O’Malley’s Pub, in Weston MO, never fails to bring out the best in the band. Despite starting out this past Friday evening's set with a few bugs in the PA, the crowd quickly got into the music and the night took off. Saturday night bordered on pandemonium, with a crowd that stayed most of the night, singing along to just about every song. And it didn't help matters much (or did it?) that a handful of generous, trusty friends bought rounds for the band. Dan, make a mental note... Mary - Doc Otis' Lemonade.
YUKON CELTIC NATIONS FESTIVAL
Our second season at the Yukon Celtic Nations Festival was an enjoyable and relaxing one. Situated a few miles west of Oklahoma City, a weekend there comes with some perks - namely the hospitality of good friends Cash Myers and Rick Staton. A mild drizzle forced the bagpipe competition to a nearby indoor venue, which divided the gate. But an appreciable crowd made it to the site over the course of a fairly easy-going weekend.
In addition to being the dining facility, the Hornet's Nest (in the Memorial Union) doubles as Emporia State University's coffeehouse venue. Driving down to Emporia KS for a concert there on Friday the 13th felt portentous, to say the least. But that apprehension was quickly sent on its way upon arriving at the Union and finding a small group of students eagerly awaiting the arrival of the band. The students on the Live Music Committee spared no effort in preparing the Hornet's Nest for the performance. And the audience that assembled was quite a bit larger than what they had expected, not to mention there were more than a couple handfuls of familiar faces. Overall it was a great night.
September 2nd - October 16th
KANSAS CITY RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL
This season's run of the Kansas City Renaissance Festival elicited an assortment of responses from fans, friends, and fellow performers alike. It was quite rewarding to finally be able to go into the run of the Festival with CD's to get into the hands of patrons (instead of apologies). The band spent the entire run in Dunwoodie Dell, a pleasant little grove of trees that seemed to make the best of some of the harsher turns of weather the Festival has seen in a while. Fellow performers responded warmly to the show, making what has likely turned out to be the last full run of KCRF a bittersweet one. There will, hopefully, be some limited appearances at the Festival in seasons to come, but interest from the college circuit and some of the regional Irish and Scottish festivals has made it increasingly difficult to lock up two months of the year.
OHIO RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL
After a three-year sabbatical, Mary returned (along with the rest of the band) to Harveysburg OH - the site of the Ohio Renaissance Festival (where she had performed from 1995-1997 with ClanDestine). While there, the gang enjoyed the gracious and lavish hospitality of Dennis, Mary and Ellen Fox - Mary's biggest and bestest fans in the 3-Rivers region. The high points of the weekend included touching bases with old friends like the Swordsmen (Doug Mumaw and Dave Wooley), Theatre in the Ground (Jonathan Crocker and Simon Jaeger), Craig of Farrington (Craig Broers), the Tartan Terrors, Steven Smith, Bob Ford, and Menagerie (John and Lisa Butts). And although they weren't performing at the Fair, catching one of the live-performance/recording-sessions of the Minstrels of Mayhem was an exceptional treat. And the performing-company was very warm and responsive to Mary's return. It all made being at the Festival an exceptional experience AND did a great job jump-starting us for the upcoming run at KCRF.
CD RELEASE-PARTY @ O'MALLEY'S PUB
The CD is out! Our first CD, Timber and Stream, is complete, back from duplication, and debuted at a wild CD release-party held this past Saturday evening at O’Malley’s Pub. The excitement was at a high throughout the evening. Sean O'Malley played a gracious host, and even provided a couple handfuls of products for some giveaways. Friends and fans were there from all over - from New York to Texas. A 2-hour set was followed by a few numbers played from the CD, which gave way to some great jamming by Andrew Townley, Lee Worman, and Vic & Kelly Dougherty and Richelle Basgall (from Shenanigans). A warm thank-you to the couple hundred people who came out Saturday night to be a part of this wonderful celebration.
CENTRAL COLLEGE / WESTEND STUDIO
The mid-point of the 2000-season found the band dividing their time and resources evenly between gigs and the studio. This marathon weekend was the perfect example, beginning with a coffeehouse performance at Central College (Pella, IA) for about 100 students. The music was warmly received, and there was some conversation about a return-trip for the Spring 2001 semester.
A long ride back to KC, a short night's sleep, and all day at work preceded Friday night's past-midnight session at Westend Studio. Saturday's most-of-the-day in the studio was followed by a stress-free evening - catching Shenanigans' performance at O’Malley’s Pub. And then back into the studio for another (grueling) twelve hours on Sunday.
O'MALLEY'S PUB / WESTEND STUDIO
Another marathon weekend for the group started Friday night with a good performance (for a loud crowd) at O’Malley’s Pub, and was followed six short hours later by a visit to the Wyandotte County Fairgrounds to take in the Kansas City Scottish Highland Games. Some excellent performances by Alex Beaton, Shenanigans, and Alex Sutherland highlighted the music pavilion. A great dinner at the America Bowman preceded a veritable madhouse at O'Malley's with an audience in incredible form.
