The Prodigals

With Brigid's Cross. Friday, March 2, at the Odeon.

Johnny's Bistro San Roche 1400 West Sixth Street Monday through Thursday, 5 to 10:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday until 11:30 p.m.


Gregory Grene doesn't like the label "Celtic rock." The accordion player for the Prodigals prefers "jig-punk" to describe the music of his New York City-based quartet. Despite his preference for the term, it's still not on the mark, because there really isn't much that is punk in the Prodigals' music. "Jig-funk" might be a more descriptive moniker. With the bone-rattling bass playing of Andrew Harkin and the almost-African drumming of Brian Tracey, this band has more in common with the Ohio Players than the Pogues. Whatever you want to call them, the Prodigals have a rabid following. The two albums they've released so far have gotten them named favorite Irish musical act by readers of the Irish Echo, a stateside weekly devoted to Irish issues and culture. In winning, the Prodigals beat out international favorites such as U2, Sinead O'Connor, and Van Morrison, as well as New York brethren Black '47, for whom they took over residence at the famous Paddy Reilly's Music Bar. A third CD, Dreaming in Hell's Kitchen, is scheduled for a late-March release and will be available for sale at this show. By mixing Irish folk and fast-paced rock and roll, the band has carved out a unique musical identity for itself. It's a simple concept, but one that few have tried with a gonzo rhythm section. The inevitable comparisons with other Irish and Irish-American acts such as the Pogues, the Saw Doctors, and Black '47 miss the mark. The Prodigals are built for speed -- and when they play live, they perform like out-of-control Chieftains.

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