First-timers never cease to be impressed by Boys From the County Hell. And the compliments come — These guys are really good — without the caveat, for a cover band.
Banging out classic Irish punk and a repertoire of Pogues songs for the past 10 years, the Boys go beyond getting the sound right (the bare minimum qualification for a good cover band and which they do to a T anyway); they inject the songs with their own flare of attitude, energy, stunning musicianship and a certain giddiness in being able to share it all with their audience.
While the booze-addled masses await a trio of shows by the Boys on St. Patrick's Day (House of Blues 9 a.m. - noon; Flannery's 1 - 8 p.m.; The Harp 9 p.m. - midnight), Cleveland's favorite Irish rockers prepped for the marathon of drinking and singing with a show at the House of Blues on Saturday.
"If I Should Fall From Grace With God" sounded like "If I Should Fall From Grace With God," and "Dirty Old Town" sounded like "Dirty Old Town," and the snozberries tasted like snozberries, and the whiskey and Guinness tasted good.
And the best Christmas song of all time sounded perfect for an early St. Paddy's Day celebration, as the lovely Ashlie Case played Kirsty MacColl to Doug McKean's Shane MacGowan on "Fairytale of New York" (made even better by the elderly couple in the front row singing along word-for-word and later explaining that it's their love song).
If I can't have the Pogues, give me these eight rowdy and talented gentleman in suits any day. —Vince Grzegorek