Another short night, and then a long (I say long) day at Westend Studio. Someday, ask Mary about Nancy's Waltz (and then run).
MY WATERLOO DAYS
The city of Waterloo, IA annually conducts a marvelous week-long city festival called My Waterloo Days. The band was up there for the closing weekend - which consists of a large outdoor music event and hot-air balloon-launch on Saturday night (promotional for us, as we hang out with the Waterloosians and play lawn-bowling), and an outdoor festival on Sunday (a la Henry VIII). The weather was beautiful through the end of the festivities on Saturday, at which point it promptly began raining and didn't stop until a minute before festivities started on Sunday. Makes you wonder what kind of connections they have, doesn't it? If you're ever in Waterloo, make it a point to dine at The Brown Bottle. Great food.
WESTPORT IRISH FESTIVAL
The Westport District was the backdrop for the 2nd annual Westport Irish Festival. The weather was fantastic both days as 4500 people crammed into the parking lot at Westport Road and Mill Street to take in the exceptional music of Seven Nations, the Elders, Shenanigans, Eddie Delahunt, Rowan, the Michael Collins Pipes & Drums, Blarney, and Tullamore (of course). Christine O'Riada and the dancers from the O'Riada Academy of Irish Dance were there as well, adding a touch of grace to the music. All of the music was well-received. And Peggy Sheehan seemed to have emptied her store for the benefit of the patrons. This is an event that has achieved excellence in only two years of existence. Watch for this Festival to outgrow itself a few times over the next several years. And make it a part of your annual Memorial Day festivities.
OKLAHOMA RENAISSANCE FAIRE
The Castle at Muskogee hosts the Oklahoma Renaissance Faire, one of the more unique productions of its genre. This is due, no doubt, to the Castle itself - an event hall designed as a castle and large enough to hold two large stages and a pub - all resplendent in climate-controlled glory. We had the opportunity to make the acquaintance of quite a few new friends, as well as meet up with a handful of some die-hards from the Southwest who made a long trip up to see us. And we were also able to touch base with some performer-friends that we don't see as often as we'd like - Bryan Wendling, Terry Elton, the Bilge Pumps (too numerous to name!) - and some others we had seen a few weeks earlier in Norman - the Rogues, and Smee & Blog.
Mark's return to the Tipperary Inn could not have occurred at a more auspicious moment than Tax Day Weekend. A gremlin in the PA (and some new gear) threw a few kinks into the start of their first set. But a little endurance on the part of the audience and some sleight of hand from our sound-man (Kenny 'Three-Left' Hyland) combined to smooth out the kinks, and the set took off. It was great to have gotten back to the Tipp and perform for our Dallas friends, and they showed up in droves. Also had the chance to spend a few minutes with Martin, who (by now) should be beginning some extensive remodeling of the pub. We're looking forward to the opportunity to gig there again this Fall.
NORMAN MEDIEVAL FAIR
The hands-down best weather of the year (to date) was on the weekend of central-Oklahoma's three-day Norman Medieval Fair. It was the best weather and best audiences the fair has seen in ten years. And while the overall theme of the show is Medieval, the entertainment goes across many cultures and periods. We shared the stage with some friends we hadn't seen in a while - the Rogues (Brian, Jimmy, Lars, and Wee Randy), Smee and Blog (Al and John), Daniel - Duke of Danger (Dan), and Harmless T Jester (Skip). And ran into friends from Dallas to Emporia.
Saturday morning brought a drive to Springfield MO for a day of jamming with the McSwain Brothers on the town square before the St Patrick's Day Parade, and later that evening at the Gillioz Theatre. The evening show was kicked off by the trio Kellswater, and then the band and the McSwain Brothers took the stage together and made some great music. Some coordinating mishaps led to a smaller audience than was anticipated, but all who attended were greatly entertained. We're hoping for this to become an annual event.
ST PATRICK'S DAY @ THE FLAMINGO CASINO / O'MALLEY'S PUB
The 'official' start of the season was our madhouse St Patrick's Day weekend. It began with four hours at the Flamingo Casino, just above the game floor (imagine the mild din of a few hundred slot machines whirring & dinging at the same time).
From there, it was up to O’Malley’s Pub, which was an absolute hoot! The band played in the bottom cellar for almost four hours, and was followed by Shenanigans, who played for about another four hours. Meanwhile, Sean McRatagan covered the entertainment in the upper cellar for the entire night - something no less than an astounding feat! The crowd was large when the band got arrived at 4:00 in the afternoon, and achieved sardine-like proportions by 7:30. If a good time wasn't had by all, they were too tossed to notice!