Mike Austin Reviews The Holy Hour House Band And Wishes He Won An iPod
It’s 1:31 a.m. and I just got home from the second night of the Chicago Magners Irish Sessions at O’Shaughnessy’s in Ravenswood, although I should have been home three hours ago! Here is why I stayed so late…..
First off, the Holy Hour House Band is as tight as a tennis racket. Over the course of the first hour, they ripped through a rake of songs, including many that you would have been singing along to (as Barry Pearce was) had you been there, and enough traditional tunes to make you wish you hadn’t blown out your knee step dancing at age 11. Secondly, it’s officially fall in Chicago and fall feels like cider to me. Thirdly, after a 10-minute break, the HHHB invited up some guest musicians, including the very famous fiddle/penny-whistle/flute/concertina/bodhran player, Kathleen Keane (who also sings like a skylark).
However, there was also another Kathleen, who drew quite a crowd of her own: Kathleen O’Shaughnessy, who swore repeatedly that she had nothing to do with the bar–despite having the same last name. She also insisted she wasn’t related to my high school friend from Joliet Catholic, Kevin O’Shaughnessy. (O’Sh, are you out there?)
I finally believed Kathleen O’Shaughnessy, when she admitted to being from Cleveland. During one particularly spirited set of tunes, she danced her way through the crowd, black ringlets bouncing, until she lost her shoe and then gave up. Now, you tell me the last time you danced in public until you lost your shoe.
Later, there were songs from people in the crowd and more tunes from the band, followed by an iPod giveaway that the very famous Kathleen Keane did not win, despite her prediction that she would.
“What was the highlight of your night?” I asked Kevin Moran, a member of the HHHB (as well as the Muck Brothers and Anish, two of the Chicago Irish music scene’s most celebrated bands). Moran had been playing the Irish flute all night (it’s the black one, not the silver one), and the saxophone.
“For me, it was listening to Declan Fahy play the accordion,” he said. Fahy had come up to play in the second set with Kathleen Keane, who was commanding her fiddle tonight. They were playing on a low stage surrounded by an assortment of overhead bric-a-brac that included old wash tubs and antique detergent containers. The usual.
“When those two came up to play, it made my night”, Moran said. “Or maybe even my year.” After a pause, he added, “at the very least it made my late summer/early fall”. And Kevin Moran went home with both of his shoes. In fairness, Kathleen O’Shaughnessy did, too.
To lose something of your own, or to get your night, season or year made, consider showing up at the next Chicago Magners Irish Session tomorrow (or is it tonight?) at the Celtic Knot in Evanston. Wait, yes, it’s tonight–Thursday, Oct. 1. See you there.
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