ago, and the others go “what the hell is that, and why are we only hearing it now?” So yeah, there’s a list of stuff we’re still working to bring to y’all, and that list is a bit mighty. We’ll see how much of it we can get to stage this year.
There are supplies: Our kit includes things needed to keep not only our equipment up and going, but also to keep us up and going. Things like strings, batteries, spare cables and connectors, phone chargers and cables, portable USB battery packs, electrolyte packs, KT tape, pain relievers, Nu-skin, first aid kit, sunscreen, cough drops, tea packets, tiger balm, lip balm (don’t confuse the two), bananas, protein bars, just to name a bit.
Finally, we are also terribly lucky to have one hell of a support team. They help us by running sound, quick string changes as needed, the aforementioned load-in/setup and teardown/loadout cycles, working our merch table, emergency runs for supplies, even handling us, because it’s all too easy to get into the groove of the day and realize that you haven’t eaten anything since 8am and no I don’t recall the last time I drank water, doesn’t Guinness count? If we thank them a thousand times, it’s still not enough, so I’ll say it here now: Thank You!
And that, folks, is our how-to for this Saint Patrick’s Day. I’m sure some things have either been left out due to forgetfulness or being a trade secret. Which reminds me, there is one more important thing needed: You, our fans. We really enjoy playing for y’all, and we want to keep doing it for as long as possible, so it does mean party responsibly. Keep hydrated, don’t overdo it, and if you have any doubts at all, opt for a rideshare service, or even better, arrange for a designated driver for the day. After all, you’ll want to see what we have planned as we get closer to the summer. Stay Tuned!
Looking forward to it. Side note the idea of mixing up tiger balm and lip balm. OUch!