Tag Archives: celtic punk

The Rumjacks Announce Spring Tour


Celtic-Punk band The Rumjacks have recently announcing a spring tour on the heels of their third LP, Sleeping’ Rough. The tour beings tomorrow (March 4) with a headlining slot at San Diego’s Get Shamrocked Festival and also includes a stop at SXSW before concluding in Rochester, NY on April 15th. At their heart, The Rumjacks are a live band, whipping crowds into a frenzy with their mix of traditional sounds and punk flare. “Its like growing up with a tear in your eye and a storm brewing in your heart..” said Frankie McLaughlin. “We were raised on the Scottish & Irish music in our parents record collection, before colliding head-on with Punk Rock as we grew older and thought we knew everything.”

For complete tour dates, check out the band’s web-site and check out a live version of “A Fistful O’ Roses” from last year in Poland below.


Song of the Day: “Bottle of Smoke” – The Pogues

The Pogues have plenty of wild, fast-paced songs that sound like a bar-fight, but “Bottle of Smoke” might be the wildest of the bunch. The breakneck pace of the song gallops like a horse let out of the gate, which is fitting since the song is about winning a bet on a horse race (named after what I’m pretty sure is a bong) and getting into fights.

The fast-paced nature, allows Shane MacGowan to spit out his lyrics at an absurd rate with numerous drunken slurs and mumbles. Imagine “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, if Dylan sang it liked he was blacked out on too much whiskey, ready to throw punches, singing about a horse-races and you’d have an idea of what MacGowan sounds like here.

My mother has always said she liked the Pogues’ music, but can’t stand their lyrics. I’m almost pretty positive, that she was specifically referring to this song. MacGowan is no stranger to cursing in his lyrics, but the “fuck” is mentioned over a dozen times. It’s even part of the chorus: “Twenty-fucking five to one, me gambling days are done. I bet on a horse called a bottle of smoke, and my horse won.”  And for what it’s worth, it’s pretty much the only word that is decipherable in the whole song.

Since numerous other acts have copied The Pogues’ signature sound to lesser merits (Hi Dropkick Murphys), the Celtic Punk sound may not seem as original or groundbreaking as it once was. But “Bottle of Smoke” is a good indicator that Pogues could incorporate the spirit of punk with their heritage, without turning up the volume of electric instruments. All you hear on this track, is acoustic guitars, accordion, drums, bass and a tin whistle. And it sounds like a riot ready to break loose.

My Life in 33 Songs: #17: “The Sunnyside of the Street” – The Pogues



ChieftainsIn a sea of hundreds of people dancing and jamming to The Pogues onstage, I watched as my older brother disappeared into the crowd when the band kicked into “Sunnyside of the Street”.  One moment he had been beside me in the safety of the back of the venue where it was less packed, and then he was gone.  Moments later, I saw his head poke out of the masses only a few feet away from the stage singing along at the top of his lungs.

Pogues shows are known for their rowdy and drunken crowds.  But it’s also much more than that.  There’s a sort of an underlying unity among the crowd, that doesn’t exist in any other band I’ve seen perform. In a way, their shows are a sort of celebration of Irish heritage — many of MacGowan’s lyrics deal with Irish Nationalism – just as much as it seeing one of the best bands of the 1980s.

“Sunnyside of the Street” holds a special place in the hearts of many Pogues’ fans with its memorable tin whistle line, upbeat tempo and Shane MacGowan’s defiant lyrics. You could also argue that it’s perhaps the last truly great song that MacGowan recorded with The Pogues, before his departure after completing Hell’s Ditch on which it appeared.  When the song began, the already crazed crowd erupted into a frenzy.

I rolled and groaned my eyes for a second, knowing what this meant. I couldn’t stand in the back while my brother – 10 years older than me — jammed away up front. I’m not usually a competitive person, but there was no way I was going to be outdone. I shoved my beer into the hands of my friend who was standing beside me and shoved my way into the crowd.

After getting numerous elbows in the chest, beer and cigarette ashes spilt all over my hoodie, I finally managed to find my brother.  We exchanged a quick look at each other without saying a word.  But I knew what the look in his eyes meant. What took you so long?  Let’s do this!

I was introduced to The Pogues at a young age by my brother, but at first I hated them. Despised them even. Their Celtic approach to punk was lost on me. They may have played with aggression, but to my mind they sounded too much like the Chieftans, a group who my mother loved.  I didn’t want to spend my time listening to traditional Irish music – I wanted loud guitars, not tin whistles, harps and accordions.

I watched in glee as MacGowan – only a few feet away — slurred his way through the lyrics of the song. It hardly mattered how he sang it.  The audience knew every word, and the band seemed to feed of its energy.  When the song ended