International Irish Punk Festival

Bands: Dirty Artichokes (ITA), Firkin, The Mahones (CAN)
Venue: Barba Negra Music Club, Prielle Kornélia utca 4,
1117 Budapest
Time: April 13, 2012 - 8.00 pm

After we've had the chance to experience Firkin in their full glory last month at the CD release concert, the band has given the role of headliners over to one of the most notable Canadian Celtic punk bands - The Mahones.

However, one foreign band doesn't make the night an international evening. Another band, from Italy, does. They are called Dirty Artichokes, coming from Torino. Dirty Artichokes have existed for only a few years now, but they've already played a great number of shows, while at the moment they are proudly presenting their debut album - My Empire of Dirt. This was Artichokes' first time playing in Hungary, but the second time they shared the stage with Firkin and The Mahones. Two days prior to the show in Budapest, the bands played in Vienna, but I'm sure the audience was much wilder here. For one reason, there seems to be an enormous group of Celtic punk fans in Hungary. They faithfully follow local bands such as, now even internationally very influential, Firkin and Paddy and the Rats.

The kilted band started playing spot on at 8 pm, warming the crowd up. Apart from their original music, Artichokes played three cover songs. Of those, Drunken Sailor is probably the best known one, being repeated quite often in the genre. However, even when Firkin put their own spin onto the song later on it didn't stop everybody from going crazy again.

I should say that they did one hell of a job at capturing the crowd's attention. They ended the show quite energetically, jumping and stomping so hard that at one point the singer went out of control, ending up on the floor. There was a part when the drummer played a strange tune, but I couldn't put my finger on the sound until I read it on their Facebook page. Apparently, it was a frying pan. Interesting feature, right?

Setlist: Brighis' March, Ordinary Tales of Bastards & Bitches, Feet in the Mud, I Pay with Vomit, Pay Me a Dollar (Flatfoot 56 cover), 22 in the Belly of a Shark, Land of the Clovers, Another, Worms' Society, The Last Song, Drunken Sailor (traditional), Amsterdam (The Dreadnoughts cover).

As I previously wrote about Firkin, I thought there wouldn't be much more to say about the same tour of a band. I changed my mind already during the first song. On March 9 (read about ithere), the band was presenting their newest album, Igyunk Pálinkát, so they had additions to the stage, such as guest musicians on stage, as well as a longer setlist. I was very curious about seeing them live at a regular concert, such as this one was. Or was supposed to be.

The show on Friday (the 13th) was just astonishing, even though I half expected to see the guest musicians once again, with their banjos, guitars, and amazing voices. The band seems to have put even more effort into engaging the audience than before. Their communication with the crowd was really admirable; it was impossible not to join in with the screaming and dancing to the Irish tunes. The parts where the violin and flute alternated the melodies were also very interesting, producing a kind of visual taste of their music.

I have to note that Felföldi románc, the ballad that they played by the end of the show, was most definitely the highlight of the concert. There was such a dazzling energy to their sound in that song the studio version could have never got even near reaching it.

The last part of the concert, including the encore, was reserved for the crowd pleasers such as Drunken Lullabies (originally by Flogging Molly),Devils Dance Floor, and the farewell song - Búcsúpohár.

Setlist: Intro, Borfohász, Reggel van!, Seven Deadly Sins, Rocky Road the Dublin, Vezet majd a szél, Galway Races, A jó ég megáld, Crazy Man Michael, Rettenthetetlen, Kék volt az égbolt, Beggarman, Donnegal Danny, Jó, Hetedhét székely, Felföldi románc, Whup Jamboree, Lord of the Dance, Drunken Lullabies (Flogging Molly cover), Hozz egy firkin sört // Igyunk Pálinkát, Devils Dance Floor, Búcsúpohár.

After Firkin's show, the curtain went down, so we had to wait for a while until the stage was set for the main act. By the time The Mahones graced us with their presence on stage, the crowd was amped up, with beer and hair flying in the air. They were formed in Canada, over 20 years ago, unlike the first two, much younger bands. Until now, they have released eight full-length albums, the latest one being The Black Irish from 2010. The Hungarian show was only a small part of a big European tour.

The Mahones' genre didn't need much introduction, after hearing the opening bands, but it did bring the music to another level. The crowd was almost ecstatic most of the time, while the guys from Dirty Artichokes made sure that everybody was jumping and singing strongly enough. An absolute delight on the stage was Katie KaBoom, an impressive accordion player. Apart from their older songs, the band also played tracks from the new album, the most pleasing one being Ghost of a Whiskey Devil. Before leaving the stage, the band introduced themselves, and thanked the audience, who, in turn, screamed loudly enough to have them back for an encore. The Mahones ended the show, but not the evening itself, with the song Give It All Ya Got (or Forget About It), which is also the band's motto.

Setlist: Across the U.S.A., Paint the Town Red, A Great Night on the Lash, Whiskey Devils, Rise Again, London, Down the Boozer, Nancy Whiskey, A Pain from Yesterday, A Drunken Night in Dublin, Ghost of a Whiskey Devil, Is This Bar Open 'Til Tomorrow, One Last Shot, Streets of New York, Queen and Tequila, The Blood is on Your Hands, Celtic Pride // Drunken Lazy Bastard, Teenage Kicks, I Wanna Be Sedated (Ramones cover), Give It All Ya Got (Or Forget About It).

Check out the concert gallery.