Monday, March 19, 2012

There are only two kinds of people in the world: The Irish and those who wish they were.

I don't remember if I've mentioned this before, but my favorite holiday is St. Patrick's Day.  And not because I'm looking for an excuse to party or because I like gimmicky things like green beer (ew).  I'm actually half Irish, though I definitely take after the non-Irish side of the family.  As you can imagine, I'm also really into the musical aspect of March 17th....bagpipes are my favorite instrument behind only the banjo (and maybe the accordion).  I love the Celtic influences on bluegrass music, and I certainly will never say no to a good Irish drinking song.  Unfortunately, the Irish aren't exactly known for their cuisine.  And so, in my first attempt to make this blog about something more than just food, let's chat about Columbia's annual St. Pat's in 5 Points festival.
My friends and I have been hitting the festival for years.  We've done it so many times now, that we really have it down to a science.  We start and G & L's house for breakfast - eggs, grits, bacon, pancakes, and Irish coffee - and then we call a couple cabs and head to 5 Points.  We usually get there in time to catch the tail end of the parade as we're walking in.  Then we head to a beer truck to grab a cold one, because really?  How often can you stand in the middle of the street and drink a beer?  We then take a lap around the festival to see what's there, making a note of anything we may want to visit later.  And then, we head to our home base: Delaney's.

Delaney's has live music from noon until six.  Usually JJ Smith provides six raucous hours of toasts, drinking songs, sing-a-longs, and dancing.  This year JJ was unavailable, so instead we were treated to the musical stylings of Daniel O'Ryan.  Daniel is a bit of a one-man band: he uses crazy looping techniques to get several instruments going at once.  It's a pretty awesome style, and he's very talented.  He threw in a couple drinking songs to appease the masses, but really just did his own thing, including a very nice rendition of the Grateful Dead's I Know You Rider.

Rocking the bagpipes.  I dig it.
Part of the draw of the festival are the bands.  There are usually five stages set up, and they run all kinds of music all day.  Most years, none of the bands really catch my interest, but this year I was super excited to see Devil Makes Three on the lineup.  I'll be catching them again in May on the beach, but it was nice to be able to hang at the rail and get a preview for this summer.  Their set was fabulous.  The rollicking good time of a stand up bass / banjo combination is one for the ages.  Each member plays off the others so well, with finely tuned harmonies and clear enjoyment of their craft.  Devil Makes Three has skyrocketed to the top of my list of acts to catch at the beach, and I'm positive I won't be disappointed.

That's some good dancing music right there.
After catching the Devil Makes Three set, L and I headed back to Delaney's to close out the evening with the rest of our friends.  Though I really would have liked to stay to catch The Reggie Sullivan Project, they didn't start until 9 p.m.  In years past, a 9 p.m. start time has not been a big deal, but this year, I'm a responsible(ish) grad student, and knew that I had way too much to do on Sunday to stay out that late.  By all accounts, Reggie's set was wild.  I've seen his band play before and they're pretty awesome...lots of funk and soul.  Fortunately, they play in town a lot, so I'm sure I'll get to see them soon.

Overall it was a pretty chill St. Patrick's Day.  I had fun, the weather was beautiful, and the music was great. Now it's time to pack away all of my green beads, shamrock glasses, beer mug earrings, and "Kiss me I'm Irish" buttons and await next year's shenanigans.  I hope you all enjoyed your St. Paddy's Day as much as I did.  Sláinte!

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