Garcia’s, with its bar stretching a decent portion of one side of the venue, was filled with a typical evening pub crowd relaxing and loosening up a bit. The stage was set for the entertainment of the night – a house band perhaps? Well, that’s what it felt like as the folks were hanging out until Irish rockers Black 47 took the stage there on July 31. Though, there was a special anticipation in the air as Black 47 winds down its career later this year while the music is still ripe and fresh, with just a few dozen more shows to go.
For having an incredible 25-year career with around 2,000 live shows, many albums, and international notoriety and respect in the genre, Black 47 maintained that pub band atmosphere throughout the evening. People who have followed the band for years know that they are nothing close to being sell-outs or ones to set themselves apart from the crowd, and those who might be seeing the band for the first time could quickly sense their authenticity and genuine nature. Singer/guitarist Larry Kirwin very enthusiastically helped set that tone as he openly encouraged bootlegging and photography of the show before they kicked the show off with “Green Suede Shoes”. Black 47 has strong ties with themes of Irish Republicanism, which resonated with the crowd – Kirwan told a brief story behind “Johnny Comes A’Courtin” with a mention of Oliver Cromwell, an English military leader who invaded Ireland in the 17th century. Some thumbs down and boos were seen and heard at this mention; a stab at the negative point in history and not the band. The political themes heard throughout the evening seemed to bring everyone together on a sort of common ground.
Known for their blend of rock, reggae, punk, and jazz with traditional Irish sounds and folk themes, Black 47’s set was complete with a spectrum of song styles. It included both dance tunes and songs that rang out like anthems, such as “The Night The Showbands Died” where many raised their hands in the air along with the band. Closing the evening was a one-song encore. “This is how we do Dylan!,”Kirwan exclaimed as they performed a worthy cover of “Like A Rolling Stone”. The crowd was left chanting again for one more song, though for a weeknight things had to wrap up before it got too late. [embedyt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Rqt6NcoTfM[/embedyt] [embedyt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1hi0_JuzeI[/embedyt] If you are debating whether or not to catch Black 47 one last time or have been meaning to catch them for the first time and haven’t yet, what are you waiting for? This is the last call, so be sure to check them out and give them a fond farewell at one (or more!) of their upcoming shows in the region: Hooley On The Hudson in Kingston August 31, The 2014 Irish Festival in Ballston Spa September 13, Hudson Valley Irish Festival in Peekskill September 20, and Connolly’s Pub and Restaurant in Manhattan September 27. Their final show is November 15 at B.B. King Blues Club in NYC. Check out their full schedule here.
Setlist: Green Suede Shoes Celtic Rocker Wedding Reel Johnny Comes A’Courtin’ Culchie Prince Fanatic Heart Rockin’ In The Bronx Five Points Fire of Freedom The Night the Showbands Died James Connolly Salsa O’Keefe Funky Ceili Encore: Like A Rolling Stone