You might not expect an Irish punk/Americana band to open a set with a cover of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, but that’s exactly what the boys of Black Irish Texas did Tuesday night. Quite honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect. They packed the smaller Sidewinder inside stage with seven members of varying fashion; Irish flat caps and vests were prominent but the staunch cowboy and the rather impressive mohawk made them look anything but traditional.
One thing was for certain- the connecting thread of this band’s image, sound, and lyrics was whiskey. Their set included the required amount of drinking songs, and even lead vocalist and guitarist James Fitzsimmons’ voice sounded bathed in Jameson like a proper Irishman.
Their sound switched easily between the melodies of Irish folk and Americana, and the fast pace of punk ruckus. While most songs combined the two styles and climbed in intensity, one song in particular was appropriately prefaced as “the slow and pretty one.”
Seven band members might seem like a lot until you consider the different roles in their line up. The low-end foundation of the upright bass was built by Shannon McMillan; Michael Franklin brought the western guitar edge; Bil Zarate solidified the Americana stylings on the banjo; Chad Fitzsimmons really filled out the robust guitar sound; Marc Maughmer II’s fiddle was absolutely second to none; and the new drummer, known only as the elusive Scooby, needed only a few queues but kept up well and fit in nicely.
The completely overhauled Sidewinder audio system perfectly complemented the band’s sound. You really have to hand it to the crew who turned that place from the former Red Eyed Fly into the more polished venue it is today. And Transmission Entertainment always books a killer show. The whole experience made this Irish-American gal smile. Now give me a feckin’ pint!
-Gemmi Galactic, TipCow