for Hurricane Relief in New Jersey
A Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

On February 28, 2013, Celtic-rockers Gaelic Storm took the Shea Center for Performing Arts in Wayne, New Jersey by storm!

Gaelic Storm Gathers for Hurricane Relief in New Jersey
Gaelic Storm takes the Shea Center in Wayne by storm in February 2013.

Interestingly, it was a gig on a sinking ship that catapulted Gaelic Storm into the mainstream. In the movie "Titanic" they were the band in the steerage compartment and this appearance opened the door for touring. In live settings or in the studio, Gaelic Storm wins over the masses with their energetic and unique blend of Celtic and Scottish rock.

In 2012, Gaelic Storm released their ninth record entitled Chicken Boxer. Much of the music on Chicken Boxer was inspired by a trip that founders Patrick Murphy and Steve Twigger took to Ireland. They went in search of music and found plenty of songs, sounds and stories. Chicken Boxer is a blend of anthems, ballads tales, and traditional tunes that revolve around the theme of home.

Gaelic Storm is touring in support of Chicken Boxer and they surged into the Shea Center on Thursday night armed with an array of instruments and innovative music. The proceeds from this concert were donated to the WP Student Emergency Relief Fund to help those from the university who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

The theme song for the Muppets was piped in as Gaelic Storm came out stating "let's get the party started". The merry "I Miss My Home" was about being on the move and memories of home. "Scalliwag" was animated and the appearance of local girls jigging to the music added to the festive mood.

Next, they performed a set of tunes from Chicken Boxer. "Dead Bird Hill" had an Irish flair as did "Irish Breakfast Day" which started out with snappy drums as the others filled the plate with the spirited sounds of the homeland.

Throughout the concert different instruments including an accordion, bagpipes, guitars, mandolin and percussion were used to add to the variety and vibrancy of the music. Although Patrick is the main lead singer the other band members often contributed to the harmonies. The majority of Gaelic Storm's tunes were layered and lively.

Gaelic Storm Gathers for Hurricane Relief in New Jersey
New fiddle player Kiana Weber joins founding member Steve Twigger and percussionist Ryan Lacey in Gaelic Storm.

"Green Eyes, Red Hair" was a descriptive tune about a girl with the accordion and bagpipes adding accents to the singer's annotations. As the drum and fiddle went into "Go Home Girl" fans were clapping along to this colorful and comical tune. "Black Is The Colour" was a sadder and slower piece told from the perspective of a mourning lover.

Patrick shared a story about bartending in Los Angeles back in 1996 and having a run-in with Russell Crowe and his bodyguards. The tale and tune were humorous. Murphy jested that they gave the song the cryptic name of "The Night I Punched Russell Crowe in the Head". Sticking with the feisty and funny mood Gaelic Storm performed "Darcy's Donkey." This tune involved audience participation and a pitch to purchase the band's stress release donkey so fans could take them home and "squeeze your ass all night long". Next, a few small donkeys were tossed out into the crowd.

"Only song with a spoons solo, take that Bon Jovi," declared Murphy as they glided into "Human To A God" with all band members playing some type of stringed instrument. "Black And Tan" was a fast, Irish flavored tune talking about going to mass on Sunday and then it's back to the pub on Monday. Staying with the drinking theme they flowed into "Ran Out Of Whiskey" which involved a friendly sing-along-contest between the two sides of the venue.

"The Storks Of Guadalajara" was inspired by a trip to Spain and lots of drinking of wine. It progressed into a three part drum solo. One player was on a box drum and the other two held hand percussion. At first the crowd was able to clap at the appointed points but soon the patterns were too fast to keep up with.

"Rising Of The Moon" was an up-tempo traditional tune that was followed by the new and amusing "Alligator Arms". Patrick explained that back where he comes from a person who never buys a round has arms that are too short to reach for their pocket and they are called alligator arms. The band demonstrated and encouraging the audience to do the gator clap. "One More Day Above The Roses" was a rousing reminder to have fun every day and to be nice to other people.

"Surprise," joked Patrick as Gaelic Storm returned for their encore of "Johnny Tarr." The group was available after the concert for photos, autographs and the sale of donkeys. Opening for Gaelic Storm was Marty McKernan who was armed with an acoustic guitar. He led the audience through Irish flavored sing-a-long songs that set the tone for the rest of the evening.

You never know who may be next to storm the Shea Center for Performing Arts on the campus of William Paterson University. The venue showcases a wide range of events including theatrical performances, classical concerts, jazz and rock shows. The seating is comfortable with good sight lines and sound. Please check their website for a complete list of events.

Gaelic Storm 2013:
Patrick Murphy (accordion, spoons, bodhran, harmonica, lead vocals)
Steve Twigger (guitar, bouzouki, mandolin, lead vocals)
Ryan Lacey (djembe, doumbek, surdo, cajon, ukulele, vocals, various percussion)
Peter Purvis (Highland bagpipes, Uillean pipes, DegerPipes, whistle)
Kiana Weber (fiddle, vocals)

Gaelic Storm Gathers for Hurricane Relief in New Jersey
Scenes from the Gaelic Storm concert at the Shea Center on the campus of WPU in Wayne, NJ.

Related Links: For more information on GAELIC STORM and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Gaelic Storm | Shea Center

(Originally Published on March 01, 2013)




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