Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Though there might not be a lot of live music on the holiday itself, being it is on Sunday, it is still sure to be a lively day and evening at our local watering holes.
One of the main aspects to enjoying what a place has to offer is the bartender, and we are blessed to have a number of skilled mixologists in our fair capital city. Their job, however, goes way beyond mixing drinks and pouring drafts. Keeping us all safe as we enjoy our adult beverages by monitoring folks’ consumption is a primary aspect of the job that is generally under-appreciated by the public. That’s a lot of responsibility, and given there are legal ramifications if they fail to monitor diligently, it cannot be underestimated.
That being said, I’ve got a few favorites around town. Matthew Slaughter over at Three Penny Taproom makes the best margarita in town (it’s so good I’ve re-named it the “Slaughter-rita”). Jeffrey over at Charlie O’s is super diligent amidst what often seems like chaos when the bar is busy, and you’ll never find yourself waiting very long, no matter how crowded the barroom gets. Hostess with the mostest Melissa over at her namesake establishment Sweet Melissa’s throws down a party atmosphere with polished aplomb, and Haji over at Langdon Street Tavern is simply a master of his craft. This is to name but a few of the hard-working folks that help make our nightlife and live music experiences safer and more enjoyable, and they deserve a hearty thank you, and tips. There’s a reason bands always say “Be sure and tip your bartender” from the stage.
Moving on to the upcoming weekend, a Celtic-themed show is happening in the Granite City just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. On Saturday night, Dervish, one of the world’s premier traditional Irish music ensembles, will take the stage at the majestic Barre Opera House. “Dervish are simply brilliant ... they carry Irish history with them” (The Guardian). The band got its start playing in the pubs of Sligo, the small Northwest Ireland town renowned for its traditional music scene. They’ve been bringing that sound to the world for over 25 years now, and show no signs of slowing down. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. performance are $23-$35, and those and more information can be had at www.barreoperahouse.org.
Another place you can catch some live Irish music is Bagitos, on Main Street in the capital near the Savoy Theater. They host an Irish Session every Saturday at noon, this one being no exception. Get the party started a day early with a traditional cèilidh in the front window, and hoist a pint if it’s not too early for ya.
Another place you can celebrate a day early with some live music is at Zenbarn over on Guptil Road in Waterbury Center. On Saturday night, upstate New York’s Stinky Boots String Band brings its bluegrass sound to the Zen stage with the promise of some distinctly Irish flavor being thrown in for the festivities. The Zen seems to have a knack for putting great talent on its stage, and I’d expect this one to be no exception starting at 9 p.m. for $5 at the door.
Back in the city of the Golden Dome, Charlie O’s will be hosting live music as usual this weekend, but I didn’t have the details at press time. They’ve recently changed their talent coordinator, and they may be playing a bit of catch-up during the transition, but rest assured, there will be free live music at O’s as usual this weekend.
Around the corner at Sweet Melissa’s, the calendar is online, so I can share with you what they have to offer on their busy live music schedule. You can kick things off tonight with Ryan Fauber at 8 p.m. and Dave Langevin in the early slot at 6 p.m. On Friday night, Soulstice brings its homegrown, Green Mountain reggae sound to the black box stage starting at 9 p.m.
Saturday night, Lillith plays the early slot at 6 p.m., followed by a double-bill of heavy metal acts with Nechromancer and Metamorph. You might want to be prepared for that one as the diminutive room can get quite loud with bands of this type. Finally, on Sunday, it’s live band karaoke with The Butcher Blocks starting at 8:30 p.m. I might even show up to belt out an irreverent Irish ditty myself.
There’s some great live music off the beaten path this weekend as well. The Whammy Bar, nestled in the back of the Maple Corner Store in Calais, kicks off the weekend tonight with its open mic night at 7 p.m. On Friday night, the cozy barroom hosts Liz Beatty belting it out alongside D. Davis and Seamus Hannan starting at 7:30 p.m.
Finally, on Saturday night, Miriam Bernardo sings alongside her longtime collaborator Seth Eames, once again at 7:30 p.m. Expect both of these shows to be well attended; two dynamite female singers generally bring out a crowd around these parts.
That wraps up this week. Have a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day, and always remember to tip your bartender. Erin go Bragh!