Godspeed 2012, Joyful Welcome 2013

As many of my faithful readers know, 2012 was a turbulent year for me. This was a rock bottom year in which I had to make the choice of wallowing or rising above and forging myself into something new and better. I chose the latter route and while I am glad to see 2012 depart, I will always take the lessons learned with me. I look forward to 2013 being a stellar year – musically and personally.

My year started with a resolution of writing more and being more proactive. I had a great start of the year till I made a poor decision one evening and went out, had too much drink and on my way home, wrecked my poor Paddy Wagon and was arrested for a DWI. The morning after, sitting in the impound lot, waiting for AAA to tow my car home, while filled with regret for my poor decision, I was quite thankful I did not hurt physically hurt anyone. It was at that time I made the commitment to sobriety. I was very public with my ordeal, my pain and my decision. While it may have been uncomfortable reading for some, I gained many words of encouragement and support that I cannot even begin to express my gratitude of receiving. Much it was from people in the Celtic Rock and Punk scene, which as many of you know, is quite alcohol fuelled giving me encouragement in my commitment to sobriety.

For months my writing languished as I struggled to work on the demons that drove me to drink and other self-destructive behaviors that have not only hurt me, but those that I love. It was a constructive time for me – I learned much about myself, what drove me and my decisions, learning to trust in myself and gain the inner strength that I never knew was in me. Alcohol has always been a crutch for me. Something to hide behind, something to give me the false sense of strength. Once I stopped hiding who I was, channeling my inner strength, the decision of sobriety was easy.

Over the next few months, I had to miss a few shows that rolled through St Louis – Cutthroat Shamrock, Mighty Regis and Red Rebel County as I was still in severe emotional turmoil.

My first real test of my new life decision was going to a Whiskey of the Damned show. It was my first time in a bar since my fateful night. I went with my friend Ron, who I knew would have my back. My strategy that night was to bring my new camera and take pictures. As the night wore on and I watched some of the most inebriated patrons, I started to feel a strengthening of my conviction. At the end of the show, a quite drunk Eoin McCarthy was attempting to tempt me, to give up my choice and go back home with the band to go to college show full of nubile co-eds. Needless to say, I rejected the offer, knowing I was doing the right thing, not just for me, but for my kids. On my drive home, I drove with calm and peace with the knowledge that I had nothing to worry about it – as far as I am aware, there is nothing illegal with driving with excessive caffeine and nicotine.

After the Whiskey show, I had to face my punishment and accept my loss of driving privileges. I unfortunately missed The Real McKenzies but accepted it with grace as I chose to make my whole experience a learning tool. Not something to bemoan my luck, the cops, the legal institution but to accept my failings and stand tall. Over the years, I had become disconnected from the person I was. I gave up not only my will, but my personality and my voice. I reached back to the last time I was alcohol free – my high school self. I held nothing back, I did not hide myself or my quirks. And during that time, as many of you know by reading (and may be tired of hearing of) “Poor Troubled Life” became the song that  got me through the rough days, the song spoke to me like no other song had before.

Come June/July, I got a message from Beau of Lexington Field they were going to be playing in St Louis in August, during the last two weeks of my restricted driving, which only allowed me to drive for employment or community service. So I could see the band, Beau agreed to hire me as a photographer for the show, so I could have a legal reason to drive. I wrote up a contract, had business cards made and included a pre-shoot consult the day before the show which was conducted at the Cardinals game. That night, Beau really encouraged me to get back to writing, that my voice was being heard. His words that night still help give me the drive to write.

Since that night, I have worked to become more proactive – instead of waiting for bands to contact me and send me their stuff, I have utilized my Xbox Music subscription to find albums to review. I have written a few things to help spread the word about upcoming works. In all, as I have rediscovered myself and become more comfortable in my sobriety I have found my ease in talking to bands has not diminished. I no longer need the social lubricant, I just need to be myself.

