Congress Theater Announces A Parting Glass With…The Pogues, March 3, 2010
Full Original Line-up w/ Shane McGowan, Jem Finer, Spider Stacy, James Fearnley, Darryl Hunt, Andrew Ranken, Phillip Chevron & Terry Woods
Traditional Irish folk music collides with punk-rock grit and shamelessness in The Pogues. The legendary rabble rousers return with the full original line-up intact for a night of musical anarchy Thursday, March 3rd at Congress Theater. They’ll be joined by Titus Andronicus, one of the most exciting punk bands to emerge in recent years. Doors open at 7pm. General admission is 40.00, VIP Tickets (w/ free drinks & access to VIP balconies) are 100.00.
Led by sparingly-toothed and grumbling singer-songwriter Shane MacGowan, the Pogues specialize in highly-charged songs bespeaking tales of alcohol over-indulgence, illicit love, death, urban blight, and political protest, all set to music recalling the folk melodies of Irish ballads, jigs, drinking songs, and sailor chantys. On the surface, their sound bears echoes of traditional Irish folk groups such as The Clancy Brothers or The Dubliners, yet, as Richard Grabel wrote in Creem, The Pogues are easily distinguished: “The Pogues… infuse… traditional music with punkish energy and abandon, an anarchic spirit, and a hard, aggressive, stomping instrumental approach.”
The Pogues rose out of the North London punk scene of the early 1980s when MacGowan, who had founded the punk-group Nipple Erectors (a.k.a. The Nips), joined English tin whistle player Spider Stacey to sing Irish folk songs in a popular London rock club. Disgruntled with a dying-out punk scene, the musicians began performing old standards at pubs in a highly-revved and furious fashion. They were soon joined in their musical venture by ex-Nips guitarist Jim Fearnley, and the group initially named itself Pogue Mahone (Gaelic for “kiss my ass”). Pogue Mahone began performing their energized folk alongside MacGowan originals throughout London, and three other musicians were recruited for a sextet, including drummer Andrew Ranken, banjo player Jem Finer, and female bass guitarist Cait O’Riordan. Acoustic instruments such as the accordion and fiddle were added, and as Stacey recalled to Lisa Russell in People, “we’d pick up instruments we couldn’t play and do Irish folk songs at 140 miles an hour, playing them badly, but with spirit.”
The same year, The Pogues—featuring a shortened, less outrageous, name—were signed to a recording contract with Stiff Records, which in 1984 released the group’s first album, Red Roses for Me. Their second album, Rum, Sodomy and the Lash— taken from an expression of Winston Churchill describing life in the Royal Navy—was produced by singer-songwriter Elvis Costello and brought them wider attention in both Britain and the United States. The album also spawned their first British hit single, “A Pair of Brown Eyes.” Phil Chevron, formerly of the punk group Radiators from Space, joined The Pogues after their first album, and Terry Woods, a multi-instrumentalist, came on board after their second. O’Riordan married Costello and left the group in 1986, and was replaced by Darryl Hunt, who had been a roadie of The Pogues.
Many critics consider The Pogues’ million-selling 1988 album, If I Should Fall from Grace with God,Peace and Love, was worked on more fully in the recording studio and as a result, features a more polished sound. The lyrics of The Pogues’ songs, particularly MacGowan’s contributions, express what Karen Schoemer in the New York Times called “desperation,” yet they are “almost always pitted against the jubilant fast tempos and merry accordion whirl of Irish music, and that conflict between the insanely joyful and the intoxicatingly sad.” MacGowan commented to Grabel that The Pogues’ music reflects “…the way life is…one minute you’re up, the next minute you’re down” and similarly noted to Russell that he simply feels “…there’s lots of good in this world and lots of ugliness. Can’t have one without the other.” to be their finest effort. Peel describes it as “a riotous, whirling, reeling brawl of tavern ribaldry, pock-marked love songs, boozy prayers, gutter balladry, Thatcher-bashing, and, above all, Joycean romanticism.” The Pogues’ 1989 album,
A Parting Glass with the Pogues Thursday, March 3, 2010Titus Andronicus Opens Congress Theater2135 N Milwaukee AveChicago, Illinois 60647(773) 276-1235Doors 7pm Tickets 40.00/100.00