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March 13, 2008

The Pogues @ Rams Head Live

MS commenter/correspondent Mike Williams saw Irish punk rockers the Pogues at Rams Head Live last night.

Here is his report ...

At last night’s show, the Pogues’ songs about whiskey, rum, and spirited characters seemed like a perfect fit for Baltimore’s hard-drinking blue collar heritage.

After a lively — if not largely ignored — opening set by ska veterans The Pietasters, lead singer Shane MacGowan and his band mates played for almost two hours.

MacGowan’s gravely, sometimes slurry vocals showed the effects of decades of heavy smoking and alcohol use, but the combination of great instrumental work the tin whistle and banjo made up for it.  

Even the state law prohibiting smoking indoors wasn't enough of a detriment, as MacGowan frequently lit up on stage — or had a glass out of reach.

For diehard Pogues fan or the casual Irish folk music listener, band staples such as "Broad Majestic Shannon" and "Dirty Old Town" proved to once again quench the appetite Baltimore has for energetic Irish music — especially so near to St. Patrick's Day.

(Cell phone photo courtesy of Bridget Williams)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 4:47 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Local music


A slightly different perspective on this concert. To a great extent, the fans of the Pogues come to know and expect Shane's delivery (think Dylan) and would be gravely disappointed if he showed up verbally coherent.

He has become an iconic "tortured artist" for many of his generation. Were he to go "dry" tomorrow, I'm sure his delivery would remain.

The show was exceptional. The band was tight as a drum and shane hit all his marks with precision. The crowd was definitely in to it as well.

On a venue note, this was my first trip to Ram's Head Live (don't get out much anymore), and wow, was I impressed. Great sitelines compared with any other local venue (recher, 9:30, etc), clean sound, solid acoustics plus I didn't smell like an ashtray when I left.

The combination of an exceptional poet, rocker and supporting cast along with the venue made this one of my favorite concerts in quite some time.

I'm sorry I missed this! Combination of the price, a weeknight show (not getting drunk at a pogues show is like sacrilege for me), and not being able to convince any friends to go made me opt out. But the pogues always put on a good show! Would have been great to see the pietasters again too. I agree with Jed Davis though, Shane MacGowan always sounds and looks like a mess, it's part of his charm.

Jed that was an awesome summary.

Certainly Shane always sounds and looks rough, and I agree it's what makes him great. But it was an excellent show overall. Went to James Joyce beforehand for some beers, then walked over to Ram's Head. Nights like that make me happy and proud to live in Baltimore. *Sniff*

For those who witnessed a live Pogues and/or Shane MacGowan performance for the first time had a real treat in Baltimore on Wednesday night. I have caught Shane with the Popes several times back in the late 90s and 2000s as well as the Pogues back in 2006. Shane actually looked better then I have ever seen him. For one, he interacted with the audience, joked, laughed, and even danced. He even appeared to have (dare I say) sobered up as the show progressed; I use the term "sobered" loosely of course! LOL! A really memorable show!

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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