Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Arizona II: Éirinn go Brách!

The St. Paddy's Day Special -- Flogging Molly LIVE at Tempe Beach Park.

Anyone who knew me in college can vouch for me when I say that I've been talking about going to see Flogging Molly live on St. Patrick's Day since my freshman year. They've always been just out of reach -- or St. Paddy's fell one or two days before Spring Break ended, and the scheduling went all to hell. I refused to give up on my dream in my Senior year of college, so I planned ahead and saved all of my Christmas money to buy two tickets: one to Phoenix, AZ, and one to the Irish Punk Rock nirvana. I'm lucky enough to have a kind-hearted Aunt in Phoenix, but more on that later. This is about black beer and whiskey.

Chrissie, Era (a friend of Chrissie's who was our self-appointed Arizona tour guide) and I made a point of completely screwing up our ticketing options, but the nice gentlemen at the box-office helped us get it all sorted. After that near-fiasco, we cheerfully made our way over to the beer stalls and let the Harp and Guinness flow! The bands opening for Flogging Molly -- Metric, The Bollox, and Keltic Cowboys -- all held their own with a bit of Irish flair. It was really weird to hear Metric playing Irish covers, back in their pre-Scott Pilgrim days, but in retrospect it added a great deal of diversity to the evening.

At $7 a glass for Guinness, I had to do a fair bit of flirting to keep the free drinks coming, but it was well worth the effort as the night wore on; I mean, I can't be expected to stand 20 minutes in the beer line for myself, yeah? We got properly sloshed, stinking of sweat, spilled drinks, and gritty Arizona sand, and we danced something that passed for a reel with our fellow concert-mates the entire night. The nice folks at Tempe Beach Park did us all a favor by keeping the under-21s penned up in a separate portion of the field, so if we all got a little carried away -- and I'm not saying that we did, but IF -- no one was seriously injured. Beer makes you immune to things like sprained ankles and open-palmed slaps. We did see a few lads vomiting in the evening heat, but I can proudly say that we two Pennsylvania Girls kept our $7 beers in-gut without a problem.

So, while the Bacchanalia (Bonus Question: what is the Irish Mythos equivalent of Bacchanalia? No, really. Stop laughing. Someone figure it out and get back to me) took us to the brink of insanity, the real star of the night was the music. We sang, we screamed, we smiled... I'm going to sum this post up with a play list, it's really the only appropriate way to resolve the grinning nostalgia flitting about in my head tonight.

Oh, and lest I forget my typical end-of-post rant: do you want to know what really bothers me about St. Patrick's Day? The kilt. Kilts are just barely Irish. Just barely. Scots can wear them year-round without censure, but the one-night-Cuchulains among us need to remember that those of us with a family tartan will know in about 20 seconds if you're faking it or not; and even I don't wear mine on St. Paddy's because it's effing North Irish. That's right, I'm from a family of filthy Loyalists. (It makes me feel better to know that my branch expatriated in the late 18th Century.)

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone is Irish on St. Paddy's day. If you frat-slatherasses want to wear the Emerald Isle's generic green tartan once a year, that's your business, but don't just slap on any-old tartan and expect to be welcomed with open arms. Wear it because you're proud, not because that was the only color of plaid available at the Good Will that week. You non-Irish hangers-on from the Ren Faire circuit need to redirect your attention to the heritage-ambiguous UtiliKilt from now on.

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