Is It Still 2024?

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 A fine and happy Thursday to one and all! Brian here, checking in post-Paddy’s, making sure everyone knows that we did, in fact, live through it. (checks pulse) Yep, still kicking. Good thing, too. We’ve got plans, shenanigans, and malarkey to attend to.

   The weekend itself was a LOT of work, true, but it was also a chance to get in front of both old friends and new listeners, to show them what we could do, and that’s always exciting. In a regular show, one never really knows for sure until we start playing, what the crowd might be like. Lots of people, hardly anyone, lots of familiar faces, a sea of strangers…could go any which way. And it’s hard to tell what new folks are actually looking for. One of our regular venues tends to book us right at the tail end of their dinner rush, and it’s not surprising to watch a bunch of people leave after the first set. They were just looking for a nice meal, maybe a pint, and some quiet conversations with friends. No problem, I hope they enjoyed their time with us anyway. 

   Big events like St Patrick’s Day, though? We have a pretty good idea of what we’re walking into. It’s not our first rodeo, after all, not by a long shot. And the pubs are going to be crowded, and most of the crowd has been doing some serious drinking, and they all want the music, and the dancing, and the laughs, and it’s grand, grand. We’re there to provide, and they often love us for it. And that kind of enthusiasm, whiskey-fueled or otherwise, is some powerful mojo. The more strongly the crowd responds, the better we tend to play. 

    Paddy’s is also when we tend to dust off a lot of our Irish repertoire. We all came up in that genre, cut our teeth on slip jigs and reels, honed our craft with rebel songs and drinking songs. It’s comfortable, it’s familiar. Playing songs like “Fields of Athenry” or “Get Out, Ye Black & Tans” feels a little like coming home for a visit. And sure, we do play some Irish & Scottish throughout the rest of the year; I don’t anticipate ever completely forgetting our roots. It’s different on Paddy’s, though, where that’s the  whole focus of the day. It reminds me of pubs now closed, the scent of smoke and strong whiskey lingering on the air. It reminds me of nights spent around clusters tables, empty pint glasses on the table, a cigarette between my lips and a brand new drum I didn’t quite yet know how to play clenched firmly in my hands. It reminds me of the first time I played a full show, sitting in with my favorite band because their drummer had to take the weekend off; sweaty and exhausted at the end of the night, looking down from the stage, thinking, “This. THIS is the life I want.”

    Every Paddy’s, I also have a conversation with myself. Am I still up for this? I’m not getting younger, my health has never been what one might call robust. My bones creak and I have trouble with crowds sometimes. I’m a little more aware, year by year, that I have a shelf-life, that one day I’ll put down the drum and never pick it up again.

   But today? Freshly recovered from the Day, and looking forward at the next few months, and the plans we’re concocting for them? I can honestly say that still, THIS is the life I want. And I’m excited to discover what’s next.

In the month of April, Open Beta will be appearing at the following places on the following dates. (One of them is likely to morph into the official release party for CrowdSorcery, the live album we recorded last year. I’m really happy with the way it turned out, and I think you will be too.)

On April 20th, Open Beta will be appearing at Fibber Magee’s Irish Pub & Restaurant in Chandler, starting at 7:30 PM.

On April 27th, Open Beta will be appearing at The Irish Wolfhound in Surprise, starting at 8PM.

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