So after boring you all, here are some of my top moments of the year

  1. Hanging out Lexington Field on their night off with Chad Ross of Rusty Nail. They are wonderfully down to earth, funny a joy to spend time with
  2. Going to the Weston Irish Festival – yes it was a long day, but it was a blast seeing Flannigans Right Hook up close when the rain ran them off stage. In addition, it brought back some good memories seeing Eddie Delahunt play. Third, it was great to see The Langers Ball play live and meet with the band and get some more grief over my views of their version of “Fields of Anthery” – I still stand by my point of view though!
  3. Yes another road trip – this time going to Urbana, IL to see The Mahones and meeting Finny and Katie. The gratitude of their words about my review of Angels & Devils has been a great motivation to keep writing. I look forward to seeing them play again (they told me they are planning an US tour in 2013 and said St Louis would be a stop!)
  4. In general, the music community of this genre is outstanding! All the friends I have made, even virtually has been fantastic – I hope some day to meet you all in person!
  5. Some of my favorite albums this year, in no order of preference has Hoist the Colors, the Kilmaine Saints, the Killigans, Lexington Field, Flatfoot 56 and Celkilt.

This year has been filled with great music and new friendships. I cannot even place a value on what has meant to me and the reforging of myself into something new and better. So with that I say Godspeed 2012 – you were rough on me, but you have taught me some invaluable lessons.

To 2013, I give a heartfelt and joyful welcome to 2013! This upcoming year should hold many new reviews, with many great bands releasing new albums this year, I am anxious to hear them and write about them. New concerts to see and new bands to discover and new road trips to take. Personally, I look forward to continuing with my personal growth and making new friends (hopefully some that will take said road trips with me, lol.)

So to all my readers and friends, I bid you a happy new year and slainte!

Forged anew, the Red Wolf rises!

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Rusty Nail Upcoming Event

Just a quick word for all those in the St. Louis area. Homegrown and local faves Rusty Nail are having an event on Saturday, November 10th at PBC Studios in Bethalto, IL. More information can be found here. So if you live in the St. Louis area, hop over to the other side of the river and catch a great show or if you happen to be driving through, stop in and take a listen!

Slainte!

Lexington Field Midwest Missle Tour – St Louis

The last two nights have been incredible fun! From hanging out with Lexington Field on Tuesday and then watching them Wednesday night, it has been a great experience and I look forward to more visits from them.

The show was at Plush and was my first visit to the venue. It had incredible space and the acoustics were good. For those who imbibe, they had a nice selection of on tap beers and even had Guinness on special for the concert (I stuck with iced tea, so I can’t tell you how it was served.)

The evening started with local Celtic Rock band Rusty Nail who rocked out a fair number of their originals including my favorites Deadbeat Daddy Docket Day, Damned Violent Things and Yadier Molina. During their set, Beau hopped up on stage to sing Tell Me Ma with Rusty Nail, giving the crowd a hint to Beau’s energy to come later in the evening! It has been a while since I have been able to see Rusty Nail and it was a great pleasure to experience them live again!

Up next, the main event! It was great to see Beau still sporting his St Louis Cardinals hat for the show and glad his Redbird fever lasted at least 2 days! From the minute Lexington Field started playing, you could easily light a city block with their energy! Cami on fiddle was blistering on she definitely puts the rock into their American Fiddle Rock! Bryan and Casey (even with a hurt hand due to earlier shenanigans of other band members) were slamming  and Vince on the drums was incredible! Not only was Beau rocking out the songs but also being appreciative for the St Louis, from Chad and myself, for the tattoo artist Midwest Rick from TRX Tattoos on South Grand where they got their tour tattoos and for Rusty Nail playing with them.

The biggest highlight of the evening was them playing Poor Troubled Life for me. That song has really helped me through some of my dark days and helped get me through them – so thank you very much guys that meant a lot to me! The whole evening was incredible and too hard to pick more, Galway Bay was incredible, Selfish bastard was phenomenal, Chad Ross and Chris Otto joining the band for a song.

The evening went by too quickly and if i could, I would have followed them to Indianapolis and then up to Chicago to see them with the Fisticuffs! As their popularity grows, i would not be surprised if the get a bunch of traveling groupies like the Grateful Dead, Phish or Widespread Panic – better start thinking of a name for them! Alas the evening had to come to an end, however I saw a fantastic, rocking show and made some new friends! So Beau, Cami, Vince, Bryan, Casey and AJ well met thank you, and till next time!

Check out all the pictures from the concert here and below are just some teasers!

Slainté

My Night With Lexington Field

Lexington Field from San Diego is on tour this month and St Louis is lucky enough to be a stop for them, they are playing on Wednesday, August 8th. I was lucky enough that today is their off day between Kansas City and St Louis. Tonight I hung out with the band, plus Chad from Rusty Nail. If I can describe the evening in three words, it would be insanity fueled fun! Granted, the band will blame it being on day 6 of their tour, but I think it only accentuated their insanity.

