youngraven: (Default)
See, the trouble is that I never can think of anything at all to write about when it's timely. Come to that, I can scarcely think of anything to write about when it isn't. I went for...janey, most of my youth with people telling me I should be a writer. One sort of has to Dig Writing in order to do that, don't you think? I admire all of yez who have made this your calling: you're putting to good use all those words that I can't be arsed to do anything with at all.

Sort of thing. Actually, this is about me surviving St Pat's this year. I know, yeh? The shortest distance right? Ain't no thing. 

I had two gigs this year, which considering I don't work with a regular band anymore, is plenty really. If I were working with one? I think I'd want perhaps two more, but I'd no complaints for what I had (...and actually, I'd a chance at a third one, but for reasons best not gone into publicly, I turned that one down). It used to be that I was convinced that the regular, rehearsed band was the best way to go...and perhaps it still really is if one wants to do amazing things with one's music. Only a handful of years ago I had an experience with a pick-up band that was so phenomenal that it changed the way I approached performing. 

So since I'm not working with a band at all, I'm fairly game for pick-up work, and this has shaped my last few St Pat's experiences. Mostly, I work with two chaps: John and Mike. John is a mainstay in the local Irish scene and is one of the best Irish guitar players going. Mike is a fiddle player who used to live here, but now does dwell in Sunny Portland and makes the trek down to play with John (and myself) in the bars every March. 

With John on guitar, Mike on fiddle, and myself on vox and drum, we've fairly got it sorted.

So this year was much like last year: we played at Fred's and the Bull and Bush. The Bull and Bush is John's signature St Pat's do - everything builds up to that one. Last year, I liked Fred's best, cos it was low-key, casual, and I was fairly just after coming back from Atlanta and blowing rather much dust off the lot of it. I mean, I played in the seisiunna in Atlanta, but hardly performed there (my own choice), so. At any rate, Fred's was grand last year. 

This year...they'd changed the orientation of the stage (and in fact had built a huge new one), and the feel of the place was seriously different. And thus, I was seriously Off. It was...I'm glad there was nobody really paying me much mind, 'cos jaysus bloody mercy. Alright, in my own defence, I could hardly hear myself - which is never terribly good for a singer. I did manage to shush the crowd a bit during one song, so. Hurrah that. I lost them in the bridge, but oh well. We live and learn, don't we though? My mum had nothing critical to say about it, and she surely should have let me know if she thought that goats were blown. 

Once we'd done with Fred's, we decided we'd eff off to the Bull and Bush and sesh for a while in preparation for the next night's gig there. Wasn't that a fine idea? Well it was, truly, and I'm highly in favour of doing it again that way. We had a few punters, a few jars, a few tunes, and the people there got to listen to me singing the same Bob Dylan song Five Times Over. It was brilliant.

So I was well prepared for the next night's do and it went really well. Far better than Fred's had done. It can get quite noisy there during St Pat's, but since most people had done the momentary Irish bit the previous night, the crowd was thinner than usual and more interested in listening to us and interacting with us - and not once were we asked for some daft pub song that we're sick to our guts of doing. So I offered up Bob Dylan and Mumford & Sons, and it all worked rather well.
So. I managed a handful of paragraphs, yeh? :D
youngraven: (mise mé fhein)
So, in honour of last night's fun...

I began the day, actually, practising a bit and attempting to sort out my car. It's half-way sorted. Here's to hoping I don't elicit the attention of the gardai. :| After that, I raced over to Joseph C's house for a quick practise before heading for his school where he was giving a little concert for his family and friends. Joseph is 15 years of age and is well on his way to being a fantastic whistle player. He's being home schooled, and when he's done with his lessons, he plays Irish music. It's brilliant. Playing with Joseph and his friend, James, was grand 'cos I never knew what they were going to come out with next (I'm not broody, shush up ;)). I was a bit envious of all of the resources they've got as relatively new players. When I was their age (James is 19), there were seisiunna, Paul's radio show, and...playing by oneself at home. If either of these boys want to know how Somebody Played Something, they turn to YouTube and look at videos and listen till they've got it down perfect.

In the midst of feeling envious, I did realise that - eh, I can do that as well, so.

So we played at Joseph's school for round an hour; the three little boys in the front row we challenging each other to name all of the instruments we had there, and an argument broke out over the pronunciation of 'bodhran'. Aww.

(Still not broody.)

After that...(this is why I stall when it comes to the What I Did at My Weekend posts. I hate this 'first I...then I...and after that...' language. It seems to me so stilted and loping - if you can imagine that. I suppose it would slightly resemble a robot with long ears and mis-matched legs... I need flash transitional phrases. I mean, if it can't hold my own interest... hoosh. What a diversion, this.)

Right, so... I quit Joseph's school and meandered towards Ye Olde Bull and Bush for the traditional St Pat's spree.

I got there, if you were wondering. :D

Nigh unto an hour early, actually. Considering I was a bit late to Lola's (I know, I know - I got saved by the sound tech being later than myself)...early was pleasing. And it afforded me the chance to go and buy a massive bottle of water. 'Cos there isn't a smoking ban in Fort Worth, and the walls at the pub are a sort of indelible peachy brown. I've a feeling they began their existence as white. Thus, it's water or choke to death.

