No doubt on Thursday, many of Windsor’s Pubs and Taverns – such as Mick’s Irish Pub, The Manchester Pub, O’Maggio’s Kildare House, The MiLL Tavern and The Dominion House – will be packed to the rafters with what many people call “amateur drinkers”. These are the folks that generally don’t go out much and only really let loose on the Big 3 (New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day and their respective birthdays). They’ll all claim to be Irish for one day and will point to the fact that they are drinking “green beer” as signs of this authenticity (despite the fact that no self respecting Irishman would drink beer with green food dye in it).
They’ll also undoubtedly be harbouring all the musicians in town who play Irish, Scottish and Maritime Celtic music, so you’ll be inundated with several dozen renditions of songs like “Black Velvet Band”, “Barrett’s Privateers” and “Whisky in the Jar”, with a few Great Big Sea, Pogues and Spirit of the West songs thrown in for good measure.
But what about those of you who would like to go out and celebrate good friends rather than the idea of painting shamrocks on your cheeks or holding your friends hair back while they’re throwing up corned beef sandwiches at 3 in the afternoon?
Well, a few downtown music venues are offering something a little less Irish, but no less entertaining, as a musical alternative on the big Irish day out.
Windsor’s premiere roots rock outfit, The Locusts Have No King, are quietly holed up working on material for their next recording, a follow up to their 2010 EP, Come One, Come All, and their members are out plying the trades of their other musical ventures – David Dubois and Tara Watts are playing solo more often right now, while guitarist Leigh Wallace, bassist Paul Loncke and drummer Joey “The Wiseguy” DesRoches have hooked up with singer/songwriter Andrew MacLeod in the fantastic rock outfit Years of Ernest. But the Locusts Have No King are pulling it all back together with a special show at Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West) on St. Patrick’s Day, with a taste of Canadiana instead of the Irish.
If you’d rather hear the thunder of Windsor’s metal scene rather than an Irish jig, then the legendary Coach & Horses (156 Chatham St. West, basement level) is where you’re going to want to end up on St. Patrick’s Day. Devilz By Definition, who have been finishing up their album and picking up some great slots on some out of town shows, lead a three band line-up that also includes The Kettle Black and Awake To A Dream.
One of Windsor’s most entertaining performers, Kenneth MacLeod, leads his revamped Windsor Salt Band – featuring Max Marshall on bass, Scotty “Shoes” Hughes on guitar, Aaron Stanton on drums and Damien Zakoor on percussion. A native Cape Bretoner, MacLeod, the brother of Years of Ernest’s Andrew, will probably have his fare share of East Coast Celtic in his set list when he rips up the stage at The FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. West, main level).
As for the pubs themselves, expect a full day of music at The Manchester Pub (546 Ouellette Ave.), O’Maggio’s Kildare House (1880 Wyandotte St. East) and Mick’s Irish Pub (28 Chatham St. East), with doors at 11am and the party’s going right to 2am. If you’re planning to hit either of these places, I’d get there early. They will most likely be St. Patrick’s Day’s premiere destinations for some Celtic revelry.
The Manchester’s Open Mic host, Clinton Hammond, kicks off the day at the Manchester, followed by Clusterfolk! (featuring Brian VanderPryt and Frank Edgley Jr., formerly of Celtic Cross). Original headliner Tartan Army had to recently withdraw due to a serious injury to member Kit McEvoy, but they’re being covered by Manchester regular Jamie Reaume (Foreign Film Star, The Golden Eagles, Dave Russell & The Precious Stones).
O’Maggio’s is throwing a two part party, with entertainment inside and outside in their tent. Sean Gillis opens the day outside, followed by Jamie Reaume, and then headlined by Alex Carruthers & The Rhythm Brothers. Inside, Chris Bollister kicks off the festivities, followed by Rick Rock and then The Mid Life Trio.
ReGael – featuring the two other former members of Celtic Cross, Mark Crampsie and Glen MacNeil – will be starting things off at Mick’s Irish Pub, with their unique blend of Celtic and contemporary, mixing original songs with classic East Coast and UK Celtic.
I’m sure just about every bar, pub or tavern in Windsor will have something going on on Thursday. This was just a quick direction as to what some destinations will have should you want green beer or black metal.