The evening started with meeting them at their hotel room, then going to look for BBQ, but unfortunately it was closed. Instead we head to a local Irish/Welsh pub, had dinner and caught the trolley to the ballpark to catch the Cards play the Giants. As the band members are Padres fans, they were more than happy to root for the Cardinals, but sadly the Cards did not pull out the win.

After the game, we caught a group doing percussion with a 6 year old drummer that has a great musical future then headed back to the pub for the band to get additional drinks. Without going into details (bear with me, it is late and I do have to get some sleep!) the evening was a lot of fun and I have yet to see the band even play yet! Stay tuned for more as I will be writing about the actual concert with Lexington Field and locals Rusty Nail!

Slainte!

New Tab – Upcoming St Louis Shows

Hey all, just a quick post to highlight a new page on the blog titled Upcoming St Louis Shows which I will work on keeping up to date with periodic reminder posts with updates to who I have added. For the next month and half, I have Rusty Nail, Red Rebel County, The Mighty Regis and a repeat visit from Whiskey of the Damned!

Slainte!

Proactive vs Reactive

So far this year has included some great shows but my discovery and writing about them has been reactive instead of proactive. One of the missions for my blog is to help the local Celtic Punk and Rock scene. In thinking about it, my reactive response has been great at telling people about what they missed, not what they can get out and enjoy. I plan on trying to be more proactive and will start to post about upcoming shows periodically.

To get the ball rolling, here are a few shows I am aware of:

Rusty Nail – the hometown favorite:
2/18 at the The Shamrock Pub following the Mardi Gras parade
3/10 at The Heavy Anchor

Red Rebel County – hailing from Chicago and called a premier Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly cover band:
3/09 at The Dubliner

The Mighty Regis – nationally touring from Los Angeles:
3/28 location yet to be announced.

So I am putting a call out to bands and fans to give me a shout when you know you are coming to the gateway city so I can help get the word out beforehand at rockingthecraic@gmail.com.

Thank you and slainte!

p.s. I posted this from my phone, so please forgive any typos and if there are any broken links please let me know.

The Muck Savages – My New Years Gift To You

Happy New Year! 2011 has been a great year for me as a music fan. I started my blog earlier this year to try to help bands get more exposure and to hopefully be a resource for like-minded individuals wanting to find new bands in the Celtic Punk/Rock genre.

I have worked on helping out St. Louis locals Rusty Nail by going to more shows than I can count and have talked them up here and on Facebook. I also got to see Cutthroat Shamrock and The Dropkick Murphys twice this year in addition to my almost nonstop trip to Columbus, OH and back for the Shamrock N Roll Fest where I got to see The Mahones, The Bloody Irish Boys, Street Dogs, Stiff Little Fingers, Parkington Sisters, Chuck Ragan and my second experience of DKM. I also got to see Murder the Stout along with the Street Dogs for a second time. I have also made friends outside of the States with great bands like Between The Wars, Ramshackle Army, Sir Reg and Mr. Irish Bastard. I hope 2012 continues with the great support I have gotten and given and I wish all bands the greatest success.

As my present to you, I want to introduce you to The Muck Savages. A raw, hard rocking band from Oklahoma City, OK. I hope 2012 brings me the opportunity to see these guys live. If you go their website, you can download their 4 track demo and 7 track EP Golden Molly for FREE! That is right, these have their music up for free, so grab some tracks and enjoy! Once you are on their website, just click on the Music link.

From their Demo, they have a great version of Come Out Ye Black and Tans along with my favorite We The People that starts with the preamble and quickly ramps into a great Irish inspired song with drive and energy.

From the Golden Molly EP, the stand out for me is Michael O’Malley. While not has hard-driving as some their other songs, the story of Michael O’Malley even touches my cynical heart. Fighting Man is another song that I have enjoyed – it is one of those great songs when you are in a “fuck you” mood and have the music burn your anger off after a long hard day.

But don’t take my word for it, you have nothing to lose since these guys are giving their music away. Give em a listen and enjoy! Hopefully I will be able to get myself down to OKC or they can get up to St. Louis so I can support them in person and buy some swag from them – I think the Paddy Wagon is in need of a Muck Savages sticker if I can find the room.