It's...been a while since I've played a marathon gig. Usually on St Pat's, the band have been one of many that'll play in a location that day. Last year, Sprig played... Lochrann's, the Plaza Pub, and J Gilligans...well, I suppose the Lochrann's/Plaza do was a bit of a marathon, 'cos that was all the same day - but it was broken up by a few hours. If I recall correctly, Shaddow and I went for sushi between the two shows.

It has been a while since I was with the One Band that would play the pub for St Pat's. It meant less slogging of gear, and I was wearing Fantastic Yet Stupid Shoes. I've a new rule (and very nearly written in blood - no lie): if it's a gig other than Ken's seisiun at Trinity, I'm never allowed to wear Fantastic Yet Stupid Shoes. It's a thing that cannot be. I'm surprised that I can walk at all today. I'm sure I looked amazing on stage, but no. Never again. Argh.

It was a blast. I learn an incredible amount from playing with pick-up bands. And it's...sort of difficult to expound on, really. It's been to my benefit every time I've done it. The people listening to us didn't know that we'd played (in that grouping - I've played with John several times before, but this was the first time I'd formally met Mike) together only once before. John's girlfriend even remarked at how well we'd meshed.

I would certainly do that again.

So...highlights. The tiny step dancing woman (I believe she's the one who taught the Behan children to dance - I recognise her), who offered up 'Curragh of Kildare' in a sean-nos style. The man with the piercing screech. My friend Monique's bit about squirrels (she used to climb telephone poles for a living - there's no love lost between Monique and squirrels). Kyle's dart lessons at the hands of a woman called Kelly. The eerie lack of Beer Girls (seriously - I thought the Beer Girls came out to every St Pat's - last year, they made friends with us and shared when the boys would stand them rounds). Explaining a Union Jack's composite parts to my father. The awkward lack of Tri-Colour (hallo? Where was it? Was it flying outside, and I missed it?) - I kept looking at the place where I thought it should have been, Tri-Colour. People dancing to 'Star of the County Down'; she might be a bit well-worn and frayed round the edges (...but if I love her enough, someday she'll become a real rabbit? Jeez, it's late), but no matter, that. :)

I developed a strong practise regimen leading up to this season. I had a goal in mind, and mostly I met it (there were a couple of snags, but everything worked to my favour). I'm going to carry on with this, and...perhaps in a little while, I'll go off and book myself for engagements. I've always had people to back me, perhaps it's time I didn't limit myself to that. :)

St Pat's

Mar. 16th, 2009 02:34 pm
youngraven: (Eire)

Finding yourself at a loss for how to mark St Pat's this year? I've got a suggestion: join the time-honoured tradition of spending it at Ye Olde Bull and Bush.

Sounds fantastic, who'll be playing there that night, then?

Oh, thanks very much for asking!

Playing the best in Irish jigs and reels will be Scarin' the Horses, which shall include John Burleson (one of the region's finest Irish-style guitarists), Mike Hryekewicz (a fantastic fiddle player late of Lost Tribe and down visiting us from Sunny Portland), and Gypsy Youngraven (recognise that name? So do I :D)

Ye Olde Bull and Bush can be found at:

2300 Montgomery Street (about 4 blocks  North of I-30)
Ft. Worth, Texas 76107-4521

We can be found there beginning round 7.30 and until...well, Until. I hope to see everybody out there. :D

Cheers and beers,

youngraven: (Default)

Bits of the last few days (and now) at random.

I lost my LJ client in the Vista upgrade; I've yet to decide whether I'm going to go and find another one.

NTIF went rather better (for me, at least), than last year. If you wish me to qualify that, then ask. Otherwise, we'll leave it at that.

Playing at Lola's on Saturday was fun. The ghost upstairs did not make an appearance, however. John B offered up this bit of wisdom for our consideration (Lola's being in the Stockyards, it seemed apropos): there're many people who needed shootin', but I ain't never met a horse who needed stealin'.


There are, truly, drunken men out in the world who search high and low for bodhranaí to chat up. The good news is, chances are he'll never recall any of it. :D

I should have had a good hard look in the mirror before I left the house this morning. By the unyielding light of the ladies', I am shown that I am somewhat inappropriately attired for the office.

Oops. At least I've got a cardie, yeh?

Tomorrow night's the big do with myself, John B, and 'Fiddle Boy Mikey' (I did not bestow upon him that monicker; I refer to him as 'Mike from Portland', 'cos his surname, I cannot pronounce. :D) down Ye Olde Bull and Bush. I've posted about it at Facebook and Myspace, but I've not done here. Off to remedy that.

youngraven: (whack-fol-lol-de-ra)
A moment ago, there came a noise out my window as though somebody were beating a tattoo on it. There was a rhythm and a cadence - the lot. I wondered to myself whether there's a drum playing serial killer wandering about.

Sometimes my mind goes off into places that it shouldn't.

I have got an astonishing lot to do after I awaken tomorrow. Having said that, [ profile] shaddowshoes has got more to do. He's not going to have much of a brain left come Sunday.

The words above were written last night, not moments before I realised myself too fagged out to exist (at least for the next eight hours - if it was that, I don't think it was).

This morning, I've stumbled round in a daze, promised [ profile] shaddowshoes that I would bring along a chair for him to the pub, run scales in the shower (and realised that my mid-range is in the bog), sorted out the set lists, and bit into a hard-boilled egg which proceeded to sort of explode.

Pause to play at mousies with Beanies.

I've also come to realise that there is weather over my head, and thus I am under it. Na shite. The bothersome, persistent cough I discovered at round half-three yesterday had nought, in fact, to do with breathing in an uncommonly large dust mote. No, rather it seems I wandered thro' a hovering cloud of Ailment, and it's decided to call my corpus home.

Imagine my joy. 'Cos it isn't as though I've not tenbloodythousand things to do today, no. It isn't as though I'm not off to pour all of my blood, sweat, and tears in to the air for the benefit of the Kiss Me, I'm Irish lot for five bloody hours today. And it most certainly isn't as though I can crawl back into my bed and stay there for another three hours.


It's half-eleven now, and what have I left me to do before I scarper?

  1. Drop my CV into the post ('cos it's really got to arrive to its destination by Monday. Ha, in me fucking dreams...)

  2. Erm...

  3. Load my gear into my car

  4. Check I've got an instrument stand

  5. Remember the VibraSlap

  6. Go round the shops for something that'll stop me keelling over and dying for all to see.

  7. Erm...fetch up the video camera and a tripod.

  8. Tart myself up, I look a mess.

And now, it's nigh unto noon, which means I've got an entire hour to hie me off to J. Gilligan's.

Oh, and lest I forget, we've (Sprig) decided that we're going to ask the fellow who got us the gig at the aforementioned J. Gilligan's whether he'd act as our manager/booking agent sort of thing. Wish us luck he says that he'll do it. 'Cos Christ on a bike, do we need a booking agent.

Peace out, slán go foill, and mind the gap youse.
youngraven: (sprig)
Well, both are as Irish as the other, and all are welcome here:

[ profile] typsygypsy made it. She's the bloody cleverest. :D
youngraven: (Default)
You know, say what you will about frowsty ould St Pat, but his existence means that for one day out of every year, the masses will pay attention to what I do.

And they did. By god, they did. We were a-fucking-mazing yesterday. The crowd were responsive, we had dancers (!!!) Sure, I'm blathering, but there's nothing to compare to the sound of Irish dancers slamming their shoes against the floor and knowing that you're the reason they're troubling themselves. My. God.

It was brilliant. Even the rain was brilliant. I feel as though we've gained a bit of the momentum we'd lost, and I don't want to lose it. I don't care how we manage it, but I don't want to lose it. Last night, Donna (manages BEHAN) says to me 'You're too good to go unnoticed', and I agreed - not because my ego is a fearsome ravenous beast, but because we've worked our frigging arses off. We are good, and I feel no shame in saying that - no need for stupid poxy false modesty. The dancers were from Austin and study under Eoin O'Maoileidigh; they called us 'awesome' and asked why they'd never heard of us.

We are. We're killer - and so much moreso than we were.

So...thank you to all of youse who came out in support. It was lovely looking out on you.

I don't think we tell [ profile] shaddowshoes how brilliant he is often enough. He's dedicated to making us sound the best that we can do, and we're all the better for his tireless efforts. Thank you, sweetie. :)
youngraven: (Default)
As I'm sure you've already worked out, this post has got nothing at all to do with pirates (or secretly wearing your auntie's knickers - but I digress). What it has got to do with is where you lot will be on St Pat's (that's friday, 17 March for those of you who aren't Catholic or have missed all of the paper shamrocks fluttering about).

If you love us, you'll be here:
Tipperary Inn
5815 Live Oak Street
Dallas, TX 75214

Spriggan will be playing there from half-three to half-seven (or 3.30 pm to 7.30 pm or 15.30 to 19.30 - whichever way makes the most sense to you). It's simple, really, you want to see us, and we want to see you. It's brilliant how it all sorts itself out.

Don't worry, we'll not ask you to wear a silly hat or green or anything - we firmly believe in 'you pinch, I punch'. So if coming out in hot pink or (shudder) orange suits your fancy, you can do so safe in the knowledge that we'll keep our sharp little fingers to ourselves (sure, a black eye would give me cred, but that doesn't mean I want one).

So, to briefly recapitulate:
17 Mar, 3.30 - 7.30 (cosily nestled 'twixt Beyond the Pale and BEHAN)
Tipperary Inn
5815 Live Oak Street
Dallas, TX 75214

Bring yourselves, your mates, their mates, that creepy fellow who's been following you and sellotaping ominous messages to your windscreen. Bring a snake - we'll try to convince an old priest to chase it round the pub.

Slainte go deo, go raibh mile maith agat, may your aunties never burst into flames before the will's been signed in your favour, &c.


youngraven: (Default)

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