There is not a drop of Irish blood running in my veins. My genetic makeup is solidly founded in the old Austro-Hungarian empire. Yet somehow I have always been drawn to Irish tunes. Maybe it has to do with my birthplace in Austria, in the province of Styria. For some reason that region as a strong connection to Celtic culture. There is a full sized pipe and drum band (Hellmountain Pipe Band), and a fusion band IrishSteirisch blends regional folks music with Irish music. I stumbled upon my first Pogues CD at the tender age of 17 and life never was the same.
Yet somehow in 20+ years of Minneapolis I have never managed so see Boiled in Lead in concert. I am happy to report that this was remedied last night! So the night before Saint Patrick’s Day I found myself at the Cedar Cultural Center ready to enjoy two sets of the band celebrating their 34th anniversary. The crowd was a varied mix of folks my age with few kids in attendance and some fans in their 20s and 30s. Bassist Drew Miller is the remaining founding member with singer Todd Menton, drummer
Michael Bissonette, and David Stenshoel on fiddle and guitar making up the rest of the band.
Boiled in Lead started with a lively traditional Irish number and from the first few bars a group of dancers formed and did not stop for the rest of the show. From there the global music that influences their music began to show with familiar sounding rhythms being woven into songs.
As the set progressed more and more Rock’n Roll worked its way into the music with several numbers quite rocking.
Menton was clearly the focus of attention and he keeps the audience engaged between songs. Whether it’s dedicating a song to a friend “Because he is a weird thing”, or supporting the venue “Please tell me you’re drinking” the captures eyes and ears. In the short break between sets band members chatted with the audience and the second set started with a Birthday song (and cake) for one of the fans.
Then it was on to more music style a Jewish Klemzer song, a number inspired by a South African pianist, a lot more Irish songs and some funky guitar riffs integrated into them. Menton told of his quest to trace down a song that influenced his life path “Bold Lovell” before playing it live for the first time.
Overall, I enjoyed my evening with Boiled in Lead very much and will not wait another 20+ years before catching them again.
Set 1: Snow on the Hills / Over under sideways down / House-husband lament / Harout / My Bigfoot / Gatling Gun / Tebes / MicroOrganism / Side Boumedienee
Set 2: Sher / Bold lovell / Hornpipes / Brave bombadier – Son o son / Call to the higher consciousness / Glendalough saint / Elizabeth Kelly’s / Johnny come away
Encore: Silver Carp / Jamie across the water