Want to embrace the spirit of the Emerald Isle this month? Check out these bands that have annual St. Patrick’s Day gigs.
The Drowsy Lads: A few St. Patrick’s Days ago, the five Drowsy Lads were performing at Columbus’ Byrne’s Pub when accordion player Josh Franck decided to wander among the patrons. “Two girls just grabbed hold of his shirttails and other people followed. The world’s largest Irish conga line snaked through the pub and now it happens every year,” says Phil Franck, Josh’s dad and a member of the group. The band traces its roots to 2004, and in addition to father and son is composed of two brothers and a lifelong friend. Franck says that family closeness is one reason for the group’s lasting popularity. They will be back at Byrne’s Pub on March 17, marking nine St. Patrick’s Days there. “St. Patrick’s Day is mayhem,” says Franck. “But we hop on that wild horse and ride it.” thedrowsylads.com; Byrne’s Pub, 1248 W. Third Ave., Columbus 43212, 4–7 p.m.
The Boys from the County Hell: This Pogues tribute band began in 2000 with members from various rock groups, and that background, says Chris Allen — the act’s general manager and mandolin and guitar player — is the reason for the group’s success. “We all learned different traditional Irish instruments and from the first night we’ve sold out shows,” says Allen. The boys play three Cleveland gigs on St. Patrick’s Day: House of Blues, Flannery’s Pub and The Harp. “Some people attempt to follow us to all three,” says Allen. “The morning show is a lot of families and it’s before the parade. The afternoon show at Flannery’s Pub is postparade and anything goes. ... We have been there for the past 13 years. The last show can be pretty exhausting, but it’s the one our fan base comes out for.” Visit The Boys From the County Hell's Facebook page for venue details and performance times.
FinTan: During a trip to Ireland, members of FinTan played a tavern and the bar owner was so impressed he wanted to hire the Ohio sextet on the spot. “We had to go home, but it was a confidence booster,” says Patrick Savelli, vocalist and guitarist for the group that formed in 2002. FinTan (the name comes from a Celtic legend about a smart salmon) features bodhran, fiddle, whistles, accordion, mandolin, guitar, Guinness bottle and more. Since 2006, the group has performed at Cincinnati’s Molly Malone’s Irish Pub & Restaurant on St. Patrick’s Day. “Ninety percent of what we play is traditional and about 10 percent original. We also prefer acoustic — it’s a little more pure,” says Savelli, “and that means we can play a lot of places that would never have rock bands.” fintanband.com; Molly Malone’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, 6111 Montgomery Rd., Cincinnati 45213, 4–7 